Staph Skin InfectionsS. aureus causes skin infections like:
- Penicillins like benzathine penicillin, nafcillin, and dicloxicillin
- Cephalosporins like cephalexin, cefuroxime, and ceftriaxone
- Monobactams like aztreonam
- Carbapenems like imipenem
Where Did MRSA Come From?S. aureus, like many bacteria, has the ability to mutate to survive. As the bacteria has been exposed to antibiotics, there have been tiny, incremental changes in the DNA of the bacteria that allow it to adapt and survive. Certain strains of the same bacteria develop that have different properties and different adaptations. MRSA has been traced back to a strain in the 1950s called phage type 80/81 that was known for its ability to cause serious infections.
MRSA TypesMRSA has been divided into two different types:
- CA-MRSA: Community-aquired MRSA
- HA-MRSA: Hospital-acquired MRSA
MRSA DiagnosisThe definitive way to diagnose a MRSA infection is to perform a bacterial culture on pus from an infected wound. At times culturing the fluid from the inside of the nose is done to determine if a person is a carrier of the bacteria.
MRSA TreatmentFor minor skin infections sometimes the only treatment needed is to drain the pus. This is called an I&D, or incision & drainage. Drainage is also used for more serious infections along with antibiotics that are used to kill the bacteria. There are antibiotics that treat MRSA, but resistance to some of these antibiotics is starting to develop in some areas. Sometimes a combination of antibiotics is used to prevent further resistance from developing. Antibiotics that are typically used include:
- trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (Septra or Bactrim)
Prevention of MRSA InfectionsPersonal hygiene measures are the key to preventing MRSA infections. There are certain risk factors for developing MRSA infections and knowing what these are can help you avoid those situations. Specific guidelines to follow include:
- Cover actively draining wounds
- Don't touch another person's wounds
- Don't share personal objects like towels and razors
- Clean hands regularly using antibacterial soap or alcohol-based gels
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Kil, EH et al. “Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus: an update for the dermatologist, Part 2: Pathogenesis and cutaneous manifestations.” Cutis. 81(2008): 247-54.
Miller, LG, and SL Kaplan. “Staphylococcus aureus: a community pathogen.” Infectious Disease Clinics of North America. 23(2009): 35-52.