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Health Information For Teens
MRSA stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a type of bacteria.
Many people have staph bacteria living on their skin or in their noses without it causing any problems. If staph bacteria get into a person’s body through a cut, scrape, or rash, they can cause minor skin infections. Most of these heal on their own if a person keeps the wound clean and bandaged.
MRSA (say: MUR-suh) is different from other staph bacteria because it has become resistant to most of the
doctors use to treat staph infections. Methicillin is a type of antibiotic, so these bacteria are called “methicillin-resistant.”
MRSA skin infections often develop around open sores, like cuts, scrapes, or bites. But they also can affect intact skin. Red, swollen, painful bumps appear that sometimes ooze fluid or pus (called an abscess). Some people also get a fever.
MRSA is contagious. Like all other staph bacteria, it can spread:
In the past, MRSA mostly affected people in nursing homes or hospitals. It was more likely to be seen in people with weak immune systems. It was also more common in people who had a surgical wound. But now some otherwise healthy people outside of those settings are getting the infection.
Sometimes, people can be “carriers” of MRSA. This means that the bacteria stay on or in their bodies for days, weeks, or even years without causing symptoms. But they can spread it to others. That’s why washing hands well and often is so important.
A doctor will examine the affected skin, and sometimes will take a sample of pus or blood. This goes to a lab for testing to find out which bacteria are causing the infection.
Treatment depends on what the infection looks like:
These simple steps can help prevent MRSA infections:
Call the doctor if:
Serious cases of MRSA are still rare. By taking these easy prevention steps, you can help keep it that way!
Cellulitis is a skin infection that involves areas of tissue just below the skin’s surface. It can affect any part of the body, but it’s most common on exposed areas, such as the face, arms, or lower legs.
Sometimes a bad cut that gets infected can lead to even worse things, like a bone infection called osteomyelitis. The easiest way to protect yourself is to practice good hygiene.
Did you know that the most important thing you can do to keep from getting sick is to wash your hands? If you don’t wash your hands frequently, you can pick up germs from other sources and then infect yourself.
Medicines can cure, stop, or prevent disease; ease symptoms; or help in the diagnosis of illnesses. This article describes different types of medications and offers tips on taking them.
Germs are tiny organisms that can cause disease – and they’re so small that they can creep into your system without you noticing. Find out how to protect yourself.
Most small cuts, scrapes, or abrasions heal on their own. Here are tips for teens on how to treat cuts at home – and when to get medical help.
Puberty causes all kinds of changes in your body – and some may not make you feel very desirable. Read this article for information on dealing with greasy hair, perspiration, and body hair.
People can get abscesses on the skin, under the skin, in a tooth, or even inside the body. Most abscesses are caused by infection, so it can help to know what to do. Find out in this article for teens.
Paronychia is an infection of the skin around a fingernail or toenail. Most of the time, it’s not serious. Find out what causes it, what to do, and how to prevent it.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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