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Drug-Resistant Staph a Growing Problem

Experts Call for Worldwide Vigilance to Slow Methicillin-Resistant Staph's Rise

MRSA Symptoms

Symptoms depend on the part of the body affected.

MRSA most often appears as a skin infection, like a boil or abscess. It also might infect a surgical wound. In either case, the area would be:

  • Swollen
  • Red
  • Painful
  • Pus-filled

Many people with a staph skin infection mistake it for a spider bite.

Staph that infects the lungs and causes pneumoniapneumonia can lead to:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Fever
  • Chills

MRSA can cause a myriad of other symptoms since it can also infect the urinary tract or the bloodstream.

Very rarely, staph can result in necrotizing fasciitis, or "flesh-eating" bacterial infections. These are serious skin infections that spread very quickly. While frightening, necrotizing fasciitis caused by staph is rare, with only a handful of reported cases.

Prevent MRSA Infection

To prevent MRSA infection, the CDC's recommends the following:

  • Wash your hands. Use soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. It's important to wash thoroughly. Experts suggest you wash your hands for as long as it takes to recite the alphabet.
  • Cover cuts and scrapes with a clean bandage. This will help the wound heal as well as prevent the spread of bacteria to other people.
  • Do not touch other people's wounds or bandages.
  • If you use shared gym equipment, wipe it down before and after you exercise.

Drying clothes, sheets, and towels in a dryer, rather than letting them air dry, also helps kill bacteria.

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