Understanding MRSA -- Diagnosis & Treatment

How Do I Know If I Have MRSA?

How Is MRSA Diagnosed?

Your health care provider will examine the area and be able to run lab tests to see if you have MRSA. If you have an infection on the skin, your doctor will take a culture from the infected area. Depending on your symptoms, your doctor also might test blood, urine, or sputum (mucus coughed up from the respiratory tract).

What Are the Treatments for MRSA?

MRSA is treatable. By definition, MRSA is resistant to some antibiotics. But other kinds of antibiotics still work. If you have a severe infection, or MRSA in the bloodstream, you will need intravenous antibiotics. Unfortunately, there is emerging antibiotic resistance being seen with some of these medications.

Antibiotics, however, aren't always necessary. If you have a small skin boil caused by MRSA, your doctor may just make an incision and drain it.

If you are prescribed antibiotics, follow your health care provider's instructions precisely. Never stop taking your medicine, even if you're feeling better. If you don't take all of your medicine, some of the staph bacteria may survive. These survivors then have the potential to become resistant to the antibiotic. They also could re-infect you or infect someone else.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Lisa Bernstein, MD on March 18, 2015

Sources

SOURCES:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The American Academy of Family Physicians.

Capriotti, T. Dermatology Nursing, Jan. 26, 2004.

Johnson, L. Infections in Medicine, 2005.

WebMD Feature: "Drug-Resistant Staph Spreads Across U.S."

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