Staphylococcus Aureus, often referred to simply as “staph”, is a bacteria commonly carried on the skin or in the nose of healthy people. Staph can sometimes cause infections and some staph bacteria are resistant to antibiotics normally used to treat them. This is the category in which MRSA falls.
While most MRSA cases occur in the hospital setting, they can also cause infections in persons outside of healthcare facilities. MRSA infections in the community are usually manifested as skin infections, such as pimples and boils, and occur in seemingly healthy people.
The area of infection may be red, swollen, painful and/or have pus or other drainage. More serious infections may cause pneumonia, bloodstream infections or surgical wound infections.
People in the community who are at a greater risk for contracting MRSA in the school setting are athletes and children. Factors that contribute to the spread of MRSA skin infections include: close skin-to-skin contact, openings in the skin such as cuts or abrasions, contaminated items and surfaces, crowded conditions, and poor hygiene.
To prevent the spread of MRSA, practice and encourage good hygiene and hand-washing with soap and water or by using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, keep cuts and scrapes clean and covered with a bandage until healed, avoid contact with other people’s wounds or bandages and avoid sharing personal items such as towels.
If a student or staff member has been identified as having MRSA, report the information to the Coordinator of Health Services first, who will notify the necessary cleaning staff. Students who have been diagnosed with MRSA will be excluded from school for 48 hours after starting antibiotics.
What You Need to Know About Staph/MRSA Skin Infections