MRSA (Methicillin-resistent Staphylococcus aureus) is a bacteria that can colonize the skin and nasal passages and cause skin infections and pneumonia. As many as one third of the general population are colonized by staph, and do not become sick unless the bacteria gets into their body through a break in the skin. MRSA tends to cause more severe infections than the average staph infection and should be screened for in children who have worsening skin infections, rashes, or lesions.
MRSA skin infections can be treated with oral and topical antibiotics and/or drainage of infected lesions. If your child has a rash or lesion that is exceptionally red, swollen, warm, tender, or has yellow/green discharge, or if they are running a fever, or have a red streak extending from the lesions they should be evaluated, and may be cultured for MRSA.
MRSA is passed from person to person through skin to skin contact or contact with infected objects. Staph exposure is impossible to prevent since staph is everywhere. Therefore, frequent hand washing and maintenance of open wounds or lesions is the most effective way to prevent infection. Open sores, wounds, or lesions should be kept clean and covered with antibiotic ointment and a bandage. Bandages should be changed whenever they become soiled.
If you are concerned that your child is exhibiting signs of a skin infection they should be seen promptly to determine the most effective treatment plan.