Control Your Symptoms and Live with Mrsa
Edited by Mian Sheilette Ong, Eng, Lynn, Graeme and 2 others
It is a sad realization that there is no safe place from contracting diseases these days. More and more diseases are evolving. Pathogens are adapting to the dynamic changes in every imaginable working and living environment. One of the most successful ones is MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). MRSA is the so-called "superbug" that affects people who frequent public areas and hospitals. At some point, you can contract this disease, and if you have it, you would have to accept the fact that it is going to be with you for the rest of your life. Why? It is because MRSA is resistant to every known type of antibiotic. That is how specialized this bug is. Yes, it can be treated, but only to retard or control the progression of the condition. With this, you have to be diligent in controlling your MRSA. Living with a superbug in your body is not easy, but doing it is part of showing the world how resilient you are.
Basics of MRSA
The treatment of ordinary staph infections through the years has taken its toll. Because of the frequent use of antibiotics, a much larger threat to health was born - methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus or MRSA. This staphylococcus strain is resistant to the usual antibiotics administered for staph infections. This makes MRSA a huge threat to anyone.
There are two main types of MRSA-CA-MRSA (community associated MRSA) and HA-MRSA (healthcare-associated MRSA). HA-MRSA is more common because this is contracted by people who are admitted to various healthcare facilities or hospitals. Patients who undergo invasive treatments or procedures such as intravenous therapy or surgeries sometimes catch HA-MRSA. It's ironic that people who seek medical care are the ones who get the superbug. Instead of leaving the facility fully recovered, these people would have to deal with HA-MRSA when they get home and when they are hospitalized in the future.
CA-MRSA is a superbug type present in the surrounding community. It starts with a very painful boil. Through direct skin-to-skin contact, CA-MRSA is effectively transmitted to the next person. Public places such as schools, gyms, and crowded places are the usual incubators of CA-MRSA. You'll know you have MRSA because it starts by manifesting itself as a staph skin infection. You will see small bumps (red) that look like spider bites, pimples, or boils. They immediately become larger abscesses that are painful. These usually require draining by a skilled surgeon. There are cases where the MRSA stays in the skin area. However, the bacteria can burrow themselves into your body. If they do, they can cause life-threatening conditions such as joint, bone, heart valve, surgical, and blood infections.
The pathogen for MRSA is the staphylococcus aureus. About a third of the population normally has this bacteria in the nose or on the skin. It's usually a harmless strain. However, they do threaten your health once they enter your body through wounds such as piercings or cuts. MRSA is a superbug. It is the outcome of using antibiotics even if it isn't necessary. Decades of prescribing antibiotics to viral infections, coughs, flu, and colds have made the staph bacteria resistant to antibiotics. The patients who have MRSA have no choice but to live with their diagnosed condition.
How is MRSA Diagnosed?
For a correct diagnosis, your attending physician will run a series of lab tests to determine if you really have MRSA. If you have a skin infection, your doctor will take a sample from the affected area and test it. Your doctor may also subject you to sputum, urine, or blood tests, depending on the symptoms you manifest.
How to Control Your MRSA Symptoms
To control your MRSA symptoms, you have to make sure that you know what you are doing. This is the known "superbug" and you have to stick to your treatment plan at all costs. Below are some of the ways on how you can control your MRSA symptoms:
- 1Seek the guidance of your attending physician. According to CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), the initial mode of defense for abscesses is I & D (incision and drainage), which is done by a qualified physician. If it is clinically indicated that an antibiotic should be used, tests should be performed to see if the staph variety is methicillin-resistant. The tests also give information about the kind of antibiotics that can kill it successfully. It is fortunate for some patients that their MRSA can still be controlled by certain antibiotics such as Zyvox (linezolid) or Vancocin (vancomycin). For a number of CA-MRSA cases, Bactrim (trimethoprim-sulfemethoxazole, Cleocin (clindamycin), Vibramycin (doxycycline) are given.Advertisement
- 2Keep taking your antibiotics as prescribed by your doctor.Advertisement
How Caregivers Should Treat Their MRSA Patients
If an MRSA patient is to be treated at home, a caregiver is usually designated to provide the treatment. If you are a MRSA caregiver, the following are guidelines in treating your MRSA patients:
- 1Isolate your patient. MRSA patients should always be treated separately and be isolated from the rest of the family.
- 2Wash your hands with water and soap. Do this after having physical or skin contact with the infected patient. Also, perform proper hand washing before you leave your patient's home.
- 3Use the towels you used for drying your hands only once. This practice prevents the re-infection, if ever there is a staph strain harbored by the towel.
- 4Use disposable gloves. Wear your disposable gloves when you know you'll be in contact with the patient's body fluids. Make sure you wash your hands after you remove your gloves.
- 5Change and wash the linens regularly. Soiled linens should be regularly changed and washed. This reduces the chance that the staph strain will incubate in the sheets and re-infect the patient or infect others in the house.
- 6Maintain cleanliness at all times. Your patient's home should always be cleaned, especially the area where your patient stays most of the time.
How Family and Friends Should Deal with MRSA
If you are related or close to a MRSA patient, observe the following to prevent yourself from acquiring the disease:
- 1Wear disposable aprons and gloves when you visit the infected patient.
- 2Wash your hands after throwing away the apron and the gloves into the nearest garbage receptacle.
- 3Do not visit other patients in communal areas such as the day room or mess hall.
- 4Follow infection control precautions.
How to Live with MRSA
Now that you know you have MRSA, you have to learn how you should go about your everyday life. Below are some of the practices you should consider in order to live with MRSA the right way:
- 1Practice proper hand washing. Always wash your hands before and after every activity, especially if you will be in contact with other people.
- 2Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough. This is to prevent you from infecting other people.
- 3Carry hand sanitizer with you at all times. Hand sanitizer has long lasting protection from bacteria. It could also protect surfaces that you touch from being contaminated.
- 4Always bring a disposable tissue. This will contain any mucus discharge from your mouth or nose when you sneeze or cough.
- 5Change your towels and sheets regularly. Wash them as soon as they are soiled. Doing so will prevent the pathogen from spreading. Use bleach and a hot dryer. It is best for you to have your own towel.
- 6Change your clothes every day. Wash them as soon as you take them off. Disinfect them and, again, use a hot dryer.
- 7Keep your house clean. MRSA can live on surfaces, too. Disinfect thoroughly.
- 8Use your own things. This includes the furniture you use.
- 9In practicing personal hygiene, limit repeated contact with objects. In washing hands or bathing, make use of a pump soap. Use pump application for your make-up. Refrain from using a roll-on deodorant. You should use a spray deodorant.
- 10Any sore should be covered with a sterile bandage. Once the bandage is soiled, place it in a plastic bag and seal it before you throw it away.
These practices will help you live with MRSA without worrying that you will be infecting others or re-infecting yourself. They will also help you prevent the spread of MRSA.
- Keep a close eye on any cuts, scrapes, insect bites, or pimples. If they become infected, immediately call your doctor.
- Never attempt to treat your MRSA on your own. You might just aggravate the situation.
- Call your doctor immediately if you experience more symptoms other than your skin infection.
Questions and Answers
How to live with MRSA?
MRSA is an infection that is not very easy to cure because the bacteria basically resists the typical antibiotics used for common staphylococcus infections. It may require longer treatment, but as a precaution, you have to make sure that you keep your immune system strong and you drink a lot of vitamins. Cleanliness is also very important, especially personal hygiene. You have to wash your hands all the time to avoid getting this type of infection.
Categories : Health & Wellness
Recent edits by: VC, Graeme, Lynn