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Dangers and Symptoms of a Superbug Staph Infection

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A superbug staph infection, also called a methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection, is caused by a strain of staph bacteria that over time has evolved to become resistant to the antibiotics commonly used to treat ordinary staph infections. While most MRSA infections occur in hospitals and other healthcare settings (called HA-MRSA), and are associated with surgeries and other invasive procedures, there is another type that occurs in the wider community among healthy people (called CA-MRSA). Here’s a look at superbug staph infections and what you can do to protect yourself and your family.

Superbug Staph Symptoms to Look For

One thing that many victims of a superbug staph infection have in common is that they first think the infection is a spider bite. Indeed, MRSA usually first presents itself as a bump or infected area on the skin that is often red, swollen, painful, warm to the touch, full of pus, and accompanied by a fever. While these sites are usually easily spotted on an arm, leg, or torso, they can also occur at sites covered by body hair or in areas of the body commonly chaffed by clothing.

What to Do If You Suspect MRSA

It’s important to understand that you won’t be able to tell just by looking at the skin if it’s a staph infection or not, so if you suspect an infection, see your doctor as soon as possible. Early treatment is critical and will decrease the chance that the infection will become severe and even life threatening. In the meantime, cover the infection site with a clean, dry bandage and avoid sharing personal items with family members.

How to Prevent Superbug Staph Infections

Since superbug staph infections are no longer relegated only to the hospital and can be spread out in the community (especially among high-risk populations like high school wrestlers, child care workers, and people living in crowded conditions), it’s important to try to prevent exposure to MRSA to begin with. Fortunately, there are some simple personal hygiene steps you can take to reduce your risk of infection, including maintaining good hand and body hygiene (particularly after exercise); keeping cuts, scrapes, and other wounds clean and covered until completely healed; and not sharing personal items like towels and razors, even among family members.

Again, prompt treatment of superbug staph infections is critical to avoid a more major infection. Treatment for MRSA skin infections include draining the infection and in some cases prescribing an antibiotic. You should never try to drain the infection yourself, as it can make it worse and you can also risk spreading the infection to others.

Learn more: Types of Superbugs

This article is not intended as medical advice. Please consult your doctor for answers to your medical questions.

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