Information on MRSA Skin Infection in Athletes

What is Staphylococcus aureus (staph)?

Staphylococcus aureus is a bacteria commonly found on the skin or in the nasal passages of most people. The Staph bacteria can be common causes of minor skin infections such as boils and pimples. In other cases, the Staph bacteria can cause a more serious infection.

What is MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus)?

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is a type of bacteria that does not respond to certain antibiotics such as penicillin or amoxicillin. Although MRSA was once only seen in very ill and hospitalized patients, it has become much more common in the general population and community.

How common is MRSA?

MRSA has been found in a majority of children with skin infections seen in Oakland emergency rooms in recent years. MRSA can occur in athletes – In 2003, five members of the St. Louis Rams NFL football team as well as former San Diego Charger Junior Seau were treated for MRSA infections.

How do I know if I have MRSA and what does a MRSA infection look like?

Initially, you may have a small, coin-sized area of redness, warmth and swelling like a boil or pimple. Occasionally, there may be pus or draining fluid from the area. MRSA infections commonly occur on the thigh, groin and armpits (axilla), but can be found on any part of the body. Sometimes there may be swelling and pain of a joint. In more advanced cases, there may be complaints of moderate to severe pain at the site of the infection, or fever and chills.

What should I do if I think I have MRSA

Let your athletic trainer and coach know immediately and see your physician or health care provider. MRSA and other skin infections are treatable if seen quickly enough.

How can I get MRSA?

The most common way to get MRSA is through an open or uncovered scrape or skin abrasion. It’s important to keep any scrapes clean and covered with a clean bandage.

How can I prevent spreading MRSA if I have it?

Practice good hygiene:

  1. Keep your hands clean and prevent spreading MRSA germs by frequently washing your hands for 15 to 30 seconds with warm soapy water. Use a soap dispenser instead of bar soap. If water or soap isn’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer solution.
  2. Keep scrapes and cuts covered with a bandage until healed – If the cut or wound can’t be completely covered, the athlete shouldn’t be in contact sports
  3. Avoid contact with other people’s cuts, wounds or bandages.
  4. Avoid sharing personal items such as towels or razors.

What is the treatment for MRSA infections?

Most MRSA infections are treatable with antibiotics. May sure you take all the pills, even if the infection appears to have gotten better. Don’t take other people’s antibiotics for an infection since MRSA usualy requires different antibiotics. In some cases, the physician may recommend draining the abscess.

If your infection is not getting better after several days, follow up with your physician again. If other people you know or live with get the same infection tell them to go to their healthcare provider.

Can I get a MRSA infection again?

Yes. It is possible to have a MRSA skin infection return. Some people carry the bacteria in their nasal passages and may have to be treated again. May sure if you get another skin infection that you seek out medical care.

What should I do if I am around someone with MRSA?

You can prevent contraction a staph or MRSA skin infections by avoiding contact with the open wound or abrasion, not handling bandages that have been used to cover the wound, not sharing personal items such as razors and towels, and frequent hand washing.