Staphylococcal infections, or staph infections, are caused by the Staphylococcus genus of bacteria and can affect your skin, chest, digestive system, bones, lungs, heart, and bloodstream.
The skin is the most common target for this condition, possibly leading to boils, blisters, and redness on your face, nose, and mouth.
A staph infection is often mild, but if it resists standard treatment, it can become a methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection. A MRSA infection can lead to worse symptoms and may be trickier to treat.
If you’re looking for relief from MRSA or other skin conditions, Dr. Javier Zelaya and his skilled team at Skinworks Dermatology, with three New York City locations, can help.
MRSA is a staph infection bacteria resistant to the many antibiotics used to treat it. MRSA can also result from an overuse of antibiotics to treat other illnesses.
Most cases of MRSA happen in hospitals or similar environments; in such cases, it’s known as health care-associated MRSA (HA-MRSA). You can also be infected in other environments, even among healthy people, when it’s called community-associated MRSA (CA-MRSA).
Causes and symptoms
HA-MRSA is often caused by unclean contact (unclean hands or unclean surfaces) and can occur during invasive procedures or surgeries. People with weak immune systems and the elderly in hospital settings are particularly vulnerable to the disease.
CA-MRSA is more common in contact sports and crowded, unsanitary conditions, and among people using illicit drugs or who have HIV or other immunocompromising conditions. Men who have sex with other men are at increased risk of CA-MRSA.
MRSA, like most staph infections, often starts with swollen, painful bumps similar to spider bites or pimples. The infected area may be warm to the touch or full of pus. MRSA may be accompanied by a fever.
The bumps can become abscessed (turn into deep, painful boils) that may require draining. They can also burrow into the body and cause life-threatening infections.
Misconceptions about MRSA
A MRSA infection isn’t as well known as a regular staph infection, so there are some misconceptions about the disease, including:
Myth: Antibiotics can’t treat it
This doesn’t sound unreasonable at first glance. After all, we said earlier that overuse of antibiotics is sometimes responsible for this strain of staph infection. However, with many antibiotics available, it’s still possible they can help, even if they’re not the only treatment used.
Myth: The same treatments can treat everyone
With so many strains of staph infection, and because it can affect many parts of the body, no one treatment is a cure-all.
Infections in different areas, such as the nose, skin, and even inside your body, need different solutions. And infants, children, and pregnant women have different needs as well.
Myth: Hospitals are the only place to get infected
We’ve already covered the two major types of MRSA, but it’s often believed that hospitals are the riskiest area for this infection. While it’s true that hospitals pose a high risk for contracting MRSA, CA-MRSA infections are becoming more common.
Gyms and other sports facilities, schools, and offices are all breeding grounds for MRSA, and the illness can spread quickly.
Myth: Mild cases aren’t much to worry about
Like other staph infections, MRSA often presents with mild symptoms. However, it’s hard to get rid of long-term, and the infection can come and go. Newer strains continue to infect people, and MRSA spreads quickly once in a given environment. You must be vigilant with this condition.
MRSA can lead to worse problems than a regular staph infection, but we can help you manage this condition. Call one of the Skinworks Dermatology locations in Maspeth, Chelsea, or Park Slope, or book your visit online.