Do I need an MRSA Test?
Because MRSA is a tiny bacteria you could carry it on your skin or in your nose for a long time without it making you ill. Between 1-2% of people are MRSA carriers – although this may be more in some cities and risk groups. As many as 1 in 3 people have the equally destructive but easier to treat staph aureus (SA) on their skin and it is thought that 4 out 5 carry SA at some point in their lives.
If people suspect that they are MRSA carriers because of MRSA infections among friends or family they can ask for a simple MRSA test at their medical provider. A nasal swab can be taken and sent for testing. In the long term a 15 minute MRSA test should become available.
Special soaps such as Hibiclens can help remove the bacteria from the skin and regular washing/showering will also help frustrate the long term colonisation of your body. Nasal creams are also available but overuse will breed resistance and you could become reinfected again within days within the community.
MRSA skin infections often start as small red bumps. You may think that they are pimples, small boils or insect bites. They will often be swollen, may leak yellow pus and may feel warm in the area around the inflamation. Other bacteria can also be the cause of these skin issues – only an MRSA test will suggest the real cause.
If the infection develops into an abscess,(pockets of pus under the skin), or a carbuncle, (large abscess which may have one or more opening) then incision and drainage might be needed and silver bandages or other wound dressings might be advised. The medical provider will often send an MRSA test for analysis and will usually suggest an antibiotic.
The antibiotic may not be useful or needed in many cases but until the MRSA test is back they tend to play it safe. In a small number of cases these skin infections develop into serious and extensive abcesses and may invade the rest of the body.
MRSA can be a complicating factor, among many, of almost any other medical condition including surgical site incisions, flu, pneumonia, heart conditions and arthiritis. It can attack vulnerable tissue and create large pus filled internal abscesses.
More and more hospitals screen patients on arrival and embark on skin cleaning with chlorahexdrine, nasal creams and pre-emptive antibiotic use if the patient is high risk or returns a positive MRSA test from nasal swabs or blood cultures
More MRSA infection questions below. Use the comments box at the foot of this post for your questions
MRSA Symptoms – what are they?
What is MRSA?
Is MRSA infection different from MERSA?
MRSA Test – How is MRSA detected
Is MRSA Infection Contagious?
Can you catch MRSA from skin contact?
How does MRSA spread in the family?
Is MRSA airborne?
How do you catch MRSA
Is MRSA just a hospital infection?
Is there an MRSA incubation period?
Exposure to MRSA – Should I be worried?
What about sex and MRSA?
MRSA Skin – Catching MRSA from skin contact?
Chronic MRSA – I keep getting MRSA?
How do you catch MRSA?