MRSA or Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus, to give it its full name, is a bug found on around a third of the population. It usually lives in moist areas of the body such as armpits, nose and groin, although it can be found on other parts of the body; most commonly the hands. It is usually completely harmless, though as with other germs, it can cause infections. Getting MRSA infection advice is vital, as it can cause skin-related problems such as boils and can more serious infections if it gets into the body through cuts or surgical wounds. It can then go on to cause life-threatening infections, such as blood poisoning or endocarditis, an infection of the inner lining of the heart.
The Staph bug
The name ‘methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus’ means that the Staph bug becomes resistant to the antibiotic methicillin and there is a reduced choice of antibiotics available to treat it. Around 30 per cent of the population are colonised with Staph aureus. Most will be unaware that they carry MRSA, because it causes them no harm and they have no symptoms.
Most patients admitted to NHS hospitals for planned procedures are routinely screened for MRSA. This helps to reduce the chance of patients developing an MRSA infection or passing the infection onto others. If you need a medical procedure or surgery there is an increased risk of infection as it is possible for MRSA to enter the body. Your doctor will consider whether you need to be ‘decolonised,’ which means removing as much of the MRSA bug as possible. Decolonisation usually involves treatment with a body wash, antiseptic shampoo and nasal cream in order to remove MRSA from the body, hair and nostrils.
Identifying and treating MRSA
There are five signs to help you identify an infected wound, including an MRSA infection:
- The wound becomes red
- The area around the wound feels hot
- Pus collects in the area
- Swelling develops
- The area is painful
An MRSA infection is treated with antibiotics, taken orally, rubbed on your skin or via a drip.
If you are involved in changing or handling a dressing from a wound, gloves must be used and they should be thrown away with the soiled dressing. Hands should then be thoroughly washed. Keep surfaces dust-free and vacuum carpets regularly. Make sure your bath, shower, basins and toilets are cleaned regularly. Wash clothes, bedding and linen as normal using your usual washing powder or liquid detergent, but use the hottest temperature you can for the type of fabric. Do not share personal towels and change yours daily for the duration of any treatment.
If you think that you have contracted MRSA in hospital due to negligence, call us at Accident Advice Helpline. We pride ourselves in having helped thousands of victims claim the compensation they are entitled to. Remember, our MRSA infection advice service is simple, fast and efficient.
Date Published: February 15, 2014
Author: David Brown