Tuesday, February 25, 2014

MRSA, the unknown Plague

When I used the term MRSA to a friend, they thought I was talking about RSV.  MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is not a commonly known illness, and after doing some research I would like to compare it to cancer, or as Lesse says, the plague.

I have delayed speaking about our run in with MRSA, because of embarrassment and fear that someone would say that we are bad parents and neglecting our children.....which is completely wrong.  We cannot help what virus our children catch, we have and do take all measures to prevent illness and promote good health.

We have no clue where we MRSA was picked up, all we know is one afternoon the boo boo that we scratched shot out something that was not so pretty.

It has been six months since the first diagnosis of MRSA, and I have not decided if I have overreacted or if everyone else had under-reacted.   This stuff can be serious stuff if left untreated (note: we get treatment as soon as we notice it).  I also have learned that many people are under educated about the severeness of MRSA, they either assume you have it because you are dirty, or they think it is no big deal, both is way wrong!

What I have learned about MRSA is EVERYONE most likely has it, staph is known as skin and MRSA is a skin infection.  You only become ill with it, if you have cut or wound that MRSA bacteria gets in.  However, when you do become infected, repeat infections are often to follow.....Ughh!  Giant Ugh!

Info pulled from WebMD

Garden-variety staph are common bacteria that can live in our bodies. Plenty of healthy people carry staph without being infected by it. In fact, 25%-30% of us have staph bacteria in our noses.

But staph can be a problem if it manages to get into the body, often through a cut. Once there, it can cause an infection. Staph is one of the most common causes of skin infections in the U.S. Usually, these are minor and don't need special treatment. Less often, staph can cause serious problems like infected wounds or pneumonia.

Staph can usually be treated with antibiotics. But over the decades, some strains of staph -- like MRSA -- have become resistant to antibiotics that once destroyed it. MRSA was first discovered in 1961. It's now resistant to methicillin, amoxicillin, penicillin, oxacillin, and many other antibiotics.   

At this point there is no cure for MRSA, that is why I compare it to cancer or even Aids.....in fact from what I have been told is that we (not we my family, we as in our medical folks and government) have cause MRSA to become worse as we pump our bodies full of antibiotics and become immune to so much.  They do treat MRSA with antibiotics, and the antibiotics work, but your body is still weak and can become reinfected without notice....we have been through a few rounds of Bactrim.  

There are ways of preventing MRSA, in fact I have this list thoroughly memorized, and I think I smell like a walking bleach and rubbing alcohol factory all the time, and we so far have been successful.

Preventing CA-MRSA

  • Wash your hands. Careful hand-washing remains your best defense against germs. Scrub hands briskly for at least 15 seconds, then dry them with a disposable towel and use another towel to turn off the faucet. Carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer containing at least 62 percent alcohol for times when you don't have access to soap and water.
  • Keep wounds covered. Keep cuts and abrasions clean and covered with sterile, dry bandages until they heal. The pus from infected sores may contain MRSA, and keeping wounds covered will help keep the bacteria from spreading.
  • Keep personal items personal. Avoid sharing personal items such as towels, sheets, razors, clothing and athletic equipment. MRSA spreads on contaminated objects as well as through direct contact.
  • Shower after athletic games or practices. Shower immediately after each game or practice. Use soap and water. Don't share towels.
  • Sanitize linens. If you have a cut or sore, wash towels and bed linens in a washing machine set to the hottest water setting (with added bleach, if possible) and dry them in a hot dryer. Wash gym and athletic clothes after each wearing.
That is just a list of what most doctors suggest, I have went a step farther. 
  • We take what they refer to as Hibiclens - we take regular antiseptic baths to kill any germs that might be on anyone in the house.  This can be frustrating, expensive, and downright annoying, but it seems to kill the germs. 
  • Everything in our house gets a little bleach, thankfully no one has sensitive skin, or this could be a problem.  I add bleach to all of our laundry, I add a little bleach to my dishwater, I even bleach our shower after each person baths, making sure to kill any unwanted germs.  I use bleach as my main cleaning product....I would say we go through 2 gallons of bleach a week, but it seems to have cut back on all germs. 
  • We have upped our vitamin intake and decreased our sugar intake (except the boys who drink sweet tea).  One doctor told me that sugar in our blood can weaken our ability to fight off infections.....I figure what does it hurt cut back sugar. 
  • Fresh air every chance we get, we open the windows and let the house air out. 
  • Lysol our vehicles out, this winter I have not been overly worried about that as germs tend not to live at negative temperatures, but when it warmed up Lysol was our friend.  
  • All open wounds get alcohol, antibiotic cream, and covered immediately.  I use to believe that air was good for a cut...now NOPE, nothing is left to catch a germ. 
  • NEVER reuse a towel.  I use to hang our towels up to reuse, nope they all go in the hamper and get washed with bleach. 
  • Bed sheets are changed regularly and washed with bleach. 
  • I have heard, but cannot tell you if it true, they say Dial soap will help....to be on the safe side I changed out our bottles of soap with Dial and use that for hand washing and body wash.   
We laugh as we often smell like a swimming pool on a hot summer day, but I believe taking all precautions can help prevent spreading or at least spreading it in our home.....we cannot control what is out there around you.  We also know that we are not the only people in our community that has this virus, it is actually quite popular, but rarely discussed...most likely for the same reasons I have delayed talking.

Facts to know: 

Approximately 25%-30% of us have Staph bacteria in our noses.

MRSA most often enters the body through a cut or wound by direct contact. The key to preventing MRSA infections is for everyone to practice good hygiene:
- Keep your hands clean by washing thoroughly with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand rub
- Keep cuts and scrapes clean and covered with a bandage until healed
- Avoid contact with other people's wounds or bandages
- Avoid sharing personal items such as towels or razors

In U.S. hospitals, MRSA causes more than 60% of Staph infections. Additionally, MRSA outbreaks occur in diverse types of people who are constantly in close contact, such as team players of contact sports, nursing homes, community living, dormitory residents, inmates, and armed-services personnel.

There is no vaccine against MRSA.

MRSA most often appears as a skin infection, like a boil or abscess. Many people who actually have a Staph skin infection often mistake it for a spider bite.

Staph infections are known to cause pneumonia. In rare cases, a MRSA infection can be serious or fatal. Very rarely, Staph can result in necrotizing fasciitis, or "flesh-eating" bacterial infections. These are serious skin infections that spread very quickly.

With all this said, I pray no one looks at us like the walking plague, while I am sure or I fear, someone will be immature and under educated on this topic and will run with this.  Remember that even though you have not become infected, you very well could be a carrier of MRSA and could be sharing it with someone next to you unknowingly.  Good hygiene, and common sense will prevent you from getting sick.  

I also ask you to pray for my sweet Lesse as she battles this, we all have a deep faith in God, and believe that one day a cure will be found for not only her, but for everyone! 

1 comment:

  1. Wow. This is terrifying. A friend of mine got MRSA after going in for a minor elective surgery (to have a corn removed from her foot) and spent 6 months fighting the after-effects. Hang in there.


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