Parents cautioned about MRSA

Published 10:55 am Wednesday, October 4, 2006

By Staff
Special to the Advance
Currently, there are cases of Methicillin-resistant Staphy-lococcus aureus (MRSA) in your child's school. Staphylococcus aureus ("staph") is a type of bacteria found on the environment and on the skin or in the nose of 25 to 30 percent of healthy individuals. MRSA is a type of staph found on 1 percent of individuals that may be hard to treat with certain antibiotics. This illness may appear as a pimple, rash, boil or open wound that does not heal on its own. Symptoms of MRSA infection may include redness, warmth, swelling, pus and tenderness of the skin. Some people may also have fever and chills.
Anyone can get a MRSA infection. MRSA is most commonly spread through direct physical contact (skin-to-skin) with an infected person. Poor hand washing plays an important role in the spread of the bacteria. A person can also become infected by touching or sharing objects that have been contaminated (such as towels, bed sheets, clothes, razors and even athletic equipment). Children with MRSA are not commonly excluded from school if the area can effectively be covered by a bandage.
If you believe that your child may have symptoms of MRSA, talk to your physician or call the Escambia County Health Department at 850-595-6683. MRSA infections are treatable. Do not try to drain, pop or squeeze any boils, pimples or other pus-filled skin infections. Early treatment can help keep the infection from getting worse. Depending on how serious the infection, your doctor may drain the fluid and send a sample for laboratory testing. The doctor will probably bandage the infected area and may prescribe antibiotics. Follow all of the doctor's instructions, even if you begin to feel better or the infection looks like it is healing, to prevent the infection from coming back or becoming worse.
The following are the best ways to prevent MRSA infections:
If you have any questions about MRSA, please contact the Escambia County Health Department at 850-595-6683.
Editor's Note: This letter was issued by Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and the Florida Department of Health. A copy of the letter was submitted by a concerned parent of a Northview High School student.

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