I dealt with MRSA for about a year before finally seeking a diagnosis from the university’s health center. The boils that broke out periodically made me feel insecure and were quite painful. You worry what people will think if they see it. Yet before this, I was successfully treating it with a leftover antibiotic prescription from Panama given to me by my mother.
Medical experts have indicated different potential risk factors, and the people who are facing the most risk of infection. A major risk factor is living in a populous area, and my college of more than 30,000 people certainly qualifies. It also didn’t help that I had a compromised immune system that was due to my use of street drugs at the time.2 Places like a hospital or nursing home where there are many people are great places for bacteria to spread.1
Getting an infection proved all too easy. My main use for the lab was to print off papers right before class. Afterward, I usually didn’t stop to think about how many people used that keyboard before me, or how often the computer technician cleans them (none!). Thus, throughout the day, I would create excellent opportunities for the bacteria to spread anytime I would scratch an itch (like my forearm). So I got infections in common places where you scratch, such as my back and even my eyelid. I started becoming very self-conscious of scratching, and it began to affect my quality of life.
The culprit for the infection was the university’s computer lab, which harbored a filthy breeding ground for viruses and all things nasty. I began to connect the two, and I was not the only one having to deal with this. Yet, this isn’t a problem that is generally talked about others, so I never knew just how bad (or much better) my fellow students’ experiences were. I assumed it was bad enough, because it caused the school to install alcohol based soap dispenser in the library, hallways, and in all computer labs.
My troubles with this really began when the prescription cream from Panama ran out, and I had no efficient way to treat my boils. I dealt with the pain and embarrassment for awhile, and with time these painful boils would heal. However, when I finally went for a doctor’s appointment for a particularly nasty boil, I was relieved to get a type of antibiotic that worked to heal my skin fast. It can take substantially longer for your body to try and fight this infection by itself.
2) Quagliarello B, Cespedes C, Miller M, et al. Strains of Staphylococcus aureus obtained from drug-use networks are closely linked. Clin Infect Dis. 2002;35(6):671-677.