I was 21 years old when I first was diagnosed with Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). MRSA is a staph infection that is resistant to many types of antibiotics. A month before I was diagnosed, I was actually hospitalized with a large staph infection in my leg that had abscessed. While hospitalized, the abscess was surgically drained and tested negative for MRSA. A month after recovering, I experienced a similar looking abscess only two inches in size on my abdomen. I met with my doctor who incised and drained the abscess in office. When this infection was cultured via a swab, it tested positive for MRSA.
For the next two years I would have skin abscesses containing MRSA approximately once per month, sometimes even having multiples at a time all over my body. Early on I would have these abscesses painfully incised and drained, and then was prescribed an antibiotic. After a while I was able to get an antibiotic before incision/drainage was necessary.
After making several lifestyle changes, it seemed nothing I was doing was helping to prevent the MRSA from recurring. I began feeling overwhelmed by the idea of dealing with these infections the rest of my life. At that point, I was referred to an Infectious Disease Specialist who confirmed I was a carrier of MRSA through a nasal swab. I was instructed to use Hibiclens, an antiseptic/antimicrobial wash, and also went on a regimen of one antibiotic pill a day for three months.
My recurrent MRSA infections ceased after treatment and I have fortunately been infection free for the past several years. There is so much to MRSA infections and treatment that is not understood. While at times the infections can be frightening and overwhelming, it is important to be proactive in obtaining treatment.
If you currently suffer from MRSA infections, consider the advice below, in consultation with your physician.
1. Seek treatment from an Infectious Disease Specialist. When you are first diagnosed with MRSA, obtain a referral or schedule an appointment right away.
2. Use an Antimicrobial Soap. Wash skin with Hibiclens in the shower for a few days to a week.
3. Manage your stress. Exercising, eating healthy and getting a good amount of sleep each night is essential to keeping your immunity up.
4. Check your prescriptions. Ensure any antibiotics prescribed to you have been proven effective against MRSA.