Two summers ago, I had not heard of MRSA, let alone considered how I would rid my house of it. Then little pimples popped up on my daughter’s torso. Soon, she was feverish, laid up on the couch in horrible pain, and oozing pus out of giant, angry red sores. The diagnosis: MRSA.
What is MRSA? According to the Mayo Clinic, it is Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, an infection caused by a strain of staph bacteria that’s become resistant to commonly used antibiotics.
How is it treated? My daughter was put on antibiotics and painkillers so strong that they made her feel worse. We ended up halving or going without the painkiller, because it caused her to vomit so frequently, but that wasn’t an option for the antibiotic. My already slender girl started losing weight. The only thing I dreaded more than giving her medication was leaching her sores.
According to our doctor, the best way of making these pustules go away was to get them to drain. This was done by holding a hot cloth to them until they would burst and ooze. The sores were extremely sensitive, the slightest touch causing my daughter to cringe, but I had to firmly press them and make them explode.
My daughter would cry as we went through this procedure several times a day, but the doctor was adamant. If the infection didn’t lessen, she would be hospitalized. Since these boils can penetrate deep into the body and become life-threatening, it was vital to remove this poison from her body.
Where does MRSA come from? Once it was clear that the abscesses were shrinking, my concern had to shift to avoiding their return. I was washing my hands several times each hour and examining my skin for spots since I was being constantly exposed to the infection. I inspected my children daily. Thankfully, it was kept in check.
The best way to avoid MRSA or to keep it from spreading is to keep clean. Use antibacterial soap and avoid contact with those who are infected. It is spread by skin-to-skin contact and is common in crowded, unsanitary places like locker rooms.
Should I see a doctor? If you are suffering from a rash that started out like pimples but has grown in size and painfulness, see a doctor immediately. MRSA is an antibiotic-resistant infection that becomes more difficult to treat the longer it is allowed to spread.