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Things to Know About MRSA Infections

Recognize and Prevent MRSA Infections

photo: A mother holding her child. As kids head back to classrooms and sports venues, parents are encouraged to learn how to recognize and prevent skin infections caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a type of staph bacteria that is resistant to certain antibiotics.

It is estimated that Americans of all ages visit the doctor more than 12 million times per year for skin infections that are typical of staph, more than half of which are MRSA. The good news is that a few simple steps can help parents protect their families.

Learn about MRSA

Visit www.cdc.gov/MRSA for posters, fact sheets, e-cards, graphics and more.

MRSA is methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a potentially dangerous type of staph bacteria that is resistant to certain antibiotics and may cause skin and other infections. As with regular staph infections, recognizing the signs and receiving treatment for MRSA skin infections in the early stages reduces the chances of the infection becoming severe. MRSA is spread by:

  • Having direct contact with another person’s infection
  • Sharing personal items, such as towels or razors, that have touched infected skin
  • Touching surfaces or items, such as used bandages, contaminated with MRSA

Recognize the Signs and Symptoms of Infections

Most staph skin infections, including MRSA, appear as a bump or infected area on the skin that may be:

  • Red
  • Swollen
  • Painful
  • Warm to the touch
  • Full of pus or other drainage
  • Accompanied by a fever

Poster: A child's first line of defense against MRSA: A well-informed mom.
A series of educational posters contain prevention and control messages related to infectious diseases such as MRSA.

Take Action if You Suspect an MRSA Skin Infection

Cover the area with a bandage and contact your healthcare professional. It’s especially important to contact your healthcare professional if signs and symptoms of an MRSA skin infection are accompanied by a fever.

Protect Yourself and Your Family from MRSA Skin Infections

  • Know the signs of MRSA skin infections and get treated early
  • Keep cuts and scrapes clean and covered
  • Encourage good hygiene such as cleaning hands regularly
  • Discourage sharing of personal items such as towels and razors

National MRSA Education Initiative

The National MRSA Education Initiative is a comprehensive public education campaign to help parents and healthcare providers recognize, treat, and prevent MRSA skin infections in their families and patients. Through the Initiative, parents, healthcare providers and organizations have access to education materials – including printed posters, fact sheets, brochures and flyers, and Web-based e-cards, content and graphics. To access materials, visit www.cdc.gov/MRSA.

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