Children And MRSA
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus also known as MRSA, is a common bacteria found in the nose, throat or skin. MRSA is a concern today because it can be harder to treat than other infections and it's infecting healthy people, including children -- not just those with weakened immune system, as in the past. This type of MRSA is called community-associated MRSA (CA-MRSA). That's because it affects people in the community, outside of hospitals and nursing homes. And, with more people infected with community-associated MRSA, more children with MRSA have been admitted to hospitals.
Who's most at risk of getting MRSA? Children who come into close contact with other people in places like:
· day care centers
· locker rooms
· classrooms and other school settings
· workout facilities
In these kinds of settings, MRSA is more likely because kids have skin-to-skin contact and may share equipment or toys that have not been cleaned. Children are also more likely to have frequent scrapes or bug bites -- potential entryways for infection.
It can be severe or deadly for those with compromised immune systems, like young children and babies, and it is resistant to many antibiotics currently used to treat bacteria. Signs of MRSA in infants include fever and a boil, wound, or skin infection that does not heal with normal treatment. MRSA can compromise nearly every system of the body, and an infant infected with the MRSA bacteria can present a multitude of symptoms common with any bacterial illness. General pain and lethargy, coughing, and difficulty breathing.
The first sign of MRSA in infants is often a pimple-like sore that resembles an insect bite and includes drainage or pus. Redness, pain, or tenderness often accompanies the sore or sores, and a fever might also be noted. Impetigo, a common skin disease in infants, can also be caused by the MRSA bacteria. The signs of impetigo include fluid filled blisters that most commonly present on the diaper area, buttocks, and face. When an infant or child possesses a skin infection, rash, or blemish that does not respond to treatment, the child's caregiver should consult a physician.
Although MRSA is an alarming prospect, the steps to prevent it are simple and affordable. Here are tips on how you and your children can protect yourselves:
Wash hands often. Teaching your children to wash their hands, and washing your own hands with soap and water will help stop all kinds of infections, including MRSA, from spreading. When soap and water aren't available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer especially when handling a new born baby.
Use bandages when needed. Keep sores and cuts covered and clean until they heal.
· Don't touch sores. Teach children not to touch or play with sores and scabs—theirs or other children's. Also, don't let children scratch their skin so much that they create tiny breaks in it; use an anti-itch cream on some areas if necessary. This is particularly important if they get chickenpox or another itchy disease.
· Don't share personal items. Teach children not to share personal items such as towels, just as adults shouldn't share razors or other skin care items.
· Be careful around hospitalized individuals. When visiting loved ones in the hospital or a residential care facility, practice good personal hygiene and avoid touching catheters, ports, and IVs where they enter the skin. Wash your hands with soap after you leave the room. Teach children to do the same.
· Teach prevention tips for athletes. Student athletes may need to take additional steps to prevent infection, including:
· Shower immediately after competition or practice, especially after contact sports. Always shower before getting into a whirlpool with other athletes.
· Keep equipment and supplies clean, and wash uniforms after each use.
· Make sure sanitizing products are available for cleaning mats and other shared sports equipment. Check with coaches and other adults to be sure that these are used.
· Don't compete in contact sports if you have a wound that is open or bleeding. Keep all cuts and scrapes covered