What is MRSA in children?
Staphylococcus aureus (staph) is a kind of bacteria. Staphylococcus aureus that is resistant to methicillin (MRSA) cannot be killed with typical staph antibiotics such as cephalexin. MRSA is most often found on the skin. However, if it spreads to the lungs, circulation, or other organs, it might be deadly. MRSA infections are difficult to treat, but there are oral and IV (intravenous) antibiotics that can effectively cure them. If detected early, an illness may be less difficult to cure.
What causes MRSA infection in a child?
On average, a child has a large number of germs on his or her skin and in his or her nasal passages. The MRSA bacteria affects around a third of Americans. Many individuals with MRSA are unaware of their condition. These germs are usually harmless. MRSA can infect a child’s skin if it is scratched or cut, or his or her immune system is compromised. A skin infection might be a tiny blister, several blisters, or a boil of the skin, or it may spread to the circulation and cause major problems.
The majority of MRSA infections were initially discovered in hospitals and nursing homes. MRSA is still most prevalent in hospitals. However, the chance of infection outside of healthcare settings is increasing as more individuals carry MRSA on their skin and in their noses.
Which children are at risk for MRSA?
A child is more at risk for MRSA if he or she has any of these:
- Close contact with MRSA-infected persons
- A scrape, cut, or other types of skin damage
- A tattoo or piercing
- Prior infection with MRSA has already occurred.
MRSA infections are more common among individuals who spend a lot of time together. Children on a sports team are also affected. MRSA may be found on sports equipment and clothing, and it can spread from skin to skin during play.
A child may pick up MRSA by:
- Touching someone who has MRSA on his or her body
- When a patient with MRSA coughs or sneezes nearby,
- Touching a surface contaminated with MRSA
- Touching the wound of someone who has MRSA disease
If MRSA enters your child’s skin through a cut or other wound, he or she may acquire an active form of the disease.
What are the symptoms of MRSA in a child?
An MRSA skin infection is the most common type of bacterial skin disease. However, bacteria may sometimes pass through the skin via an open wound. The most typical source of infection for children is a minor cut or scrape.
The following are some of the signs of a MRSA skin infection:
- A bump that feels painful, is red, leaks fluid, or is swollen. It might resemble a spider bite, pimple, or boil.
- Bumps that are firm or swollen beneath the skin
- Skin around a sore that is warm or hot
- Bump that grows rapidly or doesn’t heal
- Fever and painful sore are all symptoms.
- Rash or fluid-filled blisters
- Boil or an abscess that is leaking fluid
Any of the above symptoms is a sign of a systemic infection. Other possible signs include:
- Severe headache
- Dizziness or fainting
This type of infection needs treatment right away.
MRSA infection symptoms are often similar to those of other health problems. Make sure your kid sees his or her doctor for a diagnosis.
How is MRSA diagnosed in a child?
The healthcare provider will inquire about your child’s symptoms and medical history. Your child’s doctor will conduct a physical examination on him or her. Your youngster may also have various tests, such as:
- A skin swab, to check for MRSA
- Check for MRSA in cultures of blood, saliva, or fluid from a wound to see if it’s present.
- To check for infection in the lungs, an X-ray of the lungs may be done.
- Echocardiogram of the heart to examine whether it is affected
- To look for other tissues, bones, or joints, a CT scan or an MRI may be used.
How is MRSA treated in a child?
Your child’s condition, age, and general health will all play a role in determining the treatment. It will also be determined by how serious the situation is. A MRSA infection can usually be easily dealt with if it is discovered early.
If your youngster has a mild MRSA skin infection, the doctor will most likely clean it out with an incision and drain the fluid (pus) from the infected wound. Your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic cream to apply on your child’s skin. Your youngster may have to take antibiotics by mouth. The healthcare professional will instruct you on how to keep your child’s wound clean and covered while it heals.
If the infection has spread to other areas of the body, your youngster may require hospitalization for IV antibiotics. Your child may require surgical drainage of the infection in certain circumstances, such as when bones are infected.
If taking antibiotic medicine by mouth, make sure your child:
- Takes each dose on time as prescribed.
- Even if he or she thinks they are better,
Although many diseases can be treated in a week, others may take longer. The doctor may want to monitor the situation to ensure that the infection has been eliminated.
If the infection returns often, your child’s healthcare provider may advise special bathing such as:
- In a tub that is 1/4 full of water, add 1/2 cup of bleach and fill the rest with diluted bleach water.
- Chlorhexidine-based antibacterial soaps should be used to wash your child’s body.
Another approach to treat MRSA is to get rid of the bacteria from locations where they thrive and develop, such as the nose. To destroy MRSA in your child’s nose, your child’s healthcare provider may advise using an antibiotic medicine.
Ask your child’s healthcare providers about the risks, advantages, and possible drawbacks of all medicines.
What are possible complications of MRSA in a child?
If not treated, a MRSA skin infection may:
- Damage nearby tissue
- Infect other people through physical contact or contact with contaminated items
- Turn into an infection that spreads through the body. This may cause blood poisoning, pneumonia, flesh-eating disease, life-threatening shock, and death.
How can I help prevent MRSA in my child?
You can help protect your child. Teach your child to do the following:
- Wash hands often. Teach your children to wash their hands with soap and water. Wash your own hands often, too. This will help stop all kinds of infections from spreading, including MRSA. When soap and water aren’t available, use a hand sanitizer that contains alcohol.
- Keep bandages on wounds. Keep sores and cuts covered and clean until they heal.
- Don’t touch sores. Teach children not to touch sores and scabs. That includes their own sores and scabs, and those on other children.
- Stop scratching. Don’t let children scratch their skin too much. This can create breaks in the skin where bacteria can enter. Use an anti-itch cream on some areas if needed. This is very important if they get chickenpox or another itchy disease.
- Don’t share personal items. Tell children not to share personal items such as towels.
- Be careful around people in a hospital. When visiting loved ones in the hospital or other care facility, tell your child to not touch catheters, ports, or IVs where they enter the skin. Everyone should wash his or her hands with soap after leaving the room.
Children may be at risk in crowded places where infections can spread easily through contact. This includes daycare. Ask about the steps taken to prevent the spread of infection. These should include regularly disinfecting surfaces, toys, and mats.
Children who play sports are also at more risk for infection. They need to take extra care and do the following:
- Keep all cuts and scrapes covered.
- Don’t compete in contact sports with a wound that is open or bleeding.
- Shower right after competing or practicing.
- Shower before getting into a hot tub with other athletes.
- Keep sports equipment and supplies clean.
- Wash uniforms after each use.
- Check with coaches to make sure shared sports equipment is cleaned and sanitized.
- Don’t use equipment or clothing that has not been cleaned.
If you or your child has a MRSA infection, tell people in your household, school, and sports teams. They can take steps to protect others from infection.
When should I call my child’s healthcare provider?
Call the healthcare provider if your child has:
- Symptoms of MRSA
- A MRSA infection that is not healing or is getting worse
Get medical care for your child right away if you notice symptoms. A MRSA infection can quickly become severe if not treated.
Don’t try to treat a MRSA infection on your own. This can spread the infection to other people or make it worse for your child. Cover the infected area, wash your hands, and call your child’s healthcare provider.
Key points about MRSA in children
- MRSA is staph bacteria that can’t be killed with common antibiotics.
- MRSA is usually limited to the skin. It can be life-threatening if it spreads to the lungs, the bloodstream, or other organs. MRSA infection can be harder to treat than other staph infections. But other oral or IV (intravenous) antibiotics can successfully treat the infection.
- MRSA infections are more common in groups of people that spend a lot of time close together. This includes children on a sports team. MRSA may be on sports equipment, clothing, and may transfer from skin to skin during play.
- Symptoms include painful red bumps that leak fluid. A child may also have a fever, chills, and headache.
- Your child will likely be treated with antibiotic medicine.
- If your child has a mild MRSA skin infection, the healthcare provider will likely treat it by opening the infected sore and draining out the fluid (pus). You will likely be given a prescription antibiotic ointment to use on your child. Your child may also need to take antibiotic medicine by mouth.
- Don’t try to treat a MRSA infection on your own. This can spread the infection to other people or make it worse for your child. Cover the infected area, wash your hands, and call your child’s healthcare provider.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare provider:
- Know the reason for the visit and what you want to happen.
- Before your visit, write down questions you want answered.
- At the visit, write down the name of a new diagnosis, and any new medicines, treatments, or tests. Also write down any new instructions your provider gives you for your child.
- Know why a new medicine or treatment is prescribed and how it will help your child. Also know what the side effects are.
- Ask if your child’s condition can be treated in other ways.
- Know why a test or procedure is recommended and what the results could mean.
- Know what to expect if your child does not take the medicine or have the test or procedure.
- If your child has a follow-up appointment, write down the date, time, and purpose for that visit.
- Know how you can contact your child’s provider after office hours. This is important if your child becomes ill and you have questions or need advice.