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MRSA Prevention (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus)

Each year, 90,000 Americans suffer from invasive MRSA infection. About 20,000 die. Many are children.

What is it?

MRSA is methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a type of staph bacteria that is resistant to several antibiotics. In the general community, MRSA most often causes skin infections.  In some cases, it causes pneumonia (lung infection) and other issues.  If left untreated, MRSA infections can become severe and cause sepsis - a life-threatening reaction to severe infection in the body.  Invasive (serious) MRSA infections occur in approximately 94,000 people each year and are associated with approximately 19,000 deaths, reportedly more deaths than HIV per year.

Symptoms and Treatment

Sometimes, people with MRSA skin infections first think they have a spider bite.  However, unless a spider is actually seen, the irritation is likely not a spider bite. Most staph skin infections, including MRSA, appear as a bump or infected area on the skin that might be: red, swollen, painful, warm to the touch, full of pus or other drainage, or accompanied by a fever.

Both health care-associated and community-associated strains of MRSA still respond to certain antibiotics. In some cases, antibiotics may not be necessary. For example, doctors may drain a superficial abscess caused by MRSA rather than treat the infection with drugs.


Outbreaks occur when a person with an MRSA infection comes into direct skin-to-skin contact with another person -- or after a person uses a towel or other object that's been contaminated by an infected person. MRSA infection risk can be increased when a person is in activities or places that involve crowding, skin-to-skin contact, and shared equipment or supplies. People including athletes, daycare and school students, military personnel in barracks, and those who recently received inpatient medical care are at higher risk.

How To Prevent Spreading MRSA

  • Cover your wounds. Keep wounds covered with clean, dry bandages until healed. Follow your doctor’s instructions about proper care of the wound. Pus from infected wounds can contain MRSA so keeping the infection covered will help prevent the spread to others. When necessary clean body with Hand and Skin Cleanser to prevent infection and encourage healing.
  • Clean your hands often. You, your family, and others in close contact should wash their hands often with soap and water or use a hand cleanser especially after changing the bandage or touching the infected wound.
  • Disinfect with disinfectant (kills MRSA) to prevent cross contamination and spreading MRSA, on the go or at home.
  • Do not share personal items. Personal items include towels, washcloths, razors and clothing, including uniforms.
  • Wash used sheets, towels, and clothes with water and laundry detergent. Use a dryer to dry them completely.
  • Wash clothes according to manufacturer’s instructions on the label.  Clean your hands after touching dirty clothes


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