MRSA infections are common in hospitals and nursing homes. They are also prevalent among athletes. Sports teams have been known to become reservoirs for MRSA infection. These infections can cause severe health problems if not treated effectively.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that there were over 1 million cases of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections in 2010 alone.1 MRSA is resistant to all available antibiotics.2 MRSA causes a wide range of illnesses from mild skin infections to life threatening bloodstream infections.3
Infection with MRSA can occur when healthcare workers touch infected patients or contaminated equipment, such as surgical instruments.4 Healthcare facilities are at risk for acquiring MRSA because they lack proper hand hygiene procedures and do not routinely screen their staff members for the infection.5
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is one of the most commonly occurring pathogens in hospitals and nursing homes.6 MRSA is resistant to many drugs used to treat other types of infections, including penicillins, vancomycin, tetracyclines, erythromycin and others.7
Athletes can be at risk for MRSA infections through skin abrasions and cuts caused by their activities. In fact, there is a special concern for football players who become infected with MRSA through skin abrasions that could lead to dangerous bloodstream infections.8
MRSA causes a wide range of illnesses from mild skin infections to life threatening bloodstream infections.9 It can cause pneumonia, arthritis, and even death.10 It can cause a range of symptoms from:
Cellulitis is a skin infection that causes redness, swelling and pain.
Pustules are small, red pimples filled with fluid or pus.
Erysipelas is an infection of the skin in the form of a red, angry rash that often resembles a spreading “geographic” pattern. Redness and edema often occur with erysipelas.
Folliculitis is a skin infection that causes small, pus-filled bumps to appear in areas where there are hair follicles.
Impetigo is a highly contagious skin condition that causes blisters with a yellow fluid to form. The fluid dries and forms a cracked, honey-colored crust on the skin.
It may become generalized, affecting large areas of skin.
Cellulitis is a common skin infection that causes redness, swelling and pain. It is often a sign of more serious underlying problems such as diabetes or cirrhosis.
Most people associate staph with skin conditions like boils, but it can do a lot more damage than just that. In fact, it is the leading cause of infections in hospitals and surgical suites as it is resistant to many antibiotics.
Staphylococcus is a type of bacteria normally found on the skin or in the noses of about 30% of people. Most don’t cause any problems, but if it spreads throughout the body it can cause life-threatening illnesses such as:
Treatment with antibiotics is extremely important in treating staph. Left untreated it can lead to “flesh-eating syndrome,” which causes your body to eat away at its own tissue and can be fatal if not treated right away.
The best way to prevent Staphylococcus is by practicing good hygiene. For example, if you get a cut or scrape, make sure you keep it clean and covered with a bandage until it heals.
Try to avoid contact sports or activities that could lead to skin abrasions or trauma if you have any reason to believe that you may be prone to staph infections.
Streptococcus pneumoniae is the bacteria that causes pneumonia, meningitis and ear infections. It is a contagious bacteria that can spread from person to person when they sneeze or cough.11 In extreme cases, it can cause death.12
S. pneumoniae affects around one in every sixteen people per year, making it a fairly common infection.
Most children younger than two will get infected at least once in their lives.13
If you are prone to getting ear infections, you may have had a S. pneumoniae infection in the past.
Strep throat is another illness caused by S. pneumoniae, though there are many other types of strep that can cause it as well.
Although there is no vaccine for S. pneumoniae, you can take certain steps to keep from becoming infected.
If you are sick, try to avoid contact with others and stay home from work or school. When you sneeze or cough, make sure you turn your head so you don’t spit saliva on other people or things. Clean your hands often, as this can prevent the spread of S. pneumoniae as well.
Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces is also important. Clean frequently touched surfaces like doorknobs, phones, toilet handles and faucets on a regular basis.
Disinfect these same items using a chlorine bleach solution or a household cleaner that says it kills viruses and bacteria on the label.
Sources & references used in this article:
The skin in the gym: a comprehensive review of the cutaneous manifestations of community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infection in athletes by PR Cohen – Clinics in dermatology, 2008 – Elsevier
A practical approach to preventing CA-MRSA infections in the athletic setting by SD Rogers – … Journal of Athletic Therapy and Training, 2008 – journals.humankinetics.com
Personal hygiene and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infection by G Turabelidze, M Lin, B Wolkoff, D Dodson… – Emerging infectious …, 2006 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Infections at the Gym by AS Weissfeld – Clinical Microbiology Newsletter, 2015 – Elsevier