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Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus


MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is a strain of Staph bacteria that can cause infection. Antibiotics are used to kill bacteria, but MRSA bacteria are resistant to some of the antibiotics used to treat Staph infections. You are at a higher risk for MRSA if you have cuts, scrapes, or wounds on your skin. A recent hospital stay or antibiotic use also increases your risk of MRSA infection.



  • Antibiotics: You may be given an antibiotic that is effective against your MRSA infection. You may need to use antibiotics for weeks or even months to treat some MRSA infections. Always take your antibiotics exactly as ordered by your primary healthcare provider. Do not stop taking your medicine unless directed by your primary healthcare provider. Never save antibiotics or take leftover antibiotics that were given to you for another illness.

  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your primary healthcare provider or infectious disease specialist within 2 days or as directed:

You may need an exam or tests to make sure your infection is healing. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Home care for MRSA skin infections:

  • Cover small boils with a warm, moist compress to help them drain.

  • If the infection is on your arm or leg, use pillows to raise the area. This will help reduce swelling.

  • Cover draining wounds with clean, dry bandages.

Reduce your risk of MRSA infection and its spread:

  • Always clean your hands after you touch the infected area. Wash your hands often with soap and hot water. Carry germ-killing gel with you and use it to clean your hands when you have no soap and water.

  • Use clean towels and bed linens. Do not share towels or washcloths, razors, bar soap, lotions, or creams.

  • Keep counters, door knobs, bath tubs, and toilet seats clean. Ask your caregiver what kind of cleaner to use.

Call your primary care provider or infectious disease specialist if:

  • You have a fever.

  • You have questions about your condition, treatment, or care.

Seek care immediately if:

  • Your skin infection is not healing or is getting worse after 2 days of treatment.

  • Other symptoms, such as cough, shortness of breath, tiredness, or headache, have not decreased or are getting worse.

© 2015 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (Discharge Care)