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Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus Infection In Children
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
- Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a type of germ called bacteria. MRSA bacteria can cause infections in your child's body. Antibiotic medicines are used to kill germs. When the germ called Staphylococcus aureus (Staph) becomes resistant to (not killed by) certain antibiotic medicines, it is called MRSA. The Staph germ is commonly found on the skin and in the nose. Your child may carry the Staph germ but not get infected or sick. A carrier of MRSA can give it to other people and make them sick. MRSA infections spread easily from person to person. Your child can catch MRSA inside or outside of a hospital.
- An MRSA infection may grow in your child's skin, blood, lungs, heart, or brain. Signs and symptoms of an MRSA infection may include fever, skin wounds, headache, cough, trouble breathing, and dizziness. Tests may be done on your child's blood, mucus, or fluid that is taken from a wound to learn if he has MRSA. Treatment may include medicine, procedures, or surgery. Teach younger children how to wash their hands correctly. Tell older children to wash their hands often with soap. These and other measures can help decrease the spread of MRSA. With treatment, signs and symptoms such as a fever, cough, and pain may decrease, and wounds may heal.
- Keep a current list of your child's medicines: Include the amounts, and when, how, and why they are taken. Bring the list and the medicines in their containers to follow-up visits. Carry your child's medicine list with you in case of an emergency. Throw away old medicine lists. Give vitamins, herbs, or food supplements only as directed.
- Give your child's medicine as directed: Call your child's primary healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not working as expected. Tell him if your child is allergic to any medicine. Ask before you change or stop giving your child his medicines.
- Antibiotics: This medicine is used to kill the germs that caused the MRSA infection. Always give your child antibiotics exactly as ordered by his caregiver. Make sure your child finishes all of the medicine as prescribed, even if he feels better. Not doing this may make the germ harder to kill. Never give antibiotic medicine without a caregiver's order. Never save antibiotics or give leftover antibiotics that were given to your child to treat another illness.
Ask for more information about where and when to take your child for follow-up visits:
For continuing care, treatments, or home services for your child, ask for information.
Preventing the spread of MRSA:
- Wash your hands and your child's hands: Tell everyone in your house to wash their hands with germ-killing soap and water after going to the bathroom. Wash your hands after changing diapers and before preparing or eating food. All family members must wash their hands after coughing and sneezing, and whenever they are dirty. After visiting a person who has MRSA, everyone must wash their hands. Keep you and your child's fingernails clean and cut short.
- Bathe often: Have your child bathe regularly with soap and water. Have him do this especially after sports such as football and wrestling, where there is physical contact with others. Children who use exercise equipment that is also used by others must bathe often.
- Wash all of your child's clothing: Wash all clothing with soap and water after it is worn by someone who may have, or has, an MRSA infection. Have your child change his underwear and sleepwear every day.
- Keep wounds covered: Keep any wounds that your child has clean and covered with a bandage until they are healed. Follow your child's caregiver's instructions for keeping the wound clean and covered. Do not let your child do activities with others until his sores have healed. Do not take younger children to day care facilities until all sores have healed.
- Do not share personal items: Do not let your child share food, drinks, forks, knives, spoons, plates, or cups with others. Do not let him share bars of soap or towels, and do not let children share toys. Do not give different babies the same pacifier.
- Clean surfaces well: Use alcohol or chlorine-based, germ-killing cleaner when cleaning surfaces such as tables, which are shared and touched often. Keep doorknobs, faucet handles, and the floor clean. Toys that children play with need to be cleaned well.
- Get rid of the germ: If someone in your home has an MRSA infection, your child and other family members are at a greater risk of getting it. You and your family may need to use antibiotic cream in the nose, or special soap when washing.
- Play safely: Make sure that your child uses proper safety gear and clothing when playing sports. This may prevent cuts or other injuries, and protect his skin from other children's germs.
CONTACT A CAREGIVER IF:
- Your child has a fever (high body temperature).
- Your child has a rash that is itchy, or spreading over his body.
- Your child has a wound or area of pus under his skin that is not going away.
- Your child has blood in his urine or bowel movements.
- Your child is getting nosebleeds or is bleeding from his mouth.
- Your child has muscle pain or weakness, such as back pain and leg weakness.
- Your child has nausea (feeling sick to your stomach), vomiting (throwing up), or diarrhea.
- Your child has skin that is red, swollen and feels warm. These areas also may be painful.
SEEK CARE IMMEDIATELY IF:
- Your child has a fast heart beat and feels weak or dizzy.
- Your child has a headache with a stiff neck, and is very tired or confused.
- Your child has a seizure (convulsion).
- Your child is coughing up blood.
- Your child is having new trouble breathing. He may also have chest pain.
- Your child suddenly has trouble speaking.
- Your child's pain becomes very strong.
- Your child's tongue is swelling up.
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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.