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Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus Infection In Children


  • 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.


You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's caregivers to decide what care you want for your child.


  • Antibiotic medicines used to treat your child's MRSA infection may cause a rash, nausea, vomiting (throwing up), and diarrhea. They may damage his kidneys, nerves, or eyes. He may feel muscle pain or weakness. His teeth may be stained, and his skin may become sensitive to light. Your child may have an irregular heart beat. His tongue may swell, and he may have trouble speaking. Antibiotic medicines may not work well with other medicines that he is taking. Blood thinning medicine makes it easy for your child to start bleeding, even without having a injury. Some antibiotic medicines may cause seizures or very bad problems that can be life-threatening.
  • If your child's MRSA infection is not treated, it can get worse. The infection may spread to his skin, joints, kidneys, lungs, liver, spleen, bones, brain, and heart. If your child gets an infection in his spine, this could get worse and cause him to lose the use of his legs. Your child may get blood clots in his lungs and other body areas. These problems can be life-threatening. Talk to your child's caregiver if you have questions or concerns about your child's MRSA infection or treatment.


Informed consent:

A consent form is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that your child may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your child's medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done to your child. Make sure all of your questions are answered.

Vital signs:

Caregivers will check your child's blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, and temperature. They will also ask you or your child about his pain. These vital signs give caregivers information about your child's current health.


An IV is a small tube placed in your child's vein. Caregivers use the IV to give your child medicine or liquids.


Your child may be in isolation if he has an infection or disease that he can spread to others. Caregivers and visitors may need to wear gloves, a face mask, and a gown. Everyone should wash their hands before and after visiting your child.


Your child may need oxygen if his blood oxygen level is lower than it should be. Oxygen will help your child breathe easier. Your child may get oxygen through small tubes placed in his nostrils, or through a mask. He may instead be placed in an oxygen tent. Never take off your child's oxygen tubes or mask or remove him from the tent without asking his caregiver first.


  • Antibiotic medicines: Your child may be given one or more antibiotics to treat his MRSA infection.
  • Blood thinners: Your child may be given blood thinners to break up a blood clot or prevent one from forming.


Your child may need one or more of the following tests. Ask your caregiver for information about these and other tests that your child may need:

  • Blood tests: Your child may need blood tests to give caregivers information about how his body is working. The blood may be taken from your child's arm, hand, finger, foot, heel, or IV.
  • X-rays of the chest and other body areas: X-rays may be used to take pictures of your child's lungs, and other body areas. X-rays may be used to check areas of your child's body for MRSA infection.
  • CT scan: This test is also called a CAT scan. An x-ray and computer are used to take pictures of your child's body. Your child may be given dye, also called contrast, before the test. Tell the caregiver if your child is allergic to dye, iodine, or seafood.
  • Cultures: Caregivers may take samples of sputum (mucus) from your child's throat or nose. Samples of pus (drainage) may be collected from a wound. These fluids are sent to the lab and checked for MRSA.
  • Echocardiogram: This test is also called an echo. Sound waves are used to show pictures of the size and shape of your child's heart. The echo can also show how well the heart is pumping and how well blood flows through it. Your child will lie down during the test. Caregivers will squirt clear gel onto your child's chest to help the echo probe move easily. The echo pictures are shown on a TV-like screen. The whooshing noise that you may hear is the sound of blood flowing through the heart. Caregivers may ask you to stay in the room with your child during this test.
  • MRI: An MRI uses a powerful magnet and radio waves to take pictures of the inside of your child's body. Caregivers may use the MRI to look at your child's brain, muscles, joints, bones, or blood vessels. Your child will need to lie still during his test. Never enter the MRI room with any metal objects. This can cause serious injury.

Treatment options:

Your child may need one or more of the following:

  • Incision and drainage: Your child's caregiver may insert a needle, or make an incision (cut) in the infected area of your child's skin. This is done to drain out fluid (pus) that has collected in that area.
  • Surgery: Your child's caregiver may do surgery to remove dead tissue or an infected prosthesis (man-made body part). Ask caregivers for more information if your child needs to have surgery.
  • Dialysis: An MRSA infection can cause kidney failure. Dialysis is a treatment that cleans your child's blood if his kidneys stop working. Extra water, chemicals, and waste products are removed from the blood by a dialyzer or dialysis machine. The dialysis machine does this by passing blood through a special filter, and then returning it back to your child.
  • Ventilator: An MRSA infection can cause pneumonia. A ventilator is a special machine that can breathe for your child if he cannot breathe well on his own. Your child may have an endotracheal tube (ET tube) in his mouth or nose. A tube called a trach may go into an incision (cut) in the front of your child's neck. The ET tube or trach is hooked to the ventilator. The ventilator can also give oxygen to your child.

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.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus Infection In Children (Inpatient Care)

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