Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) is a staph skin infection that is resistant to some antibiotics, including penicillin, but it is by no means untreatable. Most staph and MRSA infections are treatable.
MRSA is most likely to cause infection when there is a break in the skin and bacteria enter the body. Staph infections may be spread by skin to skin contact or from shared items such as bedding, towels, soap, clothes and sports equipment.
Skin infections may look like a pimple or boil and can be red, swollen, painful, or have pus or other drainage. There may be a honey-colored crust when the blisters rupture. Itching may occur, which causes spreading from scratching the infected site. Wounds with drainage may contain staph and MRSA. Keeping infections covered helps to prevent the spread to others. Contact your health care provider if a wound site has signs of infection, such as pain, redness, swelling, heat, and discolored drainage.
Please contact your health care provider if your student or a family member has a suspicious wound. They will advise the appropriate course of treatment. It is also important to notify school personnel if your child has MRSA or a staph infection. We work with families, health care providers, and Snohomish Health District to determine the appropriate response for each situation.
Our District nurse and all school health attendants are fully informed about MRSA. They will respond to any school MRSA incidents by:
• Contacting the parents and physicians of students with confirmed MRSA infections to determine the infection’s status and to reduce the risk of an infection of others in the school.
• Reviewing whether a MRSA-infected student should stay home for the family physician’s recommended treatment. Students or adults with draining wounds that cannot be covered or contained will not attend school.
• Ensuring that any lesion, whether it be related to MRSA or not, is properly and fully covered to eliminate contact with other persons.
The best preventative measures for all infections and for overall health are good personal hygiene and hand-washing, wound care and early recognition and treatment of skin infections. Please remind your child to wash hands frequently each day with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Our staff is also encouraging extra hand washing while your child(ren) is at school.
Also, PE facilities and locker rooms are frequently cleaned. Our coaches and custodial staff are also aware of MRSA characteristics and other conditions that can be passed from person to person. Athletes with active skin and soft tissue infections will not participate in wrestling and other contact sports until the wounds are completely healed.
District staff also sanitizes other areas of our schools. Custodians apply sanitizing agents regularly and are trained in the proper use of such sanitizing agents.
For more detailed and accurate information on MRSA, you can go to the Center for Disease Control website at http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dhqp/ar_mrsa.html or the Mayo Clinic website athttp://www.mayoclinic.com/health/mrsa/DS00735. The Tacoma Pierce County Health Department, www.tpchd.org, also has valuable information.
Our District nurse, Colette Dahl, is available for questions at 425.231.0469.