The bacterial infection, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is commonly known as MRSA. Most people have heard of it and know it can rapidly become life threatening; but what many people don't realize is that everyone has this bacterium on their skin and it is part of the natural flora that lives its surface.
It is kept in check with simply washing with soap and water. Good bacteria help keep MRSA, staph, and other bacteria from causing infections and illness. When the balance is not maintained, harmful bacteria can grow and cause a variety of health problems.
Once there is a break in the skin it provides an entrance into the body and it can quickly spread.
Preventing harmful bacteria, like MRSA, from flourishing, it will be necessary to avoid antibiotics and antibiotic products when possible because beneficial bacteria will be killed with the harmful bacteria.
Staph bacteria are very adaptable, resilient, and durable which is why they have evolved into strains that are resistant to a variety of antibiotic treatments.
A large number of people have MRSA colonization, which is when bacteria are present but there are no symptoms of an infection. These bacteria commonly colonize in the nose but it can also colonize in the following areas:
It can go unnoticed and undiagnosed while the person who has the colonization spreads the bacteria. In the case of children who tend to wipe their nose or pick it and fail to wash their hands afterwards, the bacteria can quickly spread.
A child with chicken pox will often scratch at the blisters and scabs causing a break in the skin where bacteria can enter. The child is already in a weakened condition due the varicella zoster virus that causes chicken pox, so he or she is more susceptible to an infection.
One of the risk factors of MRSA is previous antibiotic treatment, so a child who has been sick and been treated with antibiotics (Chicken Pox Treatment) will be more likely to get a MRSA infection. Other risk factors include the following:
Staph bacteria can live on surfaces so when surfaces are shared and come in contact with skin that has a cut, scrape, rash, abrasion, or other break in the skin; there is a risk of an infection.
MRSA is resistant to methicillin and other related antibiotics but there are still some antibiotics that it will respond to. MRSA can be acquired from the community (CA-MRSA) or from a medical facility like a hospital (HA-MRSA).
The following symptoms may cause suspicion of a MRSA infection and require testing:
Identifying the strain of MRSA will result in more effective treatment because the appropriate antibiotics can be prescribed. A person who is diagnosed with this highly contagious bacterium will be isolated to prevent transmission.
Preventing the infection with good hygiene and a strong immune system will prevent needing treatment.
Though it may not be common for chicken pox to become infected with MRSA there is a small but significant risk factor so the child who has chicken pox should be monitored for signs of MRSA.
More information about this type of staph infection can be found on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's (cdc.gov/mrsa) website.
Find out about Chicken Pox In Adults.