MRSA in children: How to manage an infection

MRSA or methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus is a skin infection brought about by a form of staph bacteria. This form could not be treated using the commonly-used antibiotics such as amoxicillin or amoxicillin. Even though it used to be rare, MRSA is becoming common among children.

The risk for children is high since they play in close quarters and get in close contact with other children and share items particularly toys.

What are the indications?

mrsa

Always bear in mind that MRSA infections can spread to the bloodstream and lungs, resulting to conditions including pneumonia.

Various strains of bacteria naturally thrive on the skin and do not cause any issues until introduced into the body. If a child has a scrape, cut or sore, it provides an entry point for the MRSA bacteria. The bacteria start to multiply and trigger the symptoms of an infection.

The common symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Swollen lump or bump that is hard to the touch on the site of a wound or broken skin
  • Pain and drainage of pus at the site
  • Warmth at the site of the bump and surrounding area

When to consult a doctor

A doctor should be consulted for proper treatment of a child with a possible MRSA infection. The doctor can successfully drain a boil if needed.

Generally, MRSA is not a medical emergency but there are instances where it is vital to seek medical attention especially if these are present:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Rash
  • Severe headache

Management of MRSA

Always bear in mind that MRSA infections can spread to the bloodstream and lungs, resulting to conditions including pneumonia. Due to this, it is vital to seek medical treatment for children. A combination of oral and topical antibiotics is usually prescribed by the doctor.

In case amoxicillin and penicillin are not effective in treating MRSA, other antibiotics are used such as sulfamethoxazole, trimethoprim and clindamycin. The doctor might prescribe one of these plus rifampin which is another type of antibiotic depending on the severity of the infection. If the child had the infection more than once, both antibiotics might be given.

Aside from the oral antibiotics, a topical antibiotic ointment might be prescribed by the doctor particularly mupirocin. This is applied on the interior parts of the nose to lower the amount of MRSA. In addition, it can also be applied directly on the affected lesion. After the area is cleaned and dried, the ointment is applied using a cotton swab.

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