We would like to start the new school year by reviewing our district guidelines for responding to MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus
Aureus) infections in our school. MRSA infections usually present as skin infections, such as pimples and boils. They can be red, swollen, painful and have drainage. The infection is spread by skin-to-skin contact or when touching something that has very recently had that bacteria put upon it. Luckily, the MRSA bacteria does not live very long outside of the body.
Our custodial staff utilize products which are effective in destroying the bacteria which causes the MRSA infection. While all surfaces that come into contact with skin are routinely wiped down, the custodial staff uses additional vigilance when an infection has been reported in a particular school. Our administrators and school nurses investigate activities and places where skin –to-skin contact could have occurred and, when deemed appropriate, parents and guardians are notified.
FACTS ABOUT STAPH INFECTIONS: According to the Center for Disease Control, Staphylococcus aureus, or “staph”, are bacteria commonly carried on the skin or in the noses of healthy people. Sometimes staph can cause infections, most of which are minor, and can be treated without antibiotics. However, some staph bacteria can cause serious infections. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, is a type of staph that is resistant to standard antibiotic treatment. MRSA was often found in hospital settings, but since the late 1990’s, community acquired MRSA has been reported. Staph or MRSA causes the skin to be red or swollen, painful, and may or may not have pus or other drainage. Transmission is thought to occur through direct person-to-person contact when open wounds are exposed to bacteria from an infected lesion or from the secretions of people who are carriers. Sometimes Staph or MRSA infections develop from sharing towels and sports equipment, or from contact with infected items or surfaces. Poor hygiene is also a contributing factor in the spread of infection. To date, the best overall strategy is the insistence on strict hygienic practices.
YOUR BEST DEFENSE AGAINST ACQUIRING AND/OR SPREADING STAPH OR MRSA:
- Wash hands frequently using soap and warm water.
- Shower immediately after all athletic practices and competitions.
- Wash all practice gear immediately after game days and frequently after practices (including pads).
- Do not share towels, razors or personal sports equipment.
- Report any skin lesion to parents, school nurse, and coaches to assess severity and course of action. All lesions should be properly bandaged. See your health care provider if you have concerns about a skin lesion.