August 22, 2017

What We Should Know About MRSA and our Kids

MRSA and KidsI’m excited about writing this next article, because its about a certain bacteria (and I’m always excited about bacteria!): The now-famous microbe: Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, better known to us as MRSA.

Why am I writing about this you may say? Well, if you have kids, this is a great bug to learn about and pass on what we learn to our little dirt-loving cherubs.

Most bacteria are harmless, and even beneficial while others cause mild illness that our immune systems can handle. But this is a little punch of a microbe. MRSA is so called because it is resistant to methicillin, a relative of penicillin, one of the modified drugs that we have used to kill it, as well as amoxicillin, penicillin itself, and oxacillin (among others). How did it get resistant? By the overuse and misuse of the antiobiotics that originally killed it. Staphylococcus aureus, or staph, is all around us. Healthy people carry staph on their bodies and are not infected by it. 25-30% of us have staph in our noses.

But once it gets into our body, through a cut, puncture, abrasion, etc., that’s when it causes problems.

It is the most common skin infection seen today in emergency rooms. People with MRSA infections on their skin sometimes think they have been bitten by a spider because it starts out as a red, swollen spot, and becomes a painful boil or abscess. The pus from this area contains MRSA bugs and is contagious. Staph bacteria are commonly found in the human groin, nose, throat, and armpit regions.

Under the microscope, staph looks like round grape clusters (“cocci”) and these little buggers contain alpha toxins which adds to their virulence (strength).

Okay, blah, blah, blah……..what does this mean to us? They basically eat our body tissues. The bacteria actually communicate with each other through a “quorum sensing system” and get together to party down at our expense!

Someone with a normal immune system can survive minor infections, but if left unchecked, these guys can kill. If staph gets into your circulatory system, lungs, etc., your chances of survival are decreased.

While we of course are never happy about a bacterial infection, none of us want to be “immunulogically naive”. It is thought that being exposed to certain pathogens sparks our immune systems to recognize and fight these bugs, thus the basis for immunizations. But at the same time we want to arm ourselves with knowledge (as well as good health insurance) in case some of these bugs start to get the better of us. They are microscopically tiny and are everywhere, and we are in their midst on a daily basis. And it seems the more we try to kill them, the stronger they get. So we can start keeping these guys at bay with good old-fashioned hand washing.

Bottom line folks, if you have an abscess that isn’t getting better on its own, get to the doctor pronto. And as far as our little ones go, always keep an eye on any infection, no matter how small it may seem. Our kids mingle with other kids, and aren’t aware they may be passing on virulent bacteria. Today, with drug-resistant bugs like MRSA, hand washing is paramount. Teaching our kids to wash their hands, just like we teach them to brush their teeth, can instill life-long healthy habits for them.

REFERENCES:

Antimocrobial (drug) Resistance: Methilicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA)/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease.

Wallin TR, et al.: Community -Associated Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus/Emergency Medicine Clinics of North America

Direct Quantitative Transcript Analysis of the agr Regulon of Staphylococcus Aureus during Human Infection in Comparison to the Expression Profile In Vitro/Christian Goerke, SIlvia Compana, Manfred G. Bayer, Gerg Doring, Konrad Botzenhard, Christine Wolz.

Could you use some parenting help?

One tool that we’ve used is Total Transformation by James Lehman. It’s given us a lot of solid, common sense ideas for parenting our challenging children.

About the author: By

Kris is wife to Robert and mom to Gabriel, a wonderful little boy. She enjoys animals, especially horses, and likes to write about children, pets, and other things close to her heart!

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Comments

  1. Very informative post. I don’t know this bacteria and its really scary. Making our body strong and healthy is really needed to fight all kinds of infection. Most important thing is, Consult a doctor right away.
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