Contracting MRSA

Nurses General Nursing


I contracted Mersa in my hands and fought the initial infection for 6 months. During this time period I was also out of work. Not covered by Workmans Comp. Their view is that I could have contracted it anywhere. The main question I have is has anyone out there had Mersa especially in their hands. Now I have all types of problems with the skin on my hands. I am allergic to almost everything that touches my hands. Latex, soap, any perfumed lotion. I am on Prednisone and have started taking Methatrexate. This has gone on for almost a year. I wear gloves for super sensitive skin and wear cotton gloves when I have skin break down. I believe I contracted the initial infection while having slight contact dermatitis from the keyboard at work while charting. They are not disenfected. Before the infection I would only occasionally have contact dermatitis. If someone else has had similar problems please talk.

Specializes in Education, Acute, Med/Surg, Tele, etc.

Staph Aureus is common, and sadly so is the multi resistant forms. You can get it anywhere really!

When I was younger I got my ears pierced for the first time and I contracted it before it was officially known as MRSA (it was called a pain in the butt to cure in those days! LOL, I am not kidding...a staph hard to kill! MY Dx...uhgggggg!). Found out I got it from the fact the piercer got sick and it was from a food sourse or poor hygiene after rest room and she gave it to me!!! AND 20 other kids!

Contact from secretions...hard one to not get really. Universal precautions my friends! I assume everyone has it and act accordingly! For those out of the healthcare profession..wash hands the RIGHT way (sing happy birthday twice while vigorously scrubbing hands with hot water) after tolieting, sneezing/coughing etc in hands...or touching anything 'human wet and not yours!!!!!! Use of gloves if able is very helpful!

If contracted, you are in need of isolation of that area dependant...depends on area affected! Sorry, but you do!

Specializes in Med/Surg, Ortho.

I have psorisis on my hands/feet and scalp and have to be very careful. As far as i know ive not contracted MRSA however, from what ive been hearing if they cultured nurses most all would be positive as a carrier whether on the skin or nose or whatever. It just depends if you are a suseptable host if you actually get a infection that needs treatment. Ive worked in nursing for 13 years with more broken skin on my hands from the psorisis than not over those years,, but i havent had a infection that i needed to be treated for yet. Ive been lucky, but i probly have it on my skin too,, love the hand sanitizer,, even though it stings like heck.

Hope you get over the infection without having to miss work.

Specializes in L&D.

Well I decided not to say anything in work..mainly because my spot had drained and closed up completely...didnt see any reason to stir anything up. See, I'd have to make a big fuss about Every nurse being cultured if they insisted on doing nose swabs on me. Cause that would only be right...

so Im ok, and I'll be fine. Thanks for replys!

Specializes in Med/Surge, Private Duty Peds.

MRSA is scary stuff and it never fails, we have anywhere from 3-5 pts at at time where I work and on top of that VRE, HIV and CMV. I see docs touching these pt and not washing there hands , so this means we can pick these things up anywhere.

To help reduce that, I use hand sanitizer before, after and during all contact. Then wash my hands before and after and even will use peroxide on my hands, One can never be to careful with this stuff.

I just got a phone call from my doctor. I went to him about a week ago because I had a "boil" under my arm. It started as a spot almost like a bite, and I remember itching it at work under my scrubs. As it progressed bigger and bigger I did what all good nurses do........I tried to drain it lol. Anyway, after developing a really nasty hot spot, the redness was traveling bigger and bigger around the area. I could hardly keep my arm down against it. I finally gave it up and went in to see my doc. I was afraid he would want to lance it and I'm a big baby when I'm stuck with a knife! Well thats what he did..aghh. Then he started me on antibiotics...clindamycin, and sent me on my way. It wasn't really getting any better til 2 days ago. I had our wound care nurse look at it on the side at work, and she commented..."O you have a staph infection",,,gave me some dressings to take home to use and didnt seem too concerned. At the end of my 12 hr day I came home and found my would had finally drained...loads.

To make a long story short, the doc says I have mrsa. I can't believe it but then again I can. I deal with lots of old people with nasty wounds, and yes, mrsa among other nastys. BTW, my wound is really much better. Pain is gone, but I still have a hard lump under the skin. He changed my antibiotic to doxyclycline and I'll start that tomorrow.

Now. He advised me to speak with my infection control team. Will they send me home? And is it necessary? Wouldn't it be fine as long as my would has a dressing on it? Do I really need to share this with my hospital? See, I strongly believe the only reason a hospital does NOT test their nurses for mrsa thru nose swabs ect, is that if they DID they would find most..or a large portion of them with the disease collonized.

So..what do I do here?

I read your scenerio and I can really relate. I was bitten by a brown recluse spider more than once at the base of my head approximately on the area above the brain stem. It had to be lanced. The infection had honeycombed throughout the entire back of my head but seemed to go away 6 months later I was admitted to the hospital after the left side of my face blew up like cyclops half sister. There was a oozing area that above the left eye, I was admitted for 7 days and given antibiotic but told only I had an infection. I knew that much. Was given morphine. Once home had more of the outbreaks under my arm. No doctor told me the diagnosis of mersa not until I went to Los Angeles and spoke to a P.A. was I told it was mersa. I have outbreaks it seems when I get upset and they too have the hard ball under the skin. I went to Seattle there I saw a very good doctor that knew immediately what it was and the meds that would be needed. I was given bactrim for the immediate infection but was given MUPIROCIN .2% ointment to be applied to nares twice daily for 5 days every month to prevent the colonization of the staph. Maybe this is something that you can look into because it seems to be working for me with no further outbreaks. Good luck.

Specializes in Nurse Scientist-Research.

I would hesitate to share this with the hospital.

I have knowledge of several hospital's policies for if an employee tests positive for MRSA. They vary quite a bit. Some require the employee to resign or change units. Some allow the employee receive treatment and return to work.

I would make sure to protect myself. Ask your physician how many days of treatment you need to take off work to be safe around patients. If the wound is under clothing, a dressing may all that's needed to protect your patients. Make sure to ask about bactroban treatment to prevent colonization. I'm not recommending it or giving medical advise, but it's something to be aware of and discuss with your physician.

And remember; you have HIPAA rights.

My Dr. has let me work with the MRSA in my eyes. I chose to stay out this week from another part time job so I could keep putting the eye drops in every 30 minutes. Dr. said the only reason I have it is that it was splashed in my eyes from a JP drain popping open. I have spent hours and hours researching MRSA in the last few days and I can tell you that almost all of us would test positive. But some hospitals dont care what your Dr says, they will either get rid of you or keep you out of work. Yet, they wont cover you with Workers comp. I was told once by a Dr that a nurse should not be tested for MRSA as they could lose their job despite the fact everyone else probably has it too. If anyone out there knows anything about MRSA in the eyes, please let me know. There is so little research on it that even the Eye Docs dont know much about it.

I have recently developed a MRSA infection that was next to my Left eye. It began as a red bump and turned into a abscess. That thing hurt so bad. I was placed on bactrim. I am a WOCN nurse. (Wound, Ostomy and Continence) I am constantly working with patients who have MRSA in their wounds and follow strict handwashing and infection control. I have had several cases where I see patients who are not diganosed when I intially see them but when I have a follow-up they are now in isolation for MRSA. I have not been able to return to work because my work requires 3 negative cultures and I have not been able to get 3 negatives yet. I have been out of work for a month because of this. I began Bactroban and hoping this will help. I have only been at my job for 3 months. I have been terminated due to their policy because I only have 2 weeks of short term disability. Workers comp was denied of course because I cannot prove it. I am told I can reapply for my job once I have 3 negative cultures. I was wondering if anyone knows of any protection for nurses out there who acquire MRSA. I have found that California association of nurses is acting on this. I live in Pennsylvania and have not been able to find anything for my state. It is very scary to find out that there is no protection for me and that I have lost my job over this.I never in a million years thought I could get terminated for something like this. I am worried about this happening again. I am a healthy 31 year old with no medical history and never thought something like this could happen to me. I just recently got back into direct patient care and its scary out there. Any input would be greatly appreciated. If anyone knows of any cases that were won. I am seeking to appeal my workers comp and seeking an attorney. I can only find articles for protection of patients which is great but what about protection for the healthcare workers?

Specializes in ER, Urgent care, industrial, phone triag.

The gossip, rumor and fright surrounding MRSA colonization and infection in nurses is apalling ot me. It should not be this way. On Friday I am going to particiapte in an OSHA conferrence call as a representative of the Consumers Union. I am a MRSA advocate and activist.

I am going to print out some of these letters, from this thread and use them, without names, as a representation of the fear that nurses experience of 1. contraction MRSa on the job, 2 getting tested and losing their jobs if they are positive, even though they contracted in the hospital, 3. the fact that nurses are never automatically given workmans comp when they develop an infection or colonization after a known exposure to patients with MRSA.

Also the idea of nurses refusing screening....this can put the nurse at risk. If they are going to have a high risk procedure, screening allows for decolonization, and appropriate preoperative antibiotics. Also, if a nurse is conlonized, he/she should be isolated in order to avoid spread of disease. Without screening, the nurse puts themselves at risk and others as well. MRSA colonization is contagious.

My belief is that CDC recommendations must be changed to put focus on prevention of MRSA, rather than having recommendations that are only used AFTER an outbreak. If patients are screened (results within 3 hours with PCR testing) and the MRSA status is known, then Isolation with contact precautions begin quickly after admission....exposures to MRSA for employees, families, and visitors would drop dramatically.

Please, if anyone has suggestions or concerns regarding HCWs exposure to MRSA and or other biohazards, please respond to this post and I will present it during my call.


Specializes in Peds, PACU, ICU, ER, OB, MED-Surg,.

If it is a confirmed MRSA you have to report it to your manager.

Specializes in Operating Room Nursing.

Hugs to you.

I had MRSA in my buttcheek, had a depo ralovera shot, turned into an abscess and I required surgery. My workplace treated me like a leper and no one seemed to know what to do, I was given conflicting information and it was so frustrating. After much screaming, swearing and threats and weeks of no work a new policy was developed on nursing staff with MRSA.

On the plus side if I have to be admitted to a public hospital I get a single room. To be cleared we need three consecutive MRSA swabs and so far no one has approached me to do this and I'm not volunteering.... I don't want to have to share a room!

Good luck with your treatment and if it's any consolationmost of us who work in health probably have it.

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