Anyone else "caught" MRSA?

  1. I've worked as a CNA in a NH for two years and am taking nursing pre-req's. About two weeks ago I got what I thought were shingles on my inner thigh. Long story short, things got nasty and it turns out I have MRSA. The medical assistant didn't give me much information and when I asked if it were curable she just laughed and said no, but to keep HER posted on how it looked. I took Bactrim and am now taking Doxycycline. I'm very confused and a little scared. I've heard how serious MRSA is and I know patient's have died from having it in their lungs/blood. Is this likely to happen to me? Can I give it to someome else by kissing or other casual contact? Exactly how common is this among healthcare providers? Has anyone been able to get rid of it??
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    About Julie frm Dallas

    Joined: Feb '05; Posts: 21; Likes: 1
    CNA/Medical Records Adm.
    Specialty: 3 year(s) of experience in Long-term care


  3. by   Nurse1966
    Welcome to healthcare! You (and most of the rest of us) are likely to be colonized with MRSA for, well, forever. You can be treated with muciprin (sp?) but studies show it'll just recur. It won't be a serious health problem as long as you remain healthy. MRSA really likes the nares, so be careful when you sneeze. Wash your hands, use alcohol foam, and spray with lysol. Also, 20 minutes in a hot dryer will kill it. Yes, it can be spread through casual contact. I've seen where a guy had an abscess on his belly and his wife had a matching one on her belly...The CDC website's got great info, also go talk to your infection control person. If you've got open wounds, you may want to talk to employee health. MRSA is a growing problem and we just need to be aware...good luck.
  4. by   loquacity
    what do you mean by most of us will be colonized by MRSA. Do you mean it will simply become a part of our natural, normal microorganism flora that everyone has. I can see small levels of MRSA becoming a part of most healthcare workers natural flora, but if you are talking that most of us will get a rash like infection the OP is talking about, then im serously freaked out. Thats not normal, or at least i havn't heard of it being refered to being normal!?!?
    Im confused! ~L

    PS. First day of med surg clinical not being on a buddy shift psyched...yet must lookup what seems like an entire medical enclopedias worth of info tonight.
    Last edit by loquacity on Nov 6, '06
  5. by   Cosper123
    lol yep get used to it.

    It simply is not a question of if, it is when. If everyone took the care that they could, it wouldn't be a problem...but hell...I've seen people go in and not foam out, use the same equipment for a MRSA as another (like when doing morning vitals for example), etc.

    It just takes one person to not do things properly and EVERYTHING becomes a fomite (or at least has the potential to).

    But remember that MRSA is trasmitted via contact. Sooooo...wash your hands every time before eating, preparing food, touching your eyes or mouth, etc. Shower at work at shift's end, bag up those scrubs and take them home to be laundered right away. And even with such precautions, you're still at a high risk.

    Fact is that it is nearly impossible to keep from getting it...but hey you limit the chances with proper hygeine which you should be doing anyhow.
  6. by   kenny b
    Perhaps I'm being a bit naive, but I would hope that this would be one of the first things covered (in depth) in nursing school (or even the pre-nursing informational sessions).
    Thank you for the post. I'm glad that I heard about it and it sounds like you'll be able to manage it. Heck! Chin-up! Genetic research is going to cure everything one day!
  7. by   CoffeeRTC
    10 or so years ago when I was in nursing school, I sat in the front of my micro biology class. I was alway the guinie (sp) pig. When I got my nares cultured, it came back positive for MRSA. At that time it was a newer bug. Does that mean I've been sick for the last 10 years? No. Never,except for the minor colds....well, last two years I've gotten pneumonia and strep for the first time,but I place the blame on my kids bringing home the germs from school. LOL.
    I also work in a nursing home and have been exposed to MRSA, VRE, C Diff, HIV pts etc.
    Take good care of yourself and use universal precautions with everyone.

    Once the wounds heal, you will always be colonized and might have reoccurances.
  8. by   Noryn
    The above poster's symptoms go beyond colonization to an actual infection. Is a MRSA infection curable? Yes it is. Bactrim and Vancomycin are used to treat it. Hospitals and infection control personnel have long stood by the phrase, "MRSA wont affect you if you are healthy." This may have had limited truth to it at one time however now we are seeing new strains of MRSA that are being acquired in the community, especially school and gyms. It is termed C-MRSA and is causing infections especially skin infections in everyone including the "healthiest population" which would be younger athletes.

    Basically there are 2 different terms that you need to be familar with which are colonization and infection. Colonization simply means the bacteria are present but are not causing an infection. Infection of course is when the bacteria start to cause symptoms. We are colonized with many different types of bacteria and would be unable to live without some of these. The problem is that when some of these bacteria get moved around then it can cause problems. For example the bacteria on our skin or in our intestines can kill us if it gets in our blood stream and overcomes our immune system.

    I think a lot of people forget or downplay our body and immune system, it can kill MRSA and also has defense mechanisms to keep MRSA out of certain areas like our lungs and bladder. For the most part the people that die from MRSA are already sick and have numerous ways for MRSA to get in such as IV sites and endotracheal tubes.

    So many healthcare workers are colonized with MRSA, it lives in their nares without causing many problems. You can be treated for colonization, but again it tends to reocurr. There is actually a large percentage of the general population now who are colonized with it. It can be spread by contact hence when you come home you need to shower and wash your hands often.
  9. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    Excellent post, noryn.
  10. by   babbsrn
    Noryn-thanks for the detailed info...Julie-Unfortunately I too have been plagued with MRSA, and I was a bit freaked out at first. It started as an abcess, then I developed another and became very suspicious because I work for a surgeon, and I know what these MRSA abcesses look like..and the cultures come back positive..Reluntantly started treatment (because I was in denial)..Life goes does appear to be getting into the community..There was recently an outbreak where I live among the high school football players. I am just glad that they received some education about it, because they apparently were all being checked head to toe for "suspicious abcesses or wounds" before even dressing for practice, and were not allowed to play if anything was found on them...I do wonder sometimes though, how, specifically at what moment I failed to break the chain and get infected myself...I have always been careful about washing my hands, etc. but I am definitely more deligent about it now..I will never know where it came from, but hopefully it will remain supressed.