Dear Dr. Dick,
So, I've got MRSA - well at least my doc said so. I am just frantic and freaking out over it. People say you only get it at hospitals, but then I my friends say it's an STD! What's going on? Is this the new gay disease? I don't have time to deal with this.
Frantic & Freakin'
MRSA [Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus] is an increasingly common cause of skin infection. These infections can affect ANYONE, gay, straight, and kids who haven't even begun having sex.
Although recent research shows that MRSA does affect MSM (men-who-have-sex-with-men) populations, it certainly still affects others. We don't know how specifically most men who have sex with men got it, but it can be pretty easily acquired by skin-to-skin contact, which would include sex, but would also include wrestling and totally safe sex, and use of someone's contaminated towels, or facecloth, or sleeping in someone's bed could also be ways to spread MRSA regardless of population.
These MRSA bacteria are resistant to some of the standard antibiotics, but they are nevertheless quite treatable. Treatment with the antibiotics used to treat the typical staph infections won't work, so providers must suspect a resistant strain of staph, get appropriate cultures, and start the right treatment. And you need to take the treatment just as prescribed, otherwise you're helping these bugs develop additional resistance.
MRSA is typically transmitted through skin-to-skin contact, which occurs during a variety of activities, including SEX. But [pun-intended] this does not mean MRSA is a sexually-transmitted disease or infection.
Early-on a MRSA infection often looks like an angry bite from a spider or some other insect, as the skin is raised, looks reddish, feels warm and may be tender to the touch; but instead of gradually fading like most
bites, it will keep getting bigger until it gets treated. Infections often start around hair follicles, particularly in warm, moist areas and around hair follicles, e.g., in the groin, and pockets of pus may develop. Any growing area like this, especially if associated with a fever or chills, needs immediate medical attention.
You can prevent spreading staph or MRSA skin infections to others
by following these CDC guidelines:
1.Cover your wound. Keep wounds that are draining or have pus covered with clean, dry bandages. Follow your healthcare provider's instructions on proper care of the wound. Pus from infected wounds can contain staph and MRSA, so keeping wounds covered will help prevent the spread to others. Bandages or tape can be discarded with
2.the regular trash.
3.Clean your hands thoroughly and frequently. You, your family, and others in close contact should wash their hands frequently with soap and warm water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially after changing the bandage or touching the infected wounds. If you find yourself feeling the bandages, wounds, or scratching the area, wash you hands, before contaminating someone's skin or some other surface.
4.Do not share personal items. Avoid sharing personal items such as towels, washcloths,
5.razors, clothing, or uniforms that any that may have had contact with infected wounds or bandages. Wash sheets, towels, and clothes that become soiled with water and laundry detergent. Drying clothes in a hot dryer, rather than air-drying, also helps kill bacteria in clothes.
6.Talk to your doctor. Tell any healthcare providers who treat you that you have or had a staph or MRSA skin infection.
Hope this makes your more relaxed & informed, F&F!