As the first month of school came to a close, two cases of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus, commonly called MRSA, were confirmed at Carmel High School.
During the Labor Day weekend, janitors disinfected locker rooms to eliminate traces of MRSA bacteria known to develop infections resistant to antiobiotics.
The condition appeared as a skin infection in two student athletes who received care from school athletic trainers affiliated with St.Vincent’s Sports Medicine. Trainers prescribed immediate treatment and recommended the school fog all locker rooms with a product designed to eliminate traces of MRSA.
“MRSA usually presents as a pimple,” Jonathan Schmidt, family physician at Priority Physicians in Indianapolis, said. “What differentiates it from a regular pimple is that MRSA usually will enlarge quickly, over hours.”
Schmidt said the infection presents with surrounding redness and possibly an abscess underneath the skin. “Usually the patient will have discomfort and feel something hard underneath the skin,” he said.
Mayo Clinic’s Website recommends monitoring minor skin problems such as pimples, insect bites, cuts and scrapes, especially in children. If an infection appears, the clinic recommends visiting a doctor and advises against treating MRSA at home.
Prevention measures such as fogging have recently been adopted by hospitals, with nursing homes, clinics and schools considering following their lead. Hospital staff can activate portable ultrasonic sterilization devices to disperse cleaning agents in operating and patient rooms. Most machines build a thick fog which settles into surfaces to eliminate infectious agents, while others use ultraviolet light.
“For environmental cleaning, there is still some debate about the best method,” said Schmidt. “The number one thing that parents and students need to do is wash their hands with soap and warm water.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Website also recommends using disinfectants to clean household surfaces.
“Those are all good precautions,” Schmidt agreed. “I can’t stress enough the importance of washing your hands with soap and warm water though. Regular hand washing can make a huge impact on the spreading of bacteria.”
“The most common mistake I see patients make is trying to pick at, or pop small pimples and sores,” Schmidt said. “This usually does not do any good and only breaks the skin barrier allowing bacteria to enter in the skin.”
EPA-Approved products for protecting household surfaces from MRSA:
Clorox Bleach & Tackle by Clorox
Ebiox Trukleen Wipes, Spray
NP Detergents by Stepan Co.
Thymocide & TOPPS by Wexford Labs