Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA)
“Staph” bacteria are a common cause of skin infections. When certain antibiotics don’t kill the staph bacteria, it means the bacteria have become resistant to those antibiotics. Resistant staph bacteria are called MRSA. MRSA skin infections may present as an abscess, impetigo, boil, “turf/rug burn” or an open wound. The infection is often mistaken for a spider bite. Symptoms can include fever, redness, warmth, swelling, drainage, and tenderness at the site. If students don’t feel well and have any of these symptoms, it is best for them to stay home and see their licensed health care provider.
Snohomish Health District has shared with us that although MRSA is an important health issue, most illnesses caused by MRSA are treatable skin infections that heal with proper wound care, sometimes without requiring antibiotics. Even in severe cases, most patients respond to commonly available antibiotics.
MRSA is primarily spread through contact with the bacteria, either by direct person-to-person contact or indirectly through shared equipment, personal articles/objects or contaminated surfaces. Examples of shared objects include drinking containers, towels, soap, razors, clothing, and athletic equipment.
In addition to our regular cleaning procedures, the following precautions are in place for our student athletes that are involved in contact sports, especially wrestling:
- Prior to each practice, mats are sprayed with a disinfectant engineered to kill Staph.
- Student athletes are instructed to take their gear home every day and wash it thoroughly prior to the next day’s practice.
- Student athletes are to shower daily prior to as well as after practice.
- Student athletes with any open skin lesions or soft tissue lesions are not allowed to participate until cleared to do so by a doctor.
- Additional information about MRSA can be found on the Snohomish Health District website or on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.