An MRSA staph infection is a strain of staph tenchnically known as the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Staph bacteria are resilient and come in many strains; MRSA is the most resistant. Treating MRSA can be difficult, as the strain continues to evolve and become uniquely resistant to specific medications, depending on the patient. Remember the best treatment is always prevention–washing your hands frequently is the number one rule!
Since MRSA is highly difficult to fight, your doctor will first look at what types of antibiotics you have taken previously. This is because, the more you have taken antibiotics in your life for conditions such as chronic bronchitis or ear infections, the chances are your infection will be resistant to these and not respond to treatment. Tetracycline is a common antibiotic that is prescribed, but it will not be given to young children because it can lead to permanent tooth discoloration. Your doctor will explore sulfa-based medications such as Bactrim or Sepra which are very effective but not suitable for everyone, as some people can have a serious allergic reaction to sulfa medications. Other antibiotics used are clindamycin, linezolid or vancomycin. If you are not responding to treatment, your doctor may try another course of antibiotics. Always complete your prescription unless directed by your doctor to stop.
Many forms of MRSA are found on the skin and can be treated topically. In some cases your doctor may prescribe oral antibiotics in a cream to help eradicate the MRSA as quickly as possible. Those who are allergic to sulfa medications may be able to use a sulfa-based cream, but should look out for any allergic reaction such as skin swelling, rash or discoloration. There are also nasal swabs that help eradicate any infection or colonization. Some people may not actually be infected, but be carriers of MRSA. To reduce the chances of infecting others or increasing the risk of self-infection, your doctor may take measures to kill the colonization. More than 20 percent of the population carries the staph bacteria, but those who are in close proximity to someone with an MRSA staph infection are at increased risk.
Some MRSA infections become quite serious. Once MRSA is found in the heart or bones, it may be necessary to be more aggressive with antibiotic treatments. This may mean that a patient receives antibiotic treatments intravenously, either in the hospital or at home. Your doctor will determine what is the best course of action for you. One of the reasons medical providers are reluctant to admit MRSA infection patients into the hospital is that it is a prime place to spread the infection. In fact, MRSA was once something most people considered as a hospital-borne infection. Now we know that you can get this from sharing razors, towels and makeup.
One of the ways to fight a skin infection or colonization is to use a bleach bath. Add 1/4 cup of household bleach to a hot bath in a tub that is 3/4 full. This will kill the staph bacteria on your skin or in your anal cavity. This is recommended not only for patients who are infected, but for family members who may be exposed to the bacteria through household items. It is additionally important to use bleach when washing towels and bedding to prevent recurrence and further infection.
With so many people being affected by a bacteria that is increasingly resistant to antibiotic treatment, there has been much research about other medications to help fight MRSA. Manchester Metropolitan University has conducted clinical trials using a tea tree oil-yeast blend to fight MRSA. The results are positive. If you use tea tree oil, be sure to talk to your doctor about your condition, as fans of homeopathic remedies should not dismiss medical advice.