We’ve all heard about it on the news or read the headlines on the front page of Google–MRSA Strikes Again! Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus, aka MRSA, the antibiotic resistant superbug that has plagues hospitals and nursing homes for years is now a common complaint amongst schools, grocery stores, and public places everywhere. But what does MRSA look like? How do you know that the ant bite on your leg isn’t really MRSA? Is that just a spider bite gone bad? These are all questions that quickly arise when the MRSA headlines are on the rise again–the answers: You have to know what you are looking for and be tested!
What does MRSA look like? A bug, a bite, a boil, a pimple, acne, there are so many different ways that you could describe MRSA and yet not any two infections will look identical. MRSA, when you can see it, looks like a boil in most cases. A large inflamed area of the skin that has puss and other bodily fluids oozing from it. But be careful–the infection that makes its way outside of the skin is extremely contagious and can be passed around like the plague!
See, the thing is, we all have MRSA on our skin. The bacteria that is present to cause a staph infection at any given time lingers and we are all carriers. What happens is that you carry the infection as does your neighbor, coworker, the cashier at the grocery store, and even the mailman. So why do some of us end up with a massive boil protruding from our skin about to explode at any given moment? The answer is that different strains of the antibiotic resistant superbug known as MRSA will enter through cuts, scrapes, nicks, or even bites that we scratch and cause an infection.
The MRSA will initially look like a small bite. It will be red and usually look just like an ant bite. Give it a few days though and that little bite that you blew off as no big deal could turn into a mass under the skin that burns with every touch and is just waiting for the infection to be released. Problem is, once the infection is released from the skin it is 1,000 times more likely to be passed on to someone else! That little, teeny, tine ant bite that was no big deal, now has caused a boil the size of a quarter on your leg and the infection has spread to say one of your kids! That’s the Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus bacteria for you!
What’s worse? MRSA often is invisible! That’s right, the boil that you got on your leg and had tested only to find that it was a strain of MRSA is actually the least of your worries! If you have a MRSA infection that you can’t see, such as one that creates a mass on your lung you are in even more danger. A MRSA infection on your lung can cause the lung to collapse, a hole to form if the boil or mass on the lung bursts, and in turn–YOU CAN’T BREATHE! That’s right, now you have an infection on the lung, you can’t see it, you don’t know it’s there and all of a sudden, You can’t breathe!
SO, What does MRSA Look Like? MRSA doesn’t always “look” like anything! Sometimes it looks like an ant bite, or a spider bite, or even a pimple. But sometimes, the antibiotic resistant staph infection we all know as MRSA isn’t visible at all!