As MRSA is present in a dormant state in almost all the people, the intensity and duration of it being contagious, totally depends upon ones’ immunity.
MRSA or Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus is a bacterium which is responsible for MRSA infection, which if not taken care of, can be life-threatening. These bacteria are found in about 20 to 30% of the population but remain in a dormant state. They are found in the nose, mouth, skin, anus, genital parts, etc. They become active in a particular group of people who have a weak immune system. The infection usually starts with a small boil but later it enters the blood vessels, bone, etc., which can be very dangerous. Now you must be thinking is MRSA contagious? Yes, it is contagious and can be spread by individuals. The duration for which it can be contagious depends upon the seriousness of the disease and the medical history of the patient.
How MRSA Spreads and How long is it Contagious
Staphylococcus bacteria is found in people who have a weak immune system. This category may include newborn babies, breastfeeding mothers, people with some kind of skin injuries like surgical incisions, intravenous catheters, etc. People suffering from diabetes, lung disease, vascular disease and cancer are also prone to this infection. MRSA may show symptoms like:
- Skin blisters
- Pain in the infected area
- Formation of pus
MRSA or staph infection is a contagious infection which can spread from one person to another. There are basically two ways you can have staph infection: active infection or carrier. Active Infection means you are infected by the bacteria and you show the symptoms. Whereas, carrier mean you just carry the bacteria but show no symptoms. The bacteria are in the dormant state. They will grow only when they get the favorable conditions. But even when you are carrier, you are contagious. Bacteria from your body can easily infect people with low immunity. Following points will show how MRSA can spread to another person.
- Touching or coming in contact with the person who is suffering from MRSA.
- Coming in contact with the draining or weeping MRSA wound.
- Using the contaminated things of the person suffering from MRSA.
It should be noticed that Staphylococcus aureus is not only resistant to methicillin but there are many other antibiotics like penicillin, oxacillin, etc., which do not work on this bacteria. This makes the treatment difficult. Hence, the doctors prescribe the strongest antibiotic available in the market. Once you are prescribed with some antibiotic, it is very important to complete the course, as skipping even a single dose can make the bacteria resistant and stronger. But how long is MRSA contagious, this will totally depend upon the intensity of the antibiotic and on the immune power of the person. Apart from this, surgeries are conducted for severe wounds in which pus is removed in order to cure the wound. This surgery cannot be conducted on diabetic patients as there are very less chances of healing. After the treatment of MRSA, some people still remain the carrier of this bacteria. Hence, it is always advisable that people who are suffering or have suffered in the past with MRSA should maintain distance from the people who are prone to this infection. You can say, once you are infected by MRSA, you will always be a carrier of this infection. The best option is to take precautions in order to stay away from the infection.
Precautions Against MRSA
If you have MRSA, it is more likely to spread among your family members, friends and closed ones. Hence it is always better to take precautions. Following are some of the precautions that may help you to stay away from MRSA.
- Try to keep distance from the person suffering from staph infection and avoid using their belongings.
- Clean the wounds or injuries properly and apply antibiotic so as to avoid MRSA infection.
- Maintain personal hygiene and keep your surroundings clean.
- If any wound is taking time to heal, contact the doctor before it becomes worse.
- Drink at least 7-8 glass of water daily to get rid of the bacteria from your body.
So, from the above paragraphs we can conclude that the durations for which MRSA is contagious, is difficult to determine, as it can stay in the body for a long period of time or may be till death, but it can be suppressed by taking antibiotics. Many people may have MRSA and it is cured too but it totally depends upon the body’s immune power and its ability to react with the antibiotics which decides for how long it will stay in the body.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.