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Antibiotic Resistant Staph Infections Spreading Through Schools

Kid at the Gym

Two schools illustrate how easily staph infections can spread, including the antibiotic resistant strain MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus).

Staph infections can live harmlessly on the skin, or, under the right conditions, can rage into a disease that can’t be fought with antibiotics. Heat, sweat, or a weakened immune system are just right for staph infection, and so gyms, where mats come into contact with sweaty skin and tired athletes, can be hotbeds for staph infections.

And gyms are just where the two bacteria outbreaks started: in New York, one high school wrestler battled and overcame the potentially deadly staph infection strain MRSA. In New Mexico, one school district is still dealing with an outbreak that originated in their gym.

The cheerleading squad was the first to be infected, and the school responded quickly to the outbreak shutting done the suspected gym and giving it an intense cleaning, while all 12 infected students (at least one with MRSA) received medical treatment.

Then at least one elementary school student came down with a skin staph infection, identified by the list of staph infection symptoms sent home to parents:

-Watch for boils, pimples, stys, or other sign if infection on the skin, especially if it persists.

-Keep the infected area contained—accidentally ingesting staph infection could lead to a more serious infection, and spreading it to eyes, ears, nose, or genitals can also cause severe complications.

-Hand washing is a must—you protect yourself, and others!

-Clean frequently and disinfect high-risk areas, like gym and yoga mats. Clothes should also be washed regularly; although some think not washing clothes makes them last longer, bacteria and other pathogens from your hair, skin, and body accumulate and grow on unwashed clothes, and can actually wear them down faster (and pose a health risk).

Signs of inflammation (which could precede a more serious staph infection) include redness, swelling, and pain in the affected area.

Update: At least two other cities (Eureka, MO and Long Island, NY) are dealing with the spread of staph, and, more seriously, MRSA in schools.

How should schools handle the growing contagions? Let us know what you think in the comments!

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