The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Skin slithering bacteria attacks

First you notice a small bump that may easily be mistaken for a pimple or a spider bite. It then morphs into a puss pool, oozing from your pores as it rapidly increases in red color and size. Your irritated skin takes on an incredible soreness, overwhelming your body’s sensors. You are infected with Methicillin-Resistance Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA).

Most commonly found on athletes, MRSA develops under the skin as a type of staph infection, which is a rapidly spreading bacterium that can cause damage and, in some instances, death. A small cut or wound on the skin’s surface is all it takes for the infection to transfer.

Usually staph infections can be treated with penicillin, but this particular strain has developed a resistance to a majority of antibiotics and penicillins.

Senior Andrew McClannon, pitcher and captain of Guilford’s baseball team, was informed by his coach, Nick Black, of what precautions to take when dealing with MRSA.

“Coach asks us to avoid the sharing of towels, clothing and uniforms, and to wash (our) hands immediately, since it spreads so easily,” McClannon said. “Since there has already been a case of MRSA on campus, we must take extra precautious.”

If the correct bodily cleansing procedures are not taken, a staph infection can become serious. Junior Courtney Prince has witnessed the severity of this infection first hand.

“One of my friends had gone to sleep with an itchy puss-bump on his hand. Thinking it was a bug bite, he went to bed and by morning his whole arm had turned purple and began to feel tingly and numb,” Prince said. “He was taken to the hospital and was treated for MRSA. He ended up having to have one of his fingers amputated.”

Guilford athletic trainer Kirsten Schrader discussed how easy it is to transfer this severe bacterium.

“Unknowingly, people may be carriers of staph and may pass the infection,” Schrader said. “The simple act of the carrier sneezing on their hand and then shaking someone else’s hand that has an open cut or scrap on it, could transfer the bacteria.”

Schrader also spoke of the safety measures that should be taken to avoid contact with MRSA.

“Do not walk barefoot in any public locker room because blisters on the feet may come in contact with bacterium,” Schrader said. “Also, constantly wash your hands and do not share clothing or towels, and be sure to wash all clothes in hot or bleached water to assure disinfection.”

If one has contracted MRSA, the infection should be kept clean and covered properly, on top of the prescribed 4-10 days of antibiotics.

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