Fighting Staph Infections

Fighting Staph Infections
By: Crystal Britt
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. - Staph infections are on the rise.  Thursday Heartland News told you how Chaffee High School is battling some cases of staph.
It's not just Chaffee though, several schools are dealing with the same problems.
"It seems to be becoming much more prominent every week," said nurse practioner Paul Mackey.
That's right every week!  Mackey says he sees six to 10 cases a day. 
People normally think of staph being in places like hospitals or nursing homes, but doctors say it's bigger than that.  You're going to find it at your child's school, the grocery store, you name it."
Staph isn't immediately diagnosed. First the spider bite like wound is swabbed.  Then it's sent to the lab.

"We would take the swab and we put it onto an auger plate," said Ruth Masterson, a microbiology specialist. "We have to streak it out to spread out the growth of the organism."

Then it takes 24 hours to get results.  After that even more tests.  Then they check to see which antibiotic will attack the bacteria best.
"The main problem we're facing today is there are some strains that are resistant to most antibiotics," Mackey said.
Health care workers say MRSA is a strain that's invading our communities.
"Unfortunately we've been seeing a lot of it," Masterson said.
So how do we get staph?
"People carry it.  They may carry it in their nasal passages, unfortunately that's how it gets spread a lot of times," she said.
The staph problem started in the boys locker room at Chaffee High School.  Doctors say that's a perfect breeding ground for the bacteria.
There are a lot of different theories as to why the Heartland is seeing so many cases.
"The organisms as time progresses they mutate and they change and they become more resistant," Masterson said.

So bottomline, it's out there. If you get it, get to the doctor and quick, because staph infections can be life threatening.  Often times staph will look like a spider bite, or a wound that just won't heal.  It's highly contagious, the sore needs to be covered and you must get on antibiotics.

As for prevention, good hygiene.  Doctors can't stress good handwashing enough.  Don't let kids share things at school like towels or deoderant even athletic equipment.