I was a freshman in high school, and the only “skin funk” I’d ever had before was ringworm. It had been about two weeks since wrestling season ended, and there was a weird bump on my face. Thinking it was a pimple, I tried to pop it, but it didn’t behave like a pimple. However, since it was no longer wrestling season, I didn’t think it could possibly be anything bad, and I ignored it. Within two or three days, my face was covered in these weird gooey scabs, and I looked like a rotting pizza.  So I skipped school and went to the doctor. Sure enough, I had Impetigo, which is a form of MRSA. Within two days of treating it, the MRSA was dead, and in about ten days or so, my face finally looked normal again.  I only wish that we didn’t take class pictures that week . . . I’ll never be able to live that picture down!

My senior year of high school, I was doing some preseason work with my wrestling club. I noticed that there was a weird red mark on my forearm that seemed to be under the skin for two days that was getting bigger, but I didn’t know if it was just my imagination or not. Well during this two hour practice to red stripes began to expand down my arm from the center red mark, and at that point I knew that something was up.  Luckily for me, my drilling partner’s father was a doctor, and he diagnosed it to be a staff infection (MRSA) and wrote a prescription, which I got filled before I got home.  If not for him being a doctor, it probably would have taken over my entire arm by the time I got to bed at the rate it was expanding!

As a sophomore in college, I got it again.  This time in my arm pit.  It wasn’t a big deal, I identified it very quickly, but I made one fatal mistake.  I continued to use deodorant!  And I spread it over my whole armpit and transferred it over to the other one as well.  So it took a little longer to heal, but it was barely more than a slight inconvenience for me.

This is my personal experience with MRSA. Unfortunately, if not caught sooner, it can be fatal. MRSA is known as the “super bug” of infections and is resistant to many different types of antibiotics! 880,000 people are infected by MRSA every year and it has a fatality rate of 5%.  Which might not seem like much, but that still means that 20,000 to 40,000 people are dying from this every year!

Most MRSA infections are skin infections that look like a pimple, bump or boil and can be treated with antibiotics. However, it can quickly turn into deep, painful abscesses that require surgical draining if not treated. Sometimes the bacteria remains confined to the skin, but it can also seep into the body, causing potentially life-threatening infections in bones, joints, surgical wounds, the bloodstream, heart valves and lungs. The vast majority of serious infections are linked to health care exposure like hospitals and nursing homes.

MRSA will spread through physical contact with either a person or something you touch.  Conditions that help to spread MRSA include: close skin-to-skin contact; cuts or scrapes in the skin; sharing personal hygiene articles such as razors and towels; and contact with contaminated items including door handles and athletic equipment……So it’s pretty easy to see how it spreads fast amongst wrestlers!

Ways to prevent MRSA:

1.  Pretty simple, wash your hands.

2. Keep cuts and scrapes clean and covered until they are healed.

3. Clean your surroundings: counters, doorknobs, fixtures, phones, remotes,  linens, etc. with a bleach solution.

4. Don’t share silverware, razors, clothing, towels, or bedding and wash objects with soap and hot water.

5. Here’s a little tip for you if you think you may have come in contact with MRSA that I learned from my last story.  Take a shower immediately, but do so in cold water.  If you shower in hot water, your pores will open up, making it easier for the MRSA to seep in and spread!  So shower cold, keep your pores closed, and get that funk off of you!