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What do MRSA infections look like?

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Quick Answer

The skin infection caused by MRSA appears as small red pimples, bumps or boils, with the surrounding area warm, swollen or tender to the touch, according to WebMD. Most MRSA skin infections are mild, but they have the potential to become more serious.

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Full Answer

Left untreated, MRSA skin infections can lead to cellulitis, which is an infection of the deep layers of skin and the tissues that lie under them, notes WebMD. In this case, the skin takes on a sunburned look and is red or pink in color. The skin may also be swollen, tender and warm. Untreated MRSA may also lead to the development of a pus-filled abscess under the skin that requires antibiotic treatment and surgical drainage.

The treatment for an MRSA skin infection may require only draining, cleaning and covering the wound, states WebMD. Because of MRSA’s resistance to traditional antibiotics such as penicillin and amoxicillin, doctors often prescribe drugs such as linezolid, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole or clindamycin to treat the condition. Severe cases of MRSA may warrant the intravenous infusion of Vancomycin.

Doctors advise a patient recuperating from MRSA to take the entire prescribed course of antibiotics, even if symptoms improve, reports WebMD. A patient who stops taking the medication prior to MRSA’s eradication risks allowing the infection to return, and any bacteria left in the body may become immune to the antibiotics used to treat it.

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