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A couple months ago I became positive for MRSA, I am about to be 19 in March. I got it when I moved in with my Step mom, dad, and brother. I moved in around the beginning of August. My step mom has had it for 6 years and so has my brother. I never knew exactly what it was until now. I am afraid of dying from this, and spreading it to my boyfriend and the rest of my family. I have to get medication tonight because I currently have an outbreak under my arm and have 8 of them formed. I only had 2 last night but when I woke up there were more. Over the last couple weeks I have found myself becoming more tired as the days go on. I’m going to bed around 8 and still find myself falling asleep at work, and I have been feeling really sick lately, and the MRSA hurts really badly. Everyone is worried about me and has been treating me like a walking disease. I understand they are afraid to catch it but I am taking precautions. But I don’t think my step mom truly understands the issue with MRSA. They wash all of the laundry together and use the same towels. I had gotten rid of it, and had been doing my own laundry until recently when my step mom washed my clothes with hers. Now I have an outbreak. My boyfriends aunt’s aunt just died last week of a staph infection, and his older sister has MRSA and another disease (I don’t know what) and just found out last night that she has only days to live. I have been reading up on this online and have heard of deaths from this. What can I do to find out how serious mine is and if it is spreading internally? And what can I do to prevent it being spread to other people.

MRSA is otherwise known as methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus. The bacteria is believed to have evolved resistance to the first few generations of antibiotics and is responsible for several difficult-to-treat infections – especially in the immunocompromised or elderly.

People can have MRSA colonization or MRSA infections. MRSA colonization is a result of having MRSA growing on your skin, nasal cavities, etc. without it causing the patient any undue stress – this is not an active infection. A MRSA infection on the other hand is characterized by fever, chills, cough, sometimes pustules and pimples. MRSA infections are life threatening and can potentially kill patients if untreated.

It appears from your question that you are colonized with MRSA and are having sores appear under your arms. To address the sores under your arms, one recommendation patients have found helpful is to avoid the use of antiperspirants and instead use only deodorants. Antiperspirants can increase the chance of sores under your arms by preventing you from sweating and clogging your pores where bacteria can grow.

MRSA rarely spreads and colonizes the blood in healthy patients – usually that occurs in patients who are immunocompromised, the very young, or the elderly. Treatment for MRSA is now usually with vancomycin in those patients who require oral or IV antibiotics.

The standard precautions to prevent spread of MRSA to others include standard hygiene techniques such as washing hands, covering your mouth when sneezing, cleaning surfaces and bathrooms and especially avoiding contact with infants, the elderly, or the immunocompromised. Precautions differ based on your colonization status so you should check with your doctor.

Signs that you have a serious infection include fever, chills, fatigue, etc. Either way, you should be evaluated by your main doctor to see how bad your infection is and treatment options based on your infection status.