Are you sure that’s a pimple?
Like a lot of teens, my son had trouble with acne until dermatologist started him on an oral medication. It worked like a charm. He still gets a pimple or two when he’s stressed out but that’s it.
A few weeks ago he mentioned that he was getting a pimple on his nose but I knew he was scrambling to get a few assignments turned in before the grading period ended so I didn’t think much about it. Later that day he said it was a little sore and it looked like a large acne related cyst.
If you’ve ever had one you know they’re sore to the touch and very annoying.
The next morning it was even bigger and he said it was really hurting so I decided to take him to see the dermatologist. Luckily, they could see him the next day.
After looking at it, the dermatologist said draining the cyst would be the best bet. She was quick and he got through it but it looked super, super painful. He told me later that if he had known how much that was going to hurt he’d have let her numb it first.
They got a sample to send to the lab but opted to start him on some antibiotics since the cyst was so close to his eyes and sinuses and said they’d be in touch if the lab found anything abnormal. At the time, I thought getting a sample was kind of odd, but I’m so glad they did!
It could be MRSA…
The doctor said she would only call me if the lab results were abnormal so I knew something was wrong when she called me at 8:02 am two days later. But I was shocked to hear that what we thought was just a pimple was actually a staph infection and even worse-it was MRSA.
I’m not sure what I thought a Staph infection looked like but it never occurred to me that it might look like acne. Did y’all know that?
(FYI- I also found out that a Staph infection can also look like a boil or a spider bite.)
I asked the doctor where he might have gotten MRSA and she said that they see MRSA infections all the time these days and there’s really no telling where he actually picked it up. School was her best guess.
After I got off the phone with the doctor, I went into research mode. I checked out the CDC and the Mayo Clinic and a few other sites to understand more about MRSA and how it is spread.
Then I scrubbed my house from top to bottom. I’m thinking about buying stock in Clorox. Between Staph and what they’re saying about this year’s flu, it would be a solid investment.
What exactly is MRSA?
MRSA is short for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. It is a particularly dangerous strain because it is resistant to some classes of antibiotics.
How is MRSA spread?
MRSA is spread by touching a contaminated surface and is often found in schools and daycare centers and crowded workplaces. The doctor told me that faucets, playgrounds, door handles/knobs, and grocery carts handles are all common ways for MRSA to spread through communities. Scary stuff.
How can you avoid MRSA?
- Wash your hands often.
- Don’t share personal items with others
- Keep cuts and scrapes covered.
- Disinfect surfaces whenever possible.
How can you tell difference between MRSA and cystic acne?
According to the CDC, symptoms of Staph infections, including MRSA, are:
- Warm to the touch
- Full of pus or other drainage
- Accompanied by a fever
My kid didn’t have a fever and neither of us noticed the cyst being warm to the touch so don’t assume it isn’t MRSA just because you don’t have each symptom. Go see a doctor if you’re concerned about a bump or a bite. MRSA can be dangerous or even fatal.
For more information please check the CDC website.
Please note I am not a doctor and nothing here should be taken as medical advice. If you are concerned that you or a loved one might have MRSA please see a doctor.