Treatment of MRSA Infections
Treatment of MRSA will vary by the type and location of infection.
Treatment for MRSA skin infections may include having a healthcare professional drain the infection and, in some cases, prescribe an antibiotic. Do not attempt to treat an MRSA skin infection by yourself; doing so could worsen or spread it to others. This includes popping, draining, or using disinfectants on the area. If you think you might have an infection, cover the affected skin, wash your hands, and contact your healthcare provider.
If you are given an antibiotic, be sure to take all of the doses (even if the infection is getting better), unless your healthcare professional tells you to stop taking it. Do not share antibiotics with other people or save unfinished antibiotics to use at another time.
If within a few days of visiting your healthcare provider the infection is not getting better, contact them again. If other people you know or live with get the same infection tell them to go to their healthcare provider.
It is possible to get repeat infections with MRSA. If you are cured of an infection, you do not become immune to future infections. Therefore, personal prevention steps are key.
For more information about MRSA in the community, read Strategies for Clinical Management of MRSA in the Community: Summary of an Experts’ Meeting Convened by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (March 2006) [PDF 280KB/24 pages].
Treatment and other special advice for:
Treating MRSA Skin Infections
Incision and drainage constitutes the primary therapy for these purulent skin infections. Empiric antimicrobial coverage for MRSA may be warranted in addition to incision and drainage based on clinical assessment (e.g., presence of systemic symptoms, severe local symptoms, immune suppression, extremes of patient age, infections in a difficult to drain area, or lack of response to incision and drainage alone).
Antibiotic treatment, if indicated, should be guided by the susceptibility profile of the organism. Obtaining specimens for culture and susceptibility testing is useful to guide therapy, particularly for those with more severe infections and those who fail to respond adequately to initial management.
MRSA skin infections can develop into more serious infections. It is important to discuss a follow-up plan with your patients in case they develop systemic symptoms or worsening local symptoms, or if symptoms do not improve within 48 hours.
Printable Poster, Flyer, and Pocket Card
Outpatient Management of Skin and Soft Tissue Infections (SSTIs) Downloadable and printable materials to assist clinicians evaluating and treating skin and soft tissue infections in the era of community- associated MRSA.
Additional Reading: Abscess Incision and Drainage Fitch ME, Manthey DE, McGinnis HD, Nicks BA, Pariyadath M. Abscess Incision and Drainage. NEJM Videos in Clinical Medicine;359:e20. November 8, 2007
Treating Severe MRSA Infections
For severe infections, consider consulting with an infectious disease specialist. Treatment may include surgical or antimicrobial interventions.
Check the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) website for the latest MRSA treatment guidance.
Contact your facility’s infection preventionist or your local/state health department.
MRSA is reportable in several states. The decision to make a particular disease reportable to public health authorities is made by each state, based on the needs of that individual state. To find out if MRSA is reportable in your state, contact your state health department.