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3. Transmission among young athletes is prevalent
According to the National Athletic Trainers' Association, skin diseases accounted for 56% of all infectious diseases in competitive sports from 1922 through 2005. Athletes tend to share things like equipment and towels, and children engaged in high-contacts sports inevitably receive cuts, bruises and scrapes, which act as potential entryways for serious bacterial infections.
Last year, the association issued a position statement on skin disease among athletes warning that after a bacterial infection, they should not be allowed to return to a game until they complete a 72-hour course of antibiotic therapy and the infection has been completely drained. The CDC offers more prevention information and advice specifically for athletes on its website.
4. Treatment for MRSA not always the first option
Romano, a professor of pediatrics at the University of California, Davis, says that when a child has an infection, doctors do not always start with a prescription that works against MRSA bacteria. In communities experiencing high MRSA rates, pediatricians may automatically default to medications that fight the bacteria, but they may choose not to in communities where there hasn't been an outbreak.
If someone in your home or another child in your child's school recently had a MRSA infection, alert a doctor, as it may be worth asking up front for a broader-spectrum antibiotic. Pages 12-15 of the Infectious Diseases Society of America's Clinical Practice Guidelines list the treatment recommendations for adults and children based on their symptoms. Return to the pediatrician as soon as possible if within 48 hours you do not notice less swelling or redness, or if the infected area remains warm, Romano advises.
5. Bleach baths and proper cleaning can help prevent spread
If you have several children, and one of them has developed a MRSA infection, you want to keep the spread to a minimum. Experts say to keep the infected area covered with a bandage until it heals.
The Willmans took the recommendation of an infectious disease specialist and gave their daughter a bleach bath using about a half-cup of bleach in about 13 gallons of water, a few times a week. There is the potential for skin irritation if the mixture is not diluted properly.