What is a Pressure Ulcer (AKA Pressure sore)?

shutterstock_89421025bed-soresPhoto credit:  http://diseasespictures.com/bedsores/

A patient came in to see me today with a sore on his heel that’s been bothering him for the past few months.  He’s diabetic and has lost feeling in the bottom of his feet.  He’s had these pressure sores in the past but has trouble getting them to heal up.

Pressure sore:  Areas of skin that have been damaged by pressure such as sitting or lying in one position for a very long period of time.  They can also be called “bedsores.”  The are more commonly found in areas of the body where the bone is near the surface of the skin such as on the hips, elbows, ankles and back/buttocks. The skin and soft tissues become damaged because not enough oxygenated blood can get to the area to promote healing usually due to the compression of the damaged skin and soft against hard bone tissue.

Appearance:  The sores change in the way they look depending on how long they’ve been present and how much damage has been done.  In the beginning, the sore appears as a small red patch of skin, and if not treated, the skin will break down and cause a hole or crater to form (we call this an ulcer).

Stage 1:  The skin is intact without ulcers but when you push on the skin it does not change colors to indicate good blood flow.  Usually, healthy tissue will be pink and when you push on the area with your finger you can notice it will become less pink and in a couple seconds the pinkness will return.  This does not happen in the damaged skin at this stage – it may have a darkly pigmented color.

Stage 2:  There is an open, shallow ulcer with a red-pink color at the base of the wound.  Sometimes there may be blisters present which are either intact or ruptured.

Stage 3:  Structures beneath the skin such as fat may be exposed but at this stage, you should not see bone, tendons or muscle tissue.

Stage 4:  Structures beneath this skin including bone, tendon and muscle may be seen in the bottom part of the ulcer

People at Risk:  Some patients are more at risk than others of getting pressure sores.

1)   Patients who cannot move very well because they have a medical problem.  These people may sit or lay in one position for a long time.  They need help to move to a different position so that the skin doesn’t form sores.

2)   Older people are more prone to pressure sores because they often don’t move around as much and their skin is more fragile and thinner than a younger person.

3)   Patients who have diabetes or nerve problems in their feet may not feel when a small pebble or area gets into their shoe or pressure pushes on the foot causing injury.

4)   Patients in the hospital or nursing home are at especially high risk for many of the factors noted above – increased age, decreased mobility, and other complicated medical problems.

Prevention:  Some things can be done to lower the chances of getting pressure sores

1)   Repositioning the patient’s body every two hours so that they are not lying on one area where the skin is being crushed, pinched or pressure is building

2)   Putting pillows between the ankles and knees to decrease the pressure on the skin over these boney areas

3)   Raising the head of the bed when the patient is lying on their side to decrease the pressure on the hip bone

4)   Getting special foam or soft mattresses that decrease the pressure on the areas of the body that have the most pressure on them

For patients in wheelchairs:

1)   Use a special cushioned seat if possible to prevent pressure on the sacrum

2)   Every hour tilt forward or to the side to release pressure on the seat

3)   If ankles or heels press on the chair, use foam padding to protect against sores

4)   Check skin regularly for signs of pressure or ulcers

Treatment:  Pressure sores are treated differently depending on the stage of ulceration and how severe the damage to the skin is.

1)   If there is mild erythema, the treatment is generally off-loading the area but decreasing the amount of time that this area is compressed by body re-positioning, and/or using pillows to cushion the area.  We also use transparent films over the ulcers to protect the areas.

2)   In patients who have diabetes, adequately managing blood sugars to keep them under good control is very important.  Elevated blood sugars impede wound healing.

3)   If there is dead or dying skin or soft tissues, this often needs to be removed to help prevent infection.

4)   Special bandages may be needed to keep the healing tissue moist but prevent tissue maceration (from being too moist). Sometimes the dressings that we use to treat wounds can be very expensive.

5)   Antibiotics may be prescribed if there is a wound infection

6)   Medication for pain may also be prescribed

There are some tools to score the pressure and grade the healing process.  These are helpful for patients who come back for repeat visits to wound care clinic or their primary care provider and there is a need to grade the healing by giving them a score.  Some clinical features that are examined include:

1)   Amount of Exudate

2)   Skin color surrounding the wound

3)   Peripheral tissue swelling

4)   Peripheral tissue firmness around the wound

5)   Amount of granulation (healing) tissue

6)   How much epithilization is present

It’s important to optimize the nutritional status of patients with wounds.  Particularly for patients who have Stage 3 and 4 ulcers, they need enough protein and calories to help heal these wounds.

This document is for informational purposes only, and should not be considered medical advice for any individual patient.  If you have questions please contact your medical provider.

 

I hope that you have found this information useful.  Wishing you the best of health,

Scott Rennie, DO

Blog: https://doctorrennie.wordpress.com

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Diabetes Foot Care

shutterstock_110360354Patients who have diabetes need to pay extra attention to their foot care to help prevent infections.  I’ve had numerous patients with diabetes need foot or toe amputations that could have been prevented with excellent foot hygiene.  Small scrapes in the skin or ingrown nails can become extremely bad very quickly with diabetes because patients who have diabetes often don’t have as much sensation (due to damage to the nerve endings and blood vessels in your feet).  This can make it difficult to detect sores and once an infection is present it can be very difficult to treat.  I thought I’d put together some tips to help you keep your feet healthy and decrease the risk for infections.

1)      Stop smoking:  If you smoke, this can decrease the blood flowing to your feet and make foot problems worse.

2)     Inspect your feet everyday:  Look for blisters, cuts, cracks or sores.  If you cannot see your feet well then use a mirror or have a family member help you.

3)     Wash your feet everyday:  Use warm (not hot) water – be sure to check the temperature with your hands rather than your feet.

4)     Dry your feet well:  Pat them dry and do not rub the skin on your feet too hard.  Dry between each toe.  If the skin on your feet stays moist, bacteria or fungus can grow and that might lead to a foot infection.

5)     Keep your feet soft:  Use a skin moisturizer such as Aveeno, Dove or Cetaphil on your feet to keep your skin soft and prevent calluses and cracks.  Don’t put the cream between your toes unless you are treating athlete’s foot with a fungal cream.  Make sure to wear socks or traction on your feet after applying the cream so you don’t slip and fall.

6)     Clean under your toenails carefully:  Don’t use sharp objects under your toenails.  Instead use the blunt end of a nail file or other rounded tool to decrease the chance of piercing the skin.

7)     Trim and file your toenails straight across:  This helps prevent ingrown nails.  Use a nail clipper instead of scissors.  Then use an emery board to smooth the edges.  If you need help trimming your nails, schedule an appointment with your medical provider.

8)     Change your socks everyday:  Socks should have a thick cushion and fit loosely around your feet.  Socks without seams are best because seams often rub the feet.  Do not wear stockings, socks, or garters that come up to the thigh or knees unless your medical provider advises you to do so because they can decrease the blood flow to your feet.

9)     Look inside your shoes before putting them on:  Check them every day for gravel, torn linings, or thorns that can cause blisters or sores.

10)  Do not go barefoot:  Don’t wear sandals or shoes with thin soles because these types of shoes are easy to puncture.  They also do not protect your feet from hot pavement or cold weather.

11)  Have your medical provider check your feet during each visit:  If you notice a problem with your feet, see your medical provider right away rather than trying to treat it with a home remedy.  Some home remedies or treatments that you can buy without a prescription (such as corn removers) can be harmful.

12)  Keep your blood sugar down:  Watch what and how you eat, monitor your blood sugar, take your medications and get regular exercise.

When to seek medical help:

A)      If you cannot do proper foot care

B)     If you have a foot sore or ulcer that is not healing after 3 days (including corns, calluses or ingrown nails)

C)     If you have black and blue areas in your toes or feet

D)    If you have peeling skin or blisters between your toes

E)     If you have a fever for more than 24 hours and a foot sore

F)     If you have new numbness or tingling in your feet that does not go away after you move your feet or change positions

G)    If you have unexplained or unusual swelling of your foot or ankle

H)    Anytime you have questions about your feet or concerns it is best to contact your medical provider

This document is for informational purposes only, and should not be considered medical advice for any individual patient.  If you have questions please contact your medical provider.

 

I hope that you have found this information useful.  Wishing you the best of health,

Scott Rennie, DO

Blog: https://doctorrennie.wordpress.com

Splinter (Sliver) Removal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo credits: http://www.lemamme.it/sos-cosa-fare-quando-il-bambino-si-fa-male/

http://www.aafp.org/afp/2003/0615/p2557.html

A few weeks ago, the parents of two young children brought their kids into the clinic for removal of multiple wood splinters in their feet.  I thought I’d discuss some different types of splinters and some techniques that you can use at home to remove them.  In addition, it’s important to know when to come into the medical clinic for help with that process.

Splinters are actually very common, and children and adults come into the clinic usually with a small foreign body embedded into the superficial or subcutaneous soft tissues of the hands or feet.  Wood, glass and metallic splinters are the most common types.  Many splinters can be removed at home by our patients, which leaves the physicians only the deeper and larger splinters or retained splinters that have been broken down during an attempt at removal.  If splinters are not removed completely, they may cause complications such as infection and inflammation.

When to see a medical provider:  I recommend that you see a medical provider instead of trying to remove the splinter yourself if there is lots of redness around the splinter, increased swelling or pus draining from the wound.

The severity of the reaction and type of reaction that the body has to a particular splinter.  Some examples of reactions to retained foreign materials include:

1)   Glass – Mild reaction and the body attempts encapsulation

2)   Blackthorns – Severe reaction with inflammation from the plant alkaloids

3)   Wood – Severe reaction with inflammation from the oils and resins

4)   Cactus Spines – Moderate to severe reaction from the fungal coating on the plant and possibly an allergic reaction

5)   Rose thorns – Moderate to severe reaction with inflammation from the fungal coating on the plant

6)   Sea urchins – Moderate to severe reaction with inflammation and possible infection

7)   Metal – Mild reaction and the body attempts encapsulation

8)   Plant spines – Mild to severe reaction from the toxins in the plant

9)   Animal spines – Mild to severe reaction from the toxins in the animal spines

10)  Plastic – Mild reaction and the body attempts encapsulation

Sometimes splinters can be difficult to detect, especially if they are deep or very small.  Clues that a splinter is present might be swelling, tenderness, a mass, or soft tissue infection such as cellulitis, or an abscess.  Sometimes we might use a diagnostic test such as a x-ray, ultrasound, CT scan or MRI to detect a splinter if it’s deep and difficult to see.

Removal:  We try to remove splinters quickly before inflammation or infection occurs.  There are several ways to remove a splinter, some of those might include:

1)   Using tweezers: Make sure you have the right kind of tweezers.  The sharp tipped splinter tweezers work best most of the time.  If the sliver is sticking out of the skin, clean the pair of tweezers with alcohol and carefully pinch the sliver as close to the skin as possible and gently slide it out.

2)   Use a small needle:  If the sliver isn’t sticking out of the skin, often a needle can help push the sliver out.  First clean the needle with alcohol and then push the sliver from the bottom (the pointed end that entered the skin first) and angle upward toward the puncture hold in the skin’s surface.  Try to start at the bottom of the sliver so you don’t break it and leave sliver shreds in the skin.

3)   Use a razor blade to make a small slice in the skin over the sliver:  If the sliver is deep and using tweezers or a needle isn’t working well, you can clean a razor blade in alcohol and make a shallow incision parallel to the sliver, just above it.  I know this sounds scary, but the top layer of skin is made of dead skin cells that do not have nerves, so this is not likely to hurt unless you cut too deeply.  Once the incision is made, gently part the skin and pick out the sliver.

4)   Clean the wound:   Whatever method you use to remove the sliver, make sure you clean the wound with soap and water after the sliver is removed.  Puncture wounds are often laced with bacteria and are very likely to become infected.

5)   Antibiotics:  Apply a small amount of antibiotic ointment such as bacitracin over the puncture wound.

6)   Examine the area at least once a day for the next several days to look for increasing redness, swelling or pain.  If any of these occur, I recommend that you see a medical provider because this might be the start of an infection.

This document is for informational purposes only, and should not be considered medical advice for any individual patient.  If you have questions please contact your medical provider.

 

I hope that you have found this information useful.  Wishing you the best of health,

Scott Rennie, DO

Blog: https://doctorrennie.wordpress.com

All About the Common Callus and Corn

shutterstock_113610118shutterstock_93910513I can’t tell you how many patients come in to the clinic because of a callus or corn that’s bothering them – too many to count!  Corns and calluses can cause significant pain, especially when they’re on the feet because we often get them in areas over pressure areas.  When they get thickened they can re-distribute your weight onto other areas of your feet and that may lead to foot instability or worsening pain.

Calluses are usually on the hands and feet and basically just thickened areas of skin that form when something rubs or presses on these areas over prolonged periods of time.

Corns are thickened areas of skin that are often on the soles of the feet or sides of the toes and look like a small nodule that has a hard center.  Corns are usually more painful because they are often over a smaller area and press harder on a more specific area of the foot.

Causes:  Possible reasons that calluses or corns develop include:

1)   Wearing shoes that don’t fit properly for your feet – either too loose or too tight

2)   Walking barefoot

3)   Wearing shoes without socks

4)   Calluses on the hands can be caused by repetitive sports such as rowing, golfing, tennis or biking without gloves

Prevention:

1)   Get shoes that fit properly!  It’s important to be proactive and to prevent calluses or corns if they bother you.  There are special shoe stores that work with foot doctors to help you select shoes that fit your feet properly.  Some people are born with narrow or wide feet and that makes it more difficult to find shoes that fit properly.  If you are getting painful corns or calluses, take time and visit a store where someone can help you to pick out shoes that fit you well

2)   Avoid going barefoot or wearing shoes without socks

3)   If you have spots on your feet that rub inside your shoes, you can get special pads that prevent rubbing

Treatment:  I often work with patients who come into the clinic to trim the corn or callus down so that it reduces the pressure in the affected area.  I use a scalpel to carefully trim away the thickened skin.  A foot doctor (podiatrist or orthopedic surgeon who specializes in treating conditions of the foot/ankle) can make special orthotic devices that can help reduce the pain and help prevent recurrence of corns/calluses.  Some people treat calluses themselves by purchasing special pads that contain medications to burn or dissolve the thick skin.  I highly recommend that patients with diabetes be seen and treated by a medical provider to reduce the risk of infection.  Diabetic patients are at increased risk of foot infections and should be seen for yearly foot examinations even if they don’t have calluses or corns.

This document is for informational purposes only, and should not be considered medical advice for any individual patient.  If you have questions please contact your medical provider.

 

I hope that you have found this information useful.  Wishing you the best of health,

Scott Rennie, DO

Blog: https://doctorrennie.wordpress.com

Tick Bites – Will I Get Lyme disease?

shutterstock_17720305shutterstock_148613042Last night a patient came into the Urgent Care with a tick on his belly.  He recently returned from a trip to New York State and he was concerned about the possibility of developing Lyme disease.  When I looked at the tick, I noticed that it was small and almost translucent.  It was attached to his skin but its head was still clearly visible and had not burrowed below the surface of the skin on his abdomen.

Tick bites are common this time of year.  They occur on humans as well as animals such as dogs.  Many different types of ticks in the United States, only some of which are capable of transmitting infections.  The risk of developing an infection such as Lyme disease after being bitten depends upon the geographic location, season of the year, type of tick and how long the tick was attached to the skin.

The risk of acquiring an infection from a tick is actually quite low.  In the case of my patient, the tick hadn’t even taken a blood meal – ie. it was not engorged with blood.  His risk of developing Lyme disease from that tick was absolutely 0%.  Ticks transmit infection only after they have attached and become engorged with blood.  Deer ticks that transmit Lyme disease must feed for more than 36 hours before transmission of the organism called Borrelia burgdorferi.

If you come in to see me after you’re bitten by a deer tick (the type that carries Lyme disease), I would generally advise one of two approaches:

1)   Observe the area and treat with antibiotics only if signs of infection develop

2)   Treat with antibiotics immediately as a preventative measure

The individual patient’s history, the type of tick and how long it was attached and the patient’s wishes will help determine which approach to take.

How to Remove a Tick:  Some patients come in to see me after they’ve already tried removing a tick and have been unsuccessful or partially successful.  I commonly see patients who come in after they’ve removed only part of the tick and the head and are concerned because the tick head is still buried below the skin.  Here is the technique that I use to remove a tick:

1)   Do not attempt to use a match, cigarette, nail polish, Vaseline, liquid soap or kerosene because it may just irritate the tick and cause it to inject the harmful organism into the wound

2)   Use fine tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible

3)   Pull back gently but firmly using even, steady pressure without jerking or twisting the tick

4)   After removing the tick, wash the skin and hands with warm soapy water

5)   If any part of the tick is still in the skin, they generally come out on their own.  I don’t recommend attempting to remove little pieces of the tick at home as this can cause skin trauma and scarring.

6)   Go see your medical provider if you are concerned about not being able to remove the tick.

Treatment:  The Infectious Diseases Society of America recommends treatment with antibiotics preventatively only in people who meet ALL the criteria below:

1)   The attached tick was identified as an adult or nymph deer tick

2)   The tick was attached for more than 36 hours based on how engorged the tick appears and the amount of time since outdoor exposure

3)   Antibiotic treatment can begin within 72 hours of tick removal

4)   The area where the tick bite occurred was in an area where the organism B. burgdorferi infection rate is greater than 20% – generally in parts of New England, parts of the mid-Atlantic states and parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin.

5)   The patient can take doxycycline – i.e. the patient is not pregnant or breastfeeding a young child or allergic to this antibiotic.

If all the criteria above are met, the treatment is a single dose of doxycycline 200mg for adults and 4mg/kg up to a maximum of 200mg for children older than 8 years of age.

Symptoms of Lyme disease:  What the area where the tick bite occurred and observe for expanding redness.  The rash that is associated with Lyme disease is called erythema migrams (EM).  This rash is a salmon color usually and typically expands over a few days or weeks and can reach up to 8 inches in diameter.  The center of the rash tends to become skin colored (clear) as the rash grows in size.  This gives the rash a sort of “bull’s eye” appearance.  The rash generally doesn’t cause any symptoms.

Other associated symptoms of Lyme disease could include:

1)  A few days to a month after the bite:  fatigue, malaise, lethargy, mild headache, mild neck stiffness, aches, joint pain and enlarged lymph nodes.

2)  Weeks to months after the bite:  Inflammation of the heart, heart rhythm problems, meningitis, encephalitis, severe joint pain, multiple areas of rash, eye pain/vision problems, liver disease, kidney disease.

This document is for informational purposes only, and should not be considered medical advice for any individual patient.  If you have questions please contact your medical provider.

 

I hope that you have found this information useful.  Wishing you the best of health,

Scott Rennie, DO

Blog: https://doctorrennie.wordpress.com

Cellulitis – a soft tissue/skin infection – is it MRSA?

IMG_5864Cellulitis is an infection of the skin and soft tissues.  It is common and most often it’s caused by bacteria that normally live on the skin.  These bacteria don’t normally cause any problems unless the skin is scratched, torn or punctured.  The most common bacteria that cause cellulitis are streptococci “Strep” or staphylococci “Staph.”

Most of the time cellulitis is mild and heals with the use of antibiotics, however it can become severe and cause an infection that spreads throughout the body if left untreated.  It can also lead to deep infections called abscesses.

Risk factors:

1)   Chronic skin condition such as eczema or psoriasis

2)   Accumulation of fluid (edema) due to poor circulation possibly from heart failure, liver disease, or removal of lymph nodes

3)   Recent injury, wound, cut or laceration to the skin

4)   Current skin infection such as athlete’s foot or impetigo

5)   Being overweight

Symptoms:  Pain, tenderness, increased warmth, redness and swelling in a distinct area of skin.  The skin can be smooth and shiny in this area.  Fever and chills are not usually present.

Other skin infections:  different kinds of infections that can be confused with cellulitis include an abscess or boil.  These are different because they are usually bumpy, raised and filled with pus.  Abscesses are usually caused by a staph bacteria which may be MRSA.  Cellulitis is more commonly caused by “strep” bacteria.

Treatment:  We commonly use antibiotics and also treat the underlying problem that caused the skin infection (such as athlete’s food or increased edema, eczema or psoriasis) if present.

Keeping the area elevated to reduce inflammation is also helpful.  It is important to keep the infected area clean and dry.  Showering or bathing can be done normally, but pat the area dry with a clean towel afterwards to dry the area completely.  You can also use a bandage or gauze to protect the skin if needed.

Antibiotics are often used and will be tailored to the individual patient.  The patient’s specific area of infection, medical history, history of allergies and examination will be important in determining the proper antibiotics to use.  Sometimes the antibiotics will need to be given by IV in more serious cases of cellulitis.

Treatment time:  In most cases, the swelling, warmth and redness should improve within 1-3 days after starting the antibiotics.  We often use a Sharpie marker and draw a circle around the area of redness so that we can examine the red area over a few days to see if it’s increasing, decreasing or staying the same.  Symptoms of redness and swelling can persist for up to 2 weeks but it should be gradually decreasing.  If it’s not improving, you should call or return to your health care provider for re-evaluation.

This document is for informational purposes only, and should not be considered medical advice for any individual patient.  If you have questions please contact your medical provider.

 

I hope that you have found this information useful.  Wishing you the best of health,

Scott Rennie, DO

Blog: https://doctorrennie.wordpress.com

Abscesses – What to do about MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus)

IMG_5872“Staph” infections are most often caused by the organism Staphylococcus aureus, a bacterium that is carried on the skin of about 30% of healthy individuals.  Most of the time, these bacteria do not cause any symptoms. They just hang out on the skin because the skin is a natural layer of defense against infections.  If the skin is damaged, even from a small scratch however, Staph can cause anything from a mild skin infection to a severe, life-threatening illness, especially in young children or older adults.

The difference between normal Staph infections and MRSA Infections:  Staph infections in the past were treated with antibiotics such as penicillin.  Some strains of Staph have unfortunately become resistant to penicillin and related antibiotics.  These strains of MRSA cannot be cured with traditional penicillin-related medications.  MRSA is now found in up to 70% of people in the community with a diagnosed staph infection.

The spread of MRSA:  Many people become “colonized” with MRSA and that means that they carry the bacteria on their skin or in their nose.  It doesn’t cause any problems unless there is an opening in the skin from a scratch or cut.  You can become colonized with MRSA bacteria in several ways:

1)   Touching the skin of someone else who has been colonized with MRSA

2)   By touching or inhaling small droplets from breathing, coughing or sneezing

3)   By touching a contaminated surface such as a phone headset, countertop or door handle

Community MRSA:  You can more easily pick up MRSA by:

1)   Being overweight or obese

2)   Shaving body hair

3)   Sharing personal items or equipment that is not cleaned

4)   Skin trauma such as turf burns, cuts or sores

5)   Physical contact with someone with a draining cut or sore that has MRSA

Symptoms:  A skin infection is the most common symptom and it may be mistaken for a spider bite.  A raised, red lump that is tender or cluster of  “pimples,” or large tender lump that drains pus may also be present.  If the bacteria enter the bloodstream, it is possible to develop an infection in areas other than the skin.  A staph infection can occur in a heart valve, inside a bone, a joint or in an implanted device such as an IV line, pacemaker or replacement joint.  Symptoms of these types may include fever, fatigue as well as swelling in the infected area.

Diagnosis:  To actually diagnose a true MRSA infection, a culture of the infected area must be performed.  A small sample of bacteria or pus collected from the skin or bloodstream is collected and allowed to grow in an environment that the bacteria thrive in, and then we test these bacteria for resistance to certain antibiotics, including penicillin.

Treatment:  in patients with community acquired MRSA we use antibiotics that may be different than patients who develop MRSA in the hospital.  This is because community acquired MRSA is usually sensitive to antibiotics such as Bactrim, clindamycin, or doxycycline.  MRSA that is acquired in the hospital often has to be treated with antibiotics given through an IV such as Vancomycin.

A surgical procedure called an I&D (incision and drainage) can be done to drain the pus and heal the infection.

If you’ve had an incision and drainage done at your doctor’s office:  After having a surgical procedure done at your doctors office, the wound is often packed with sterile gauze to allow the wound to heal from the bottom upwards.  This way, the wound doesn’t close up at the top and leave a space underneath the top of the skin where bacteria can start growing and cause an infection.  This type of wound needs special attention and observation each day.

Basics of wound care after an I&D (incision and drainage):

1)   Keep the bandage/wound clean and dry.

2)   Only remove the bandage to clean around the wound and follow the advice of your medical provider on how to do this.

3)   The packing gauze should be removed little by little until the wound heals completely.  The decision on how much to remove (if any) should be made by a medical provider but this can be explained to the patient on an individual basis (ie. Wounds heal differently depending on the situation).

4)   You may need to wear a splint to decrease movement to the area and allow wound healing.

5)   Antibiotics and pain medication may be prescribed.

Prevention:  The CDC has made several recommendations about how to prevent and control MRSA in our communities:

1)   Wash hands with soap and water paying special attention to the fingernails, wrists and between the fingers.

2)   If a sink is not available, alcohol-based hand sanitizers are a good alternative.

3)   Cover all cuts and scrapes and keep them clean until healed.

4)   Don’t touch wounds or bandages from other people

5)   Avoid sharing towels, razors, clothing, uniforms, towels, brushes, combs, make-up and towels.

6)   Athletes should shower after every sports activity and use soap and clean towels.

7)   Exercise equipment at sports clubs and schools should be wiped down with an alcohol-based solution after using it.

Care for family members:  Our guidelines do not recommend that family members with MRSA be treated with antibiotics.  Proper preventative measures as described above, should be used.

Should I be tested?:  Experts do not recommend widespread testing for MRSA because of the small risk of infection.  Currently only 4 out of 10,000 people in our communities develop a MRSA infection per year.

This document is for informational purposes only, and should not be considered medical advice for any individual patient.  If you have questions please contact your medical provider.

 

I hope that you have found this information useful.  Wishing you the best of health,

Scott Rennie, DO

Blog: https://doctorrennie.wordpress.com