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Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, more commonly known as MRSA, is a bacterium that causes infections in different parts of the body. It’s harder to treat than most strains of staphylococcus aureus – or staph – because it’s resistant to some commonly used antibiotics including methicillin.
MRSA is the result of the overuse of antibiotics. Antibiotics were prescribed to treat colds, flu, and other viral infections, even though these ailments do not respond to these types of drugs. Bacteria that remain after the course of antibiotic treatment evolve to become resistant to antibiotics.
MRSA is transmitted when skin contacts contaminated surfaces.
Did You Know?
Gyms are often hotbeds for MRSA, as sweaty people share equipment, exercise mats, and locker rooms. Bacteria can survive on the surface of shared gym equipment or towels and infect the body through an open wound, causing red, swollen, painful, and even fatal skin infections.
Doctors at UT Southwestern Medical Center urge gym users to follow federally endorsed health guidelines, including:
- Bandaging any skin areas that have cuts or abrasions
- Not sharing personal items such as towels
- Using a barrier such as clothing or a towel between your skin and shared equipment
- Wiping surfaces of equipment before and after use
- Washing your hands after workouts
If you suspect you or a family member have MRSA, contact the infectious disease specialists at UT Southwestern for treatment.