MRSA is a serious infection related to the more common staphylococcus infection. The infection usually occurs on the skin but can get into the bloodstream, where it can become even more serious. Many MRSA patients report severe itching with this infection.
The Mayo Clinic reports that MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is a strain of the staph infection that has developed into a superbug that has become resistant to many common antibacterial medications. In the past, MRSA has been found in the hospital setting, but over the past few years, it has been found in places like sports facilities, schools and other public places. If not treated, MRSA can be deadly.
Why Does It Itch
Once the infection begins, the wound may become increasingly itchy as the infection spreads. The itchiness may even seem to move throughout the body. Some patients report a rapid advance (within a one- to five-hour period) and increasing levels of discomfort and itching. In some cases, medication that is prescribed to treat the infection causes a person to have a reaction and become very itchy.
Signs of Serious Problems
MRSA first appears as a small pimple or boil but can quickly grow into something larger. The CDC reports that MRSA wounds can be red, swollen, painful, warm to the touch and full of pus. The wound can become very itchy, and the person may even experience a rash that can also itch. The CDC reports that this may be a sign of a more significant MRSA infection. A person can also spread the infection into her blood by the increased scratching of the skin. In these cases, the itchiness may be due to an infection that is traveling throughout the body and can infect the blood, which could even be fatal.
Identifying if the itching is due to MRSA can take just a couple of hours. Usually, the itching is around an open wound, and the physician can quickly determine the diagnosis by doing a blood test. In January of 2008, the FDA reported a new blood test (BD GeneOhm StaphSR) that had been developed for MRSA identification, and results can be obtained within two hours.
MRSA infections can be easily prevented by good hand and body hygiene. Wash hands frequently and do not use someone else's belongings such as towels and razors. Preventing the itching that goes along with the infections can be done by using a dose of Benadryl, which can be found at your local pharmacy. If the itching is coming from a reaction to medications given to combat the infection, then stronger antihistamines can be prescribed by your physician.
Kristie Jernigan is a health writer with over 17 years of experience as a medical social worker. She has worked mainly with the elderly population and with children. She holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology and early childhood from East Tennessee State University and a Master of Science in health care administration and gerontology from the University of Phoenix.