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MRSA

Also known as a "staph infection," this bacterial infection has become more widespread across the country and in New York State. Schalmont Central School District takes MRSA prevention efforts very seriously, so administrators are providing the following health and safety information for parents.

What is MRSA?

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a strain of bacteria that is resistant to methicillin, an antibiotic. It usually occurs in people who recently have been treated in a hospital or healthcare facility. It can also occur in community situations, such as schools, and poor hygiene practices can allow it to spread quickly.

What are the symptoms of MRSA?

According to the New York State Department of Health, MRSA often causes skin infections and may sometimes cause more serious infections, such as pneumonia or blood-stream infections. Symptoms include a reddened area on the skin (often resembling a pimple) that develops into a skin abscess or boil and causes fever, pus, swelling or pain. These infections can progress to a more serious stage if not treated properly, so those suspecting a MRSA infection should immediately contact their primary care physician. Parents who suspect their child has such an infection also should contact their child's school nurse.

How can schools, students and parents prevent MRSA infections?

Schalmont schools take several measures to prevent MRSA and other types of infections that may spread in public spaces. These include having custodial staff regularly disinfect bathrooms, locker rooms, gym showers, water fountains, lunch tables, athletic equipment, and other such facilities. School nurses are well informed about MRSA, and students are encouraged to engage in proper hygiene practices, such as frequent hand washing.

Parents can aid in the effort by encouraging their children to take action to prevent MRSA infections by:

  • Washing their hands frequently and carefully;
  • Avoiding sharing personal items such as towels and razors;

If athletes:

  • Avoiding sharing equipment;
  • Showering after practices and competitions; 
  • Regularly cleaning gym clothes;
  • Keeping cuts and scrapes clean and covered with bandages; and
  • Not touching other people's cuts or bandages.