MRSA – METHICILLIN-RESISTANT STAPHYLOCOCCUS AUREUS (STAPH)
There have been sporadic cases of MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus) reported in Illinois, some among student-athletes. The health and safety of all District 211 students and staff is our top priority. We’d like to address any concerns you may have by sharing the following information.
What can I do?
Remind your child to take precautions. Good hygiene is the best defense against any illness. If your child develops a skin infection, get medical attention promptly.
If you have additional questions or concerns, please contact the principal’s office or your high school’s nurse.
What are our schools doing to protect students and staff?
As always, District 211 schools are sanitized and disinfected daily; they are cleaned every evening, using a hospital-grade disinfectant known to kill the MRSA bacteria on all high-touch areas (including desktops, light switches, doorknobs, drinking fountains, etc.).
Are there precautions to prevent infection?
Practicing good hygiene is one of the most important things to control and prevent the spread of staph and other infections. The Health Department recommends the following measures:
• Keep hands clean by washing thoroughly with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
• Do not share personal items like towels, razors, or water bottles
• Avoid any contact with others’ wounds; keep cuts or scrapes clean and bandaged
Students participating in contact sports or other activities that lead to close skin to skin contact should take additional precautions related to skin infections and hygiene:
• Student-athletes should shower immediately following exercise, practice, or a game
• Do not store wet, dirty clothing in lockers
• Do not share towels, clothing, or uniforms, or other personal equipment
• Keep equipment clean; launder towels, uniforms, gym clothing, etc. frequently
• Keep cuts, abrasions, and wounds covered with clean, dry bandages
• Report any cuts, abrasions, or wounds to the coaching staff, trainer, and/or school nurse
How serious are Staph Infections?
Most Staph skin infections are easily treatable. It is very important, however, to see your healthcare provider and follow all directions. If after treatment, there is not improvement within several days, inform your healthcare provider immediately.
How is it spread?
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, it is easily spread by contaminated hands, by contact with contaminated objects and surfaces, and by contact with secretions from infected skin lesions, wounds, and nasal discharge. It is often spread within crowded conditions, as with athletes, the military, and crowded living conditions.
What is MRSA (or Staph)?
It is a type of bacteria. According to the Cook County Department of Public Health, it may cause skin infections that look like pimples or boils; may be red, swollen, painful, or have drainage. Some are resistant to certain antibiotics.