Health Services » Current Health Issues

Current Health Issues




What is MRSA?

Staphylococcus aureus, more commonly referred to as “staph”, are bacteria commonly found in

the nose and on the skin of healthy people. Some of these staph bacteria have developed a

resistance to drugs like methicillin. These Methicillin – Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus

bacteria are referred to as MRSA. Occasionally these MRSA get through the skin barrier and

cause minor infections which can include pimples, boils, impetigo, and wound infections.

These bacteria rarely spread to the blood stream or other body parts.


Who gets MRSA?

In the past, MRSA has been seen primarily in the hospital setting among elderly or ill people.

Since the 1990’s there have been cases diagnosed among healthy children and adults outside

the hospital setting. Those who are more likely to acquire the infection are those who have

been in direct skin to skin contact with the hands, wound drainage, or nasal secretions of a

person with MRSA. Openings in the skin such as cuts or scrapes make it easier for MRSA to

enter the body. Poor hygiene can also be a factor. Students in contact sports have a higher

incidence of the disease because of more frequent skin injuries.


What are the symptoms of MRSA?

  • Tenderness, redness, or swelling
  • Area is warm to touch
  • Fever
  • Purulent drainage (pus)
  • May look like a spider bite, pimple, or boil


How is MRSA diagnosed?

The bacteria must be identified by a wound culture taken by your health care provider.


How can MRSA be prevented?

Hand washing is the single most effective factor in preventing infectious disease.


  1. Wash your hands for 30 seconds under warm running water using soap

       to cover all surfaces of your hands. You can also use an alcohol based hand sanitizer.


Always wash your hands:

  • after sneezing, touching, or blowing your nose
  • after using the restroom
  • after touching a cut, scrape, or open wound
  • before and after games and practice


  1. Practice good personal hygiene. Shower regularly using soap and a clean towel and wash cloth.
  2. After using towels or clothing, wash in hot water and detergent. If possible, dry in a hot dryer.
  3. Do not share towels, equipment, soap and other personal items.
  4. Keep hands away from your nose, mouth, or any open wound.
  5. Keep wounds covered with a clean, dry bandage.
  6. See your doctor with any suspicious skin rash, boil, or spider bite.


What is the treatment of a Bacterial Infection?

  1. Consult your private Health Care Provider.
  2. Keep wound covered at all times until it is completely healed.
  3. Take all of the antibiotics ordered as directed by your physician
  4. Bring a doctor’s note to inform your school nurse of your treatment
  5. Students may attend school if the wound is completely covered by a bandage and they are under the care of a health care provider.


How is confidentiality handled?

Information regarding the health condition of any student is strictly confidential and cannot be

shared with other parents or with the media by any school personnel.


What is the school district’s doing to prevent the spread of MRSA?


The Hempfield Area School District has for the last two years taken a proactive approach that

focuses on the prevention of this and other contagious diseases. Since that time the custodians

have used a cleaner with a disinfectant for the purpose of preventing the spread of bacteria and

virus. The disinfectant is used to clean the school, locker rooms, weight room and mats. A

fogging procedure that emits a mist that penetrates cracks and crevasses as well as surface area

has been used in all locker rooms, trainer rooms and wrestling rooms in the district. The

coaches have instructed athletes to take all practice clothes; towels, etc. home each day and not to leave any wet materials in their lockers.