Staph Infections

Archived Q&A and Reviews

2.5 year old son has a MRSA staph infection

Jan 2011

My 2.5 year old son has a MRSA staph infection. He was diagnosed in November and went through one round of Clindamycin antibiotics and had to have a boil drained twice. Mid-January the infection came back and he just finished a second round of Clindamycin. The affected area is on his bottom on and near a small patch of eczema. His pediatrician said that it is not unusual to have a reoccurrence but I hate the idea of using the strong antibiotics.

I have done a lot of reading on-line but am having a hard time finding alternative treatments that work. We currently keep a very clean house. My son's clothes, towels, sheets are all kept separate and washed very frequently, he takes occasional bleach baths, etc. No one else in the family has any symptoms.

Does anyone have any advice or suggestions as to what worked/didn't work for you? If we have another outbreak I'm going to seek an Infectious Disease doctor.

Thank you in advance. Worried

My daughter also had a round of bottom boils MRSA. Check out online Manuka Honey. It apparently has some antibacterial properties and has been known to control MRSA. There are multiple products on Amazon and you can read some reviews. Maybe it's just quackery but we were desperate. We got the cream and applied it on her bottom pretty regularly fora while.

ALSO. I got just plain pimple medicine. And any time there was a little bump or discoloration I applied that. The theory was to just get rid of any skin variation, keep it dry so it wouldn't be prone to infection.

I also heard that your ''gut health'' can affect propensity for these infections. So I upped the probiotics. Or something like that came up when I searched around on this topic. good luck. anon

Sorry to hear about the MRSA situation, this happened to us too and it is horrible. A few things; we went to see a specialist at Children's Hospital Oakland, and the doctor said to take our son swimming because the chlorine disinfects the skin. Apparently this seemed to work for many of the people she had seen. When winter came along and people stopped swimming, the MRSA came back. So we took our kid swimming, which he loved anyway. The second thing, we washed down his legs (where he got the MRSA) with hibiclens, an antimicrobial skin cleanser, a few times a week in the bath (make sure you rinse well). You can get hibiclens in a drugs store, you may have to order it, it costs around $10. Make sure you use a good cream after, because it dries the skin out because it is so strong. The last thing; our doctor said MRSA just ''peters out'' after a while, and it did for us. Our son, had it three or four times, and then nothing (fingers crossed, nothing for nearly two years). Hope that helps. Anon anon

My daughter had a severe MRSA staff infection a year ago. It was so severe she required IV antibiotics and a month of oral antibiotics. Thought the previous year I had one on my nose, my other daugter had a boil on her elbow, and I got another one on a mole. Clearly we were passing this bug around. After the last one, with my 2 year old hooked up to an iv and all, I decided to see an infectious disease specialist at Children's hospital. Following her advice, here's how we killed the MRSA (I think). It has been 10 months now. First, everyone, even those in the family seemingly unaffected, needs to use mupiricin swabbed in the nose with a qtip twice a day for a MONTH. You can get this from your pediatrician. Everyone in the family should start taking bleach baths or swimming twice a week. We kept this up for 3 months. The bacteria can live in your nose, under your arms, in your groin, etc. It loves moisture. You have to focus on consistent bleach baths for all because some people are carriers even if they are asymptomatic. I feel your pain, totally. It is a royal pain. However, you can get rid of it. We also changed our hand towels daily, used hand sanitizer like crazy, washed sheets weekly, stopped wearing bras and jeans a second time without washing, and washed hands until our fingers were dry. The infectious disease expert said they do not know of another way to eradicate it, but that people with severe eczema who are prone to staff infections use bleach baths for years to keep them at bay and they work. You can get past this. MRSA-free (knock on wood)

Sorry to hear about your MRSA problem, I know first hand how difficult it is to deal with. My husband is on immunosuppressing drugs for his stomach condition and gets MRSA outbreaks every few months. When I was pregnant with #2, I experienced 3 or 4 outbreaks myself; happily, they haven't reoccurred for the 9 months after my child was born. Neither of our children have gotten MRSA. We have seen an infectious disease specialist within Kaiser and came away with this information: first of all, you don't need to be crazy careful about the hygiene. MRSA bacteria are literally everywhere these days - swimming pools, playgrounds, shopping cart handles... you can't help being exposed. Most people do not get colonized or sick from the exposure; some people, mostly those with compromised immune system (but also some who seem perfectly healthy otherwise), do get colonized, and the least lucky ones get MRSA outbreaks. The current treatments (Bactrim, Clyndomycin) help get over the current outbreak but do not appear to be effective for prevention purposes; even the decolonization protocol (Mupirocin for the nose, Hibiclens for the body, for 5-10 days) helps delay the next outbreak, but does not prevent it long-term. However the good news is that in the doctor's experience, most people (except the immunosuppressed patients) get MRSA outbreaks 4-5 times over the course of 1-2 years and then never come back to the doctor, suggesting that they slowly develop immunity. The doctor suggested not starting antibiotics in the first 2 days of the outbreak, but putting hot compresses on the site to activate the immune response and assist in developing immunity (and then get antibiotics if the infection isn't getting any better), and use painkillers as needed. This was from the adult practice, I do not know specifics for children. Daria

Need help eradicating MRSA infection

April 2010

I was wondering if anyone has successfully eradicated MRSA from their family. If your doctor was particularly helpful, I'd love his or her name. We have had repeated MRSA staff infections (two cases lab confirmed in two members of our family, one early in the cycle that we suspect was MRSA in a third family member). The most recent landed my two year old in Children's hospital with a high fever and needing IV antibiotics. I recently read ''Superbug, The Fatal Menace of MRSA'' and I'm terrified that my family's next bout with MRSA will be more serious. We're obviously colonizing MRSA in our noses. We did one round of bactrim in all of our noses, but still had the recent outbreak. We tried Bactrim again, along with sanitizing, washing towels every day, frequently changing linens, bleaching every surface, tons and tons of handwashing, etc. We are washing with antibacterial soap in the shower. What frustrates me is we have no way of knowing if our most recent round of antiseptic measured is successful until we get another outbreak. In the meantime, I worry we are infecting others in the community. I feel like I need an infectious disease expert. Can someone recommend a doctor who might have a lot of experience with MRSA and can help us eradicate this deadly bug once and for all? THANKS! The Oakland MRSA Colony

Get a referral to an infectious diease expert TODAY. If you have not seen one thus far, your doctors are remiss. My spouse got MRSA and the children did as well. I did NOT. We were referred to an amazing Infectious Disease person for our support. She was brilliant. We lived out of state so I do not have the local contact. But our doc has noted that the UCSF team of infectious disease would be a good option. My husband is still very diligent. The oral Bactrim did nothing for any of the patients. All did the Vancomyacin route - all three were put in a pic line and had the IV at home for 6 weeks. If you do go this way - ask for the IV bottles that are pressurized. (THey do not need to be hung on a pole...especially helpful if you have little kids) My husband was able to keep his IV bottle in his pocket while being medicated and join us at the park. If you are diligent about all the items you mentioned you will not spread it. It has now been 2 years with no outbreaks. WE do watch all lesions or sores like a hawk - drawing circles around them and checking for soreness. It never really leaves your mind. I empathize with you and I am hoping for the best. MRSA wife and mom

Maybe it's not so nice to hear this- or maybe a little empathy helps- you are not alone! My husband, myself and my daughter- when she was 4 months old- all got really nasty infections and did the whole bactrim up the nose, major antibiotics, bleach baths etc. It was really scary and gross and made me feel like a leper. About 4 months after the initial infection, my daughter had another infection- right under the nose- and we treated it immediately. It's been 4 years now and we haven't had any other problems. We've been in contact with infectious disease doctors, pediatricians and dermatolgists and none of them have given us cause for alarm. Most people already carry the bacteria. Fun stuff. Infected

Staph infection in nose for more than 2 years

Jan 2007

Help! My husband has had a staph infection in his nose for more than two years now. None of the doctors seem to be able to figure out what it is or how to treat it. Should we try alternative medicine? Anyone have any experience with that?

I cannot believe that your doctor cannot figure this simple one out - I and several I know get semi-regular staff infections in our noses (I think it is contagious and I know it lives with us all the time) and all were given Bactroban AKA Bactatracin (a prescription antibiotic ointment like neosporin but stronger) and apply it per the directions (3 X a day maybe?) and it is gone within a day or two. So simple!!! Anon

MRSA misery!

April 2006

I'm wondering if anyone out there has dealt with MRSA, the nasty staph infection that results in painful boils, requires lots of antibiotics and is really hard to get rid of. My husband, baby and I have now been through a couple of bouts of it, starting in November, and several courses of oral antibiotics and stuff that you put up your nose. I noticed this week, to my dismay, a new bump on my leg that has all the characteristics (painful like a pimple, with a pustule). All the information we've gotten has been confusing and contradictory. We've been told that once you're ''colonized'' by the bug, you've basically got it forever, living in your nose, and that lots and lots of people are carrying the bug. If that's the case, how come only some of us get the nasty boils? I'm really concerned about how and if we can ever get rid of this bug and the whole thing makes me feel kind of gross. My sister who's pregnant can't stay with us at our house and my mom who's getting surgery was told to be really careful. What can we do to make our house cleaner? Never use the same towel twice? Change our sheets every day? Never wear the same clothes more than once? Do we have to worry about rugs? Do we have to clean our bathmat every day? Do we have to sterilize all our baby's toys every day? How fastidious do we have to be???? I'm guessing that the cleaner, the better but who has time to clean all the time and work full time and have a baby? If such a course is needed, how long do we have to conduct this assault on our house? It's driving me slightly nuts. Every bump I find on any of us arouses our concern. Mrs. MRSA

I recently had a staph infection that turned out not to be the one you describe, but they thought it was, at the Tang center, until they tested it. But, they told me, as did my pediatrician, that this infection you describe was going around this winter and LOTS of people had it--kids, college students, whomever--so please don't feel gross. One of the doctors, when I asked her how to protect myself and my baby from other super bugs said you can preven 99% of infection by washing your hands really well, including between the fingers. So, just follow your doctors' advice and keep clean! and know you are not alone. anon

I had a similar recurring staph infection and the dermatologist finally gave up on me after several allergic reactions to antibiotics, and my nursing daughter (and me) getting thrush repeatedly from me being on antibiotics. I too used the up-the- nose anti-bacterial cream as well as the topical on the staph infection itself. I went to see Christine Ciaverelli at the Hahnemann Medical Clinic in Albany and she had me do a completely different regimen that included grapefruit seed extract. I am happy to say that I am totally infection free and it's a huge relief. There is no sign of it at all for at least two years, and the dermatologist also told me that i would have it for life. Don't give up, you can get rid of it, it just takes some creative thinking. Good luck anon

I really feel for you! My dad was in the hospital for over a week last year with MRSA. I asked him about recontamination and treatment of staph, and here was his reply. First, kudos that you got a diagnosis, because apparently, this is tough for some docs to catch. MRSA is drug resistant, so do everything you can to kill it and yes, it can be killed to the point of not reoccuring. This means be on the verge of paranoid. You, your hubby, and child are likely recontaminating each other and you can spread this to others, so be diligent. Wash towels, sheets, cloth napkins, clothes, etc. every single day in hot water with detergent. Use bleach or alcohol to clean surfaces (my parents used them even on the toilet seat until my dad's sores dried up completely). Stay out of public areas like swimming pools. Take the antibiotics as prescribed for the entire course of drugs, even if your sores clear up before you are done with the medication. My dad recommended a detergent skin cleanser such as Hepiclens (available over the counter...ask the pharmacist). Use a brand new, disposable razor every time you or your hubby shave. Do NOT share towels, etc when any of you have open sores. You can keep the sores covered with gauze to prevent too much spread. And talk with your doctor! She/he should know all about how to better inform you. Unfortunately, MRSA is on the rise, which is just scary. Good luck and as I said, be paranoid with cleanliness. Try this until your whole family has been clear of sores for at least a month. Sympathetic

This is a correction to my earlier reply. I am the person who mentioned that my dad was hospitalized with this last year. My correction is that the detergent soap I mentioned is spelled Hibiclens (not hepiclens). It is available at Walgreens (and likely other drug stores). Also, everything I have shared is based on family experience. I am not sharing this info as a health professional. Good luck. Sympathetic (again)

Hi there- I didn't see the original post on this one, but I just read someone else's reply to you. We (our family) had it recurring for about a year. Make sure you all treat your noses (inside) at the same time with bactroban. And the person who gets the sores needs antibiotics. My daughter would get little pimples on her butt and they would go away on their own but just reappear again and again. It wasn't until she took the antibiotic that they finally disappeared. I got several boils from it and my son only ever got one boil. We took antibiotics for the boils but I was at first taking antibiotics that the MRSA is resistant to because it took us awhile to figure out it was MRSA. My son's pediatrician is the one who finally figured it out and sent me to my own doc to have my nose cultured since I was getting recurring sores. My husband never got any. My nares (nose) cultured postive so I was a carrier after being exposed and needed the nare Bactroban treatment. Many persons who continually get the boils are reinfecting themselves with their own fingers. I read the average person touches their nose many, many times a day. Be diligent about NO nose picking! (I know!) We treated everyone with the bactroban twice for 10 days each time because they came back in between. Don't give up! MRSA is a persistent bug but it can be gotten rid of. The medical community still disagrees about treatment but I say be upfront about what you want. If you have any questions, you may contact me through the moderator. Once in your shoes

Skin staph infection on 8-year-old

July 2005

Does anyone have any information about a natural or alternative treatment for a staph infection on the skin for an 8 year old. This infection is on the skin right behind the ear. It's an angry red color and gets very dry and peely. The doctor has said it is not eczema, but is staph. We really would rather avoid antibiotics. Thanks for any help you can give.....Jason and Linda jason

Please see a doctor and please take the antibiotics any time you have a bacterial infection like this. Not only are they contagious, but people die from staph infections. I had a friend in college, a healthy young man, who had to be hospitalized for a couple of weeks for a systemic staph infection that started out as a small irritation on his toe. Do a google search to learn more about staph infections - they are nothing to fool around with. Please take the antibiotics.

In regards to your staph infection. I hope by now you've seen your doctor or spoken with one.

Just last month I contracted staph and another bacteria through an open blister. It spread very quickly and became blood born. I became infected on a Tuesday and was in the hospital ICU by Friday morning. I was very sick and contracted secondary problems from the infection while in the hospital.

Please don't take such infections lightly. I am a very healthy and relatively young person and I still became deathly ill. The antibiotics I was given were toxic but saved my life. michelle

Recurrent staph infection since giving birth

March 2004

I've had a recurrent skin staph infection for four plus months, since giving birth to my daughter. MRSA, the methicillin resistant staph has been ruled out. Now my 4 & 2 year old have it as well, and I'm trying to keep my baby from getting it. We have all done multiple rounds of oral antibiotics and are using bactroban in our nostrils. It goes away for a week or two after each round of antibiotics, then recurrs with large painful boils. I know how dangerous staph can be if it becomes an internal infection.. so I'm very worried, washing hands, clothes, linens constantly and doing all that I know to do to get this out of my family. Any other ideas/success stories? Please no ''staph killed my cousin stories'' I've heard enough of the horror of it, I just need help or ideas. We've also used phisohex, which keeps it away a little longer, but it always comes back and my most recent Dr (kaiser) says it'll become resistant to that if we keep it up.. thank you. anon

I developed a staph infection of the breast 1 month after giving birth to my son. My OB took it VERY seriously and after it didn't respond to oral antibiotics she eventually hospitalized me for a week so an infectious disease specialist could oversee my treatment and I could receive IV antibiotics. Although your infection seems to be responding to oral antibiotics, but continues to recur, maybe you could ask your doctor for a referral to an infectious disease specialist to be sure you and your family are getting the best treatments possible. Hope that helps. anon