Community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) is a strain of "staph" bacteria resistant to antibiotics in the penicillin family, which have been the cornerstone of antibiotic therapy for staph and skin infections for decades. CA-MRSA previously infected only small segments of the population, such as health care workers and persons using injection drugs. However, CA-MRSA is now a common cause of skin infections in the general population. While CA-MRSA bacteria are resistant to penicillin and penicillin-related antibiotics, most staph infections with CA-MRSA can be easily treated by health care practitioners using local skin care and commonly available non-penicillin-family antibiotics. Rarely, CA-MRSA can cause serious skin and soft tissue (deeper) infections. Staph infections typically start as small red bumps or pus-filled bumps, which can rapidly turn into deep, painful sores. If you see a red bump or pus-filled bump on the skin that is worsening or showing any signs of infection (ie, the area becomes increasingly painful, red, or swollen), see your doctor right away. Many patients believe incorrectly that these bumps are the result of a spider bite when they arrive at the doctor's office. Your doctor may need to test (culture) infected skin for MRSA before starting antibiotics. If you have a skin problem that resembles a CA-MRSA infection or a culture that is positive for MRSA, your doctor may need to provide local skin care and prescribe oral antibiotics. To prevent spread of infection to others, infected wounds, hands, and other exposed body areas should be kept clean and wounds should be covered during therapy.
Factors that predispose individuals to developing an abscess include:
- Any skin infection, especially those that are untreated
- Intravenous drug abuse
- Weakened immune system due to underlying illness or medication
You might be able to sense fluid in an abscess when you press on the abscess with a finger.
If your symptoms are not improving or it is determined that the bacterium is not one of the common types, your doctor may prescribe different antibiotics. If your doctor prescribes antibiotics, it is important to take the entire course as prescribed, even if you are feeling better or the infection appears to be gone after just a few days. If you have been taking antibiotics and the infection itself or the way you are generally feeling have not improved in about 2–3 days, return to see your doctor.