By Jennifer Griswold. CREATED Sep 10, 2013
Omaha, NE - You may think about how your child could take a hit on the football field or catch a cold in the classroom, but you may not realize there's the potential for another problem. Staphylococcus aureus or staph is typically relatively harmless but not always. MRSA is a form of staph that is resistant to first-line medications. And some forms of staph can wreck havoc on the system.
Dr. Mark Rupp specializes in infectious disease at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. He says those worst case scenarios can happen. "Unfortunately every now and the organism is able to escape through the defenses of the skin and the local barriers and get into the blood stream." Some forms of staph can adhere to other tissues in our body such as heart valves and joints.
Dr. Rupp doesn't want people to be fearful but be smart. He says schools and athletic directors should keep equipment and shared-areas disinfected.
Sharon Wade is the supervisor of health services at Omaha Public Schools. She says they've met with athletic directors to make sure they're fighting against the potential spread of staph. That includes making sure athletes keep cuts covered. "If they do have any open areas, we want them covered just because they'd have the potential to either receive the staph infection or to spread it to someone else if they're infected."
Dr. Rupp says parents shouldn't feel they have to take their kid in every time there's a small bump or inflammation on the skin. However, he said if something isn't healing or if it's a larger boil, you should go to the doctor.
You can learn more about staph infections and the research going on in this field at UNMC by checking out the UNMC Center for Staphylococcal Research.
OPS also explains how they work to prevent the spread of MRSA on their web site.