Treating MRSA infection 

If you are diagnosed with an MRSA infection, your recommended treatment plan will depend on several factors.

These include:

  • the type of infection you have
  • the site of the infection
  • the severity of your symptoms
  • the antibiotics that the specific strain of MSRA is sensitive to

Some possible treatment plans are outlined below.

Colonisation

You may be screened for MRSA if you are going into hospital. If you are found to be colonised with MRSA (where bacteria are present on your body but they do not cause any symptoms), removing the bacteria is usually relatively straightforward.

An antibacterial bodywash or powder can be used to remove MRSA from your skin. A cream can be used to remove it from inside your nose and an antibacterial shampoo can be used to remove it from your scalp.

You will usually be asked to repeat the process once a day for five days. You do not have to be admitted to hospital to carry out the process. You can do it at home before you go into hospital.

Read more about screening for MRSA.

Skin and soft tissue infections

Minor skin and soft tissue infections, such as smaller boils or abscesses, may only require a treatment called incision and drainage.

Incision and drainage involves piercing the tip of the boil or abscess with a sterile needle or scalpel. This encourages the pus to drain out, which should help relieve pain and stimulate the recovery process. Before having the procedure, you are likely to be given a local anaesthetic to numb the affected area.

More extensive skin infections, such as cellulitis (an infection of the underlying layers of skin), will usually require a 5- to 10-day course of antibiotic tablets.

It is hard to predict what antibiotic you will be given. The choice depends on the result of testing and, in some cases, what part of the country you live in. Different regions of England often have different patterns of antibiotic resistance.

You're likely to be given a 7- to 14-day course of antibiotic injections if you develop a skin or soft tissue infection in hospital and you're more vulnerable to the effects of the infection. This might be because you have burns or a surgical wound.

Invasive infections and MRSA carriers in hospital

If you are found to carry MRSA, or are infected with MRSA in hospital, it's likely that you will need to be transferred to an isolation room. This reduces the risk of the bacteria spreading to other patients and possibly infecting them.

You may be placed in a room by yourself or in a small ward with other people who have an MRSA infection. You should still be able to have visitors, but it is very important that they clean their hands thoroughly before and after visiting you and before and after touching you.

Treatment for an invasive MRSA infection will involve a course of antibiotic injections. Depending on the type and location of the infection, this could last up to six weeks.

A combination of antibiotics may be used.

Click on the links below for more information about different types of invasive infection:

Caring for wounds after surgery

The hospital will advise you how long to leave a dressing in place after surgery.

If you need to change the dressing at home, make sure your hands are clean and try not to touch the wound.

If you notice any signs of infection, such as swelling, pus or fever, speak to your GP or call NHS 111. You could also visit an NHS walk-in centre or minor injuries unit.

Read more about preventing MRSA infection.

Page last reviewed: 13/06/2013

Next review due: 13/06/2015