Part of the Bay Area News Group

Staph session, take two

By asoglin
Wednesday, October 31st, 2007 at 11:57 am in Health & Safety.

GermsHere’s our Halloween prediction : somewhere in those hordes of trick-or-treaters, there’s bound to be someone dressed as a staph infection – and if you could snap a photo and send it to us, we’d be much obliged. We’re running out of non-gross artwork to adorn these updates.

OK, folks, it’s true. The number of confirmed, drug-resistant staph infections is rising in local schools. Now we’ve got three Pleasant Hill students diagnosed with MRSA – a 6th and 8th grader at Sequoia Middle School and a 2nd grader at Sequoia Elementary.

Now, we hear there’s another, unconfirmed case at Northgate High in Walnut Creek and one, confirmed, at Martinez’ Alhambra High, where two kids had it earlier this year. If you’re keeping score, that brings the East Bay school total to 12. The vast majority are just fine and they’re back in school. The rest are home, swallowing large pills. For help putting all this in perspective, read on …

It’s common to panic when you start hearing about a sudden rash (pardon the pun) of infections, but this is not an epidemic. And it’s not particularly sudden either. But heightened awareness means parents are notifying schools when their kid gets a high-octane staph infection – before, they might have said their kid was simply out sick. And schools are responding, appropriately, by scrubbing down classrooms and alerting the community. All good stuff, but it does tend to make for scary headlines.

So do not start pouring alcohol-based Purell over your child’s body. Do make sure your kids are washing their hands frequently. And when junior trips and skins his knee, wash the wound carefully, apply a topical antiobiotic and cover it with a bandage, just like always. If the wound does not start healing within 48 hours, if it suddenly turns hot, puffy and painful, then call your doc and get it checked out. Do not panic. MRSA is drug-resistant, not drug-impervious.
Jackie Burrell

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