Frank Litchenberger, MD, PhD, Medical Director at AD RescueWear
Eczema makes your skin susceptible to skin infections, especially during a flare-up. And while getting an infection on top of your eczema symptoms is bad, getting one that doesn’t respond to antibiotics is even worse. That’s why MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), a type of staph bacteria that’s immune to some of the most common antibiotics, is particularly concerning for those with eczema.
“Most people don’t have to worry about MRSA unless they’re in a hospital or care facility where it tends to spread more readily,” said Dr. Frank Lichtenberger, M.D., Ph.D., medical director at AD RescueWear. “But patients with eczema may carry MRSA chronically, which can infect the affected skin when there is a flare.”
What Puts People with Eczema at Risk for MRSA?
Skin is a barrier that keeps germs out of the body. When that protective barrier is broken or damaged, its ability to prevent bacteria and viruses from taking root is compromised. During an eczema flare, inflamed and irritated skin and open sores provide entry points for bacteria that are lurking on the surface, waiting for the right opportunity.
One in three people naturally have staph bacteria on their skin surface or the inside of their noses. (It may even be an eczema trigger, but research is still in progress.) MRSA can cause a skin infection, and more rarely, spread to internal organs.
What Are the Signs of a MRSA Infection?
Signs of a MRSA infection include:
How Is MRSA Treated?
It’s difficult to treat MRSA because the symptoms it produces are the same as those from a regular staph infection. And, the commonly prescribed antibiotics that would work with regular staph infections are ineffective against MRSA. However, your doctor can swab your skin to get a sample (called a culture) for further analysis. Once the bacteria are identified, your doctor can prescribe the most appropriate antibiotics for your specific strain of MRSA.
How Can You Prevent a MRSA Infection?
- The best way for people with eczema to prevent a MRSA infection is to avoid triggers and protect skin during flares. You can do the following to protect skin from staph bacteria:
- Maintain a bathing and moisturizing routine.
- A soothing bath and a thick layer of eczema-safe moisturizer or prescribed lotion help to fortify the skin’s barrier.
- Try bleach baths. Although it sounds scary, bleach baths are safe for babies, children and adults with eczema. The small amount of bleach in the bathwater decreases the number of bacteria on the skin (Consult with your doctor before trying a bleach bath.).
- Consistently apply medications.
- Use a medical garment or eczema wrap to protect your skin.
Covering the skin with non-irritating fabric used in our medical bodysuits, tops and bottoms, keeps skin from coming into contact with triggers. The special fabric is also excellent for using in wet wrap therapy — applying damp fabric over moisturized skin to create a healing environment — to reduce symptoms of moderate to severe eczema.
Where Can You Find Products that Prevent Eczema Flares?
Find all the products you need for managing eczema flares in our store — from bed sheets that won’t make you itch to eczema skincare products to protective clothing. So, you can feel good about doing everything you can to keep your skin healthy and calm.
NOTE: This content is for informational purposes only and is not intended to serve as a substitute for a consultation, diagnosis and/or medical treatment by a healthcare provider.