MRSA infections can be deadly. Spider bites are a mild irritation. Mistaking one for the other is perilous, and being able to tell the difference between the two can prevent unnecessary panic – or save a life.
Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, is a strain of staphylococcus aureus that has become resistant to antibiotics such as penicillin or cephalosporin. This antibiotic-resistant strain is no more dangerous than typical staphylococcus, but it is more difficult to treat. A typical staph infection is generally mild and easily resolved with antibiotics. As MRSA is resistant to antibiotics, treatment can be much more complicated.
In most cases, the presence of MRSA bacteria does not lead to the onset of the disease; a healthy body is usually able to fend off the bacteria. In an immune-compromised person or a person with open wounds though, the bacteria can cause an infection. MRSA has been called a “flesh-eating bacterium” because of its ability to destroy the skin. MRSA can cause pneumonia and septicemia, resulting in death. According to a joint study by Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Rockefeller University, 30 percent of patients diagnosed with MRSA died of the disease (Can You Die From MRSA?). Early detection of MRSA can improve prognosis and reduce the likelihood of infecting others.
Characteristics of MRSA
Lesions left by MRSA infections are usually red in color, about the size of a quarter, and commonly found on the extremities. Another sign of MRSA infection is a cut that is swollen, hot to the touch, and filled with pus. MRSA can cause pus-filled blisters to appear. It can infect other areas of the body such as the lungs, joints, and eyes, although skin infections are the most common.
Some people may carry MRSA and infect others, but show no signs of infection themselves. These people are called “carriers” and can only be identified by medical testing. A simple nasal swab is sufficient to collect a sample of the bacterial culture.
MRSA can also cause cellulitis, an infection under the skin marked by small red bumps and itchiness. Children with the disease will experience the same symptoms as adults (MRSA Symptoms In Children).
Characteristics of Spider Bites
The physical characteristics of a spider bite (Spider Bites – badspiderbites.com) will depend on the severity of the bite. A spider bite will generally cause no pain at first, but swell and cause pain 2 to 8 hours afterward. Spider bites will show spreading redness and small puncture marks. The flesh around the bite mark may swell. If bitten by a brown recluse spider (Brown Recluse Spider Bite Leading To MRSA), the flesh will blister, harden, and slough off, leaving a crater-like or volcano-like scar. Spider bites rarely cause the pus-filled blisters, boils, or cysts for which MRSA is known. MRSA commonly causes fever and chills, symptoms for which spider bites are not generally responsible.
MRSA infections are dangerous, easily spread from one person to another, and can be deadly. A spider bite can cause mild irritation, but often resolves itself after a few days. Any unusual symptoms such as fever, chills, pus-filled blisters, or cysts are indicators of MRSA. Anyone experiencing such symptoms should seek prompt treatment.