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What are MRSA Boils?

By J.M. Willhite
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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MRSA boils are a physical symptom that manifests in the presence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection. Considered a form of dermal staph infection, MRSA boils present as progressive skin sores that form a boil of contained infection, which without proper treatment can lead to abscess formation. Individuals with MRSA boils may undergo diagnostic testing to confirm the presence of staph infection, which generally prompts the administration of aggressive antibiotic medications. Treatment involves the draining of infection from the boil to promote appropriate healing and prevent the spread of infection to other parts of the body.

It has been asserted that methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infection results from the over-use of antibiotic medications which leaves certain individuals vulnerable to the staph bacteria. MRSA infection is most frequently acquired either in the community or an institutional setting, such as a long-term care facility or hospital. A fairly ubiquitous microorganism, this type of staph bacterium is usually only considered a threat to individuals who have been recently hospitalized, possess compromised immunity, or engage in contact sports where injuries are likely to occur.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infection is generally diagnosed with the administration of a skin biopsy or tissue sample taken from the affected area or lesion. Submitted for laboratory analysis, test results are usually available within a couple of days. During the interim, it is not uncommon for individuals with MRSA boils to be given aggressive antibiotic medications in anticipation of a positive test result.

Transmitted through dermal contact, namely abrasions or cuts, staph bacteria generally immediately settle into their new environment causing redness and irritation. MRSA boils will usually adopt a pimple-like appearance that quickly fills with pus. Sensitive to touch, the sore progressively hardens as it fills with infection, causing a white “head” to form. If left untreated, the boil can progress to form an abscess that tunnels down into the skin causing additional complications by promoting the spread of infection.

Individuals with MRSA infection frequently present with flu-like symptoms that include fever, chills, and widespread muscle discomfort. Some may experience pronounced fatigue, persistent cough, and an impaired ability to breathe properly. Those with MRSA boils may or may not present with such additional signs and symptoms of infection, so it is important to monitor their condition for any changes. MRSA infection spreads quickly and, in certain cases, one’s condition can deteriorate rapidly, requiring prompt and appropriate medical attention.

Most MRSA boils are treated with a lancing of the sore’s surface to allow the infection to drain, which is essential to the healing process. Precautions must be taken during the draining process since the liquid infection, or pus, poses a threat of reinfection if not handled properly. After the infection has been drained, antibiotic medications may continue to be administered to ensure the elimination of any remaining infection. Individuals placed on antibiotics for this purpose are usually strongly encouraged to finish the entire prescription to ensure the infection has been eradicated from their system and to lessen their chance for reinfection.

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Discussion Comments
By Wisedly33 — On Dec 30, 2014

These things are nasty. My cousin was in a wreck and damaged his spleen, which of course, helps boost the immune system. He's had MRSA boils a couple of times since then.

He's a healthy guy otherwise. He gets plenty of exercise, etc., but he's always on the lookout to avoid infections because of his spleen damage. I don't remember if he takes flu shots, or if he can because he's considered immune compromised. His doctor said with this last round of boils, he was lucky to get them in time, that the infection was really aggressive and the antibiotics took a while to start working. At least he works for his grandfather, so he won't lose his job if he's in the hospital. It's happened to some people I know.

By Scrbblchick — On Dec 29, 2014

A friend of mine is just getting over a bout with MRSA boils. He was hospitalized for five days. People had to gown up when they went to see him because he was very contagious.

He started with one boil on his chest, and another one popped out. He felt really bad and went to the ER, and they lanced the boils, but the doctor wanted to culture them, and they grew out MRSA. They admitted him immediately, and he really needed to be there because he's diabetic and his blood sugar was sky-high, which isn't unusual when a diabetic has an infection.

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