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News and Information About MRSA

The illness and symptoms

MRSA is a type of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria normally carried on the skin and in the nose of healthy people. Some staph bacteria are resistant to the class of antibiotics usually used to treat staph infections, such as methicillin, and are referred to as Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus. If a diagnosis of MRSA is made, the infection is treated with a different antibiotic.

This infection commonly causes boils and soft tissue infection. The symptoms may include redness, areas warm to the touch, pain, drainage, discomfort, and swelling. If your child is displaying any of these symptoms or if you have concerns about your child’s health, please contact your family physician. It is very important to report a diagnosed or suspected infectious condition to the school nurse, as well as the athletic trainer (if an athlete). As always, health information is kept strictly confidential.

South Colonie reports any known cases of MRSA involving students to the Albany County Health Department. In this event, a school nurse will follow up with the physician(s) of students who have either been referred for screening or have tested positive.

Steps South Colonie has taken to ensure the safety and well-being of students:

  • Classrooms, athletic facilities and buses are regularly cleaned and disinfected. For the last several years South Colonie has used a cleaning agent that is designed to kill MRSA bacteria.

  • We continue to reinforce good hygiene practices with our general student populations and our student athletes. Health authorities say this illness is more likely to occur in populations where individuals work in close quarters and may share personal objects like towels.

  • Please encourage your children to wash their hands thoroughly with soap, which health authorities tell us is the best preventive for this infection.

  • All physical education teachers have been provided with information on how to prevent the spread of infection.

  • Equipment in the weight room is sprayed after each use by each athlete or staff member.

  • Benches in the locker rooms are wiped down with an antiseptic.

  • School nurses have increased building-wide efforts to encourage students to wash hands regularly.

Steps to help avoid an MRSA infection include:

  • Wash your hands frequently and carefully;

  • Avoid sharing personal items such as towels and razors;

  • Athletes should avoid sharing equipment;

  • Athletic equipment/mats should be wiped down after use with commercial disinfectant or a 1:100 solution of diluted bleach;

  • Athletes should shower after practices and competitions; and

  • Anyone with an open wound or cut should keep it protected by a dressing or bandage.

If you or your child is displaying any of these symptoms, or if you have concerns about your child's health, please contact your family physician. If your child has a confirmed or suspected infection, please contact your school nurse.