Parents on lookout for staph during summer camps

Barbara Raines
Barbara Raines
Grady Lowery
Grady Lowery

By Holley Nees - email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - With summer camps and students going off to college, health experts say parents should be on the lookout for methicillin-resistant staphorious or the MRSA strain of staph.

It starts small, but could be life-threatening if it's not treated. They see it over and over in the lab and especially in the summer.

"We do see a little bit more of it and anytime your child goes to camp, they're living in close quarters first of all where you share a lot of things," said Barbara Raines, director of infection at Memorial Hospital.

The MRSA strain of staph is more resistant to antibiotics than regular staph infections.

"A lot of times, it will first show up as just a little red mosquito bite and usually these infections get bigger and depending on the source, they can, you know they'll start draining," said Raines.

Workers in the Memorial Microbiology Lab say a lot of the cultures they test are staph and about 75 percent of those staph cultures turn out to be MRSA.

It's spread by skin to skin contact, or touching a surface that an infected person has already touched. So she says summer camps and gyms can be hot spots for the infection.

"Especially any kind of sports camp, it's important to wash the equipment down after each use," said Raines.

That's why antibacterial dispensers and disinfectant wipes have become part of the equipment at one Lufkin gym and day campers are encouraged to stay germ free.

"Wash your hands.  You know we pick up things with our hands and we put them in our mouths or on our eyes and so if the kids will wash their hands several times a day that really helps prevent some of those infections," said Grady Lowery, owner of Livewell.

Experts say be proactive because MRSA could turn life-threatening.

"Check your kids out when they come back from camp to make sure that they don't have any of these little bumps pop up and if they do you need to watch them very close," said Raines.

Because if you get it once, you could be more likely to have it again. If you think your child may have staph, contact your doctor for the appropriate treatment.

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