Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Precautions for MRSA

I had a clinic appointment yesterday in which I found out that in my last sputum sample, I cultured MRSA. This was a HUGE blow as MRSA in one of my biggest fears. I've also gone almost a year without a hospitalization (normally I'm doing at least twice a year visits) because I've been extremely compliant and my PFTs had been steadily increasing, so it was kind of a shock to hear that I got it, but not from the hospital. I did a quick CL search on MRSA and came across a question you responded to, and noticed that you have cultured MRSA yourself. Reading that was very calming, as it tells me that you can be healthy even if you have it.

I was hoping that you could answer a few questions based on your experience. You've mentioned before that your doctors said you didn't have to worry about avoiding babies or older individuals- is that true for brand newborns? Did you have to (or choose to) take any extra precautions when Mckenna was born? This is a major worry of mine because my cousins are all having babies that I would like to be able to hold and play with. I also hope to be able to try having children in the somewhat near future, and, although the situation is a tad different considering I would be the one carrying the pregnancy, it would be comforting to hear from a CF parent with MRSA about their experience. Another major concern that I have is that my brother Brian, who also has CF, doesn't have MRSA. I asked my doctor about precautions, as I will be seeing him at Christmas, and he said that we should avoid hugging, but that mask wearing isn't as crucial. Do you have any suggestions there? As much as it's difficult for me to accept that I can't hug my brother the few times I get to see him, I plan to do follow his suggestion, and I have considered wearing a mask anyway, just to be safe.


Culturing anything new is never what we want to hear, but as you've seen me say already - not the end of the world. Of course everyone reacts differently to various bacterias, but I've been told that many US doctors don't believe that MRSA is a huge deal nor has a major impact on the lungs. They feel differently in Europe, but that's neither here nor there.

My lung function started to decline before I contracted MRSA due to "being responsible for my own health" and making poor decisions. I've had MRSA for about 10 years now, but through better adherence and an increase in treatments and exercise, I've been able to increase my lung function back to where it was 10 years ago. It's hard to know if MRSA has had any impact whether it be on lung function or "recovery time".

To answer your questions....
1. I asked as many doctors as I could and they all said the same thing - I did not have to worry about being around my newborn daughter. They said the only people that I would have to take precaution around would be those with no immune system (ie, chemo patients).
2. We did not take any special precautions with Mckenna.
3. A mask would only be useful if you are actively coughing. Otherwise, no contact and not coughing/talking in his direction should be enough.

I wouldn't worry a whole lot about it. Just continue kicking butt by taking care of yourself and discuss with your brother what would make him the most comfortable.