Tag Archives: Spider bite

Straight, No Chaser: What is MRSA? Causes, Prevention & Treatments

One of the things that’s changed a lot from when I first started practicing medicine is people show up every day to the emergency room for mosquito and spider bites.  The local news has done a number on you, as now everyone is afraid of MRSA.
Methicillin-resistant Staph Aureus (MRSA) is a bacterial infection that’s resistant to the penicillin family of drugs that we used for decades to treat many infections. Staph Aureus itself is a bacteria akin to flipping a light switch.  Normally, it resides within us (approximately 30% of us have it in our nostrils but only 2% of us carry the MRSA variety), not causing any problems, but it is also the source of many dangerous and life-threatening illnesses if it enters your bloodstream.
Over the last 50 years of treating Staph infections, resistance to many different antibiotics has occurred, meaning that when a serious infection occurs, it’s potentially very harmful.  The emphasis there should be on potentially.  Most MRSA infections are community-acquired skin infections that resemble a spider or other insect bite but are still mild and are treatable with different antibiotics than historically used.  Regular Staph and MRSA infections are even more likely to occur in those institutionalized (i.e. in hospitals, nursing homes, etc.) and have tubes and wounds.  Consider and discuss the risk with your physician when you see someone on a breathing device, a urinary catheter, needing gauze for surgical wounds or on feeding tubes.  Amazingly, MRSA causes approximately 60% of hospital-acquired Staph infections now.
My primary goal today is to inform you of what you need to know to prevent obtaining these infections and when to be especially diligent in seeking treatment.  It’s really a simple task of maintaining hygiene.  Just prevent that ‘light-switch’ from flipping to the on position and most times you’ll be ok.
1.  Staph is everywhere.  You can best protect yourself by simply practicing good hygiene.  Wash your hands early and often.
2. MRSA is spread by contact. Don’t be so quick to feel and squeeze on someone’s (or your own) boil.  Wash your hands before and after such contact.  Don’t share towels or razors.
3.  Keep any cuts, scratches, nicks or scrapes covered until healed.
If you do see or develop signs of a skin infection (redness, warmth, tenderness, pain and possibly discharge from the wound site), it’s worth contacting your physician to see if s/he’d like to start antibiotics or drain a possible abscess.
So… don’t be afraid, be smart.  Prevention is key.

Hand_Washing_MRSA

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2018 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: MRSA, the Big, Bad Staph Infection

One of the things that’s changed a lot from when I first started practicing medicine is people show up every day to the emergency room for mosquito and spider bites.  The local news has done a number on you, as now everyone is afraid of MRSA.
Methicillin-resistant Staph Aureus (MRSA) is a bacterial infection that’s resistant to the penicillin family of drugs that we used for decades to treat many infections. Staph Aureus itself is a bacteria akin to flipping a light switch.  Normally, it resides within us (approximately 30% of us have it in our nostrils but only 2% of us carry the MRSA variety), not causing any problems, but it is also the source of many dangerous and life-threatening illnesses if it enters your bloodstream.
Over the last 50 years of treating Staph infections, resistance to many different antibiotics has occurred, meaning that when a serious infection occurs, it’s potentially very harmful.  The emphasis there should be on potentially.  Most MRSA infections are community-acquired skin infections that resemble a spider or other insect bite but are still mild and are treatable with different antibiotics than historically used.  Regular Staph and MRSA infections are even more likely to occur in those institutionalized (i.e. in hospitals, nursing homes, etc.) and have tubes and wounds.  Consider and discuss the risk with your physician when you see someone on a breathing device, a urinary catheter, needing gauze for surgical wounds or on feeding tubes.  Amazingly, MRSA causes approximately 60% of hospital-acquired Staph infections now.
My primary goal today is to inform you of what you need to know to prevent obtaining these infections and when to be especially diligent in seeking treatment.  It’s really a simple task of maintaining hygiene.  Just prevent that ‘light-switch’ from flipping to the on position and most times you’ll be ok.
1.  Staph is everywhere.  You can best protect yourself by simply practicing good hygiene.  Wash your hands early and often.
2. MRSA is spread by contact. Don’t be so quick to feel and squeeze on someone’s (or your own) boil.  Wash your hands before and after such contact.  Don’t share towels or razors.
3.  Keep any cuts, scratches, nicks or scrapes covered until healed.
If you do see or develop signs of a skin infection (redness, warmth, tenderness, pain and possibly discharge from the wound site), it’s worth contacting your physician to see if s/he’d like to start antibiotics or drain a possible abscess.
So… don’t be afraid, be smart.  Prevention is key.Hand_Washing_MRSA
 
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress
 

Straight, No Chaser: MRSA, the Big, Bad Staph Infection

MRSA
One of the things that’s changed a lot from when I first started practicing medicine is people show up every day to the emergency room for mosquito and spider bites.  The local news has done a number on you, as now everyone is afraid of MRSA.
Methicillin-resistant Staph Aureus (MRSA) is a bacterial infection that’s resistant to the penicillin family of drugs that we used for decades to treat many infections. Staph Aureus itself is a bacteria akin to flipping a light switch.  Normally, it resides within us (approximately 30% of us have it in our nostrils but only 2% of us carry the MRSA variety), not causing any problems, but it is also the source of many dangerous and life-threatening illnesses if it enters your bloodstream.
Over the last 50 years of treating Staph infections, resistance to many different antibiotics has occurred, meaning that when a serious infection occurs, it’s potentially very harmful.  The emphasis there should be on potentially.  Most MRSA infections are community-acquired skin infections that resemble a spider or other insect bite but are still mild and are treatable with different antibiotics than historically used.  Regular Staph and MRSA infections are even more likely to occur in those institutionalized (i.e. in hospitals, nursing homes, etc.) and have tubes and wounds.  Consider and discuss the risk with your physician when you see someone on a breathing device, a urinary catheter, needing gauze for surgical wounds or on feeding tubes.  Amazingly, MRSA causes approximately 60% of hospital-acquired Staph infections now.
My primary goal today is to inform you of what you need to know to prevent obtaining these infections and when to be especially diligent in seeking treatment.  It’s really a simple task of maintaining hygiene.  Just prevent that ‘light-switch’ from flipping to the on position and most times you’ll be ok.
1.  Staph is everywhere.  You can best protect yourself by simply practicing good hygiene.  Wash your hands early and often.
2. MRSA is spread by contact. Don’t be so quick to feel and squeeze on someone’s (or your own) boil.  Wash your hands before and after such contact.  Don’t share towels or razors.
3.  Keep any cuts, scratches, nicks or scrapes covered until healed.
If you do see or develop signs of a skin infection (redness, warmth, tenderness, pain and possibly discharge from the wound site), it’s worth contacting your physician to see if s/he’d like to start antibiotics or drain a possible abscess.
So… don’t be afraid, be smart.  Prevention is key.
Hand_Washing_MRSA
Feel free to ask any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2016 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Spider Bites

Black Widow Spider Bites Cookies

Everything’s bigger in Texas, they say. I recall the first time I saw a banana spider. The thing seemed to be as big as my fist. The only thing more surprising than that was discovering that wasps actually kill and eat spiders. I thought it was supposed to be the other way around… Anyway, I originally typed this after seeing a patient who was working around the house (or farm or barn as the case is around here), and he had placed his hand in the woodshed, subsequently getting bitten by a big spider with a red hourglass appearance. Of course, the mother was excited and wanted to know if he was going to die. The father wasn’t too concerned because he was just in Missouri a month ago and had been bitten by a spider that looked like it had a violin on its back (You can’t make this stuff up!).

spider_dog

Not a day goes by when I don’t see several patients bitten or stung by various insects, including fire ants, mosquitos, bees, wasps, ticks, scorpions and spiders. Usually everyone’s worried about a Staph infection. It’s important to note that only four American species of spiders are known to be dangerous to humans. However, there are only two types of spiders that are worth mentioning as a cause of significant disease.
blackwidow

Black widow spider bites are even more interesting when they’re not eating their mates after procreation (fun fact: North American black widow spiders don’t usually do that; it’s actually the Australian brand that does). They prefer to avoid humans, hanging out in outhouses, garages and the like. They become aggressive when disturbed (particularly if there’s an egg sac around), and if you’ve been bitten, it was by a female. You’ll know it was a black widow because of its red hourglass underside.
The black widow spider injects a powerful nerve toxin into humans. Once bitten, you’ll feel pain, but the real symptoms are likely to start about 20 minutes later. Among other things, this venom produces symptoms that mimic appendicitis. Patients can develop abdominal pain and rigidity, tremor, weakness, chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness and fainting. People at the extremes of age are more at risk for serious complications. Otherwise, reactions are rarely life threatening.
brownrecluse

The brown recluse spider is native to the Midwest and Southeastern U.S. You’ll recognize this one by its distinctive violin pattern on its back near where its legs attach. As the name suggests, they’re not at all aggressive and tend to bite only when it’s pressed against its victim’s skin. These spiders like warm and dry environments (think attics, closets, basements, porches, barns and woodpiles).
The Brown recluse also injects a powerful venom – more so than a rattlesnake – who’s lethality is only limited because it’s such a small creature. Its venom rapidly destroys the cells it’s injected into, causing necrosis and tissue death (This is decreased as having a ‘volcano-like’ appearance at the bite site. The picture below is a demonstration of this.). This destruction has secondary effects in humans, including kidney damage and failure, red blood cell and platelet (your clotting cells) destruction, formation of blood clots, coma and death (rarely). Deaths have only been reported in children less than age seven by the brown recluse.

volcanolesion

Here’s your Quick Tip do’s and no’s for Spider Bites:
Do’s

  • Get to the ER. Not your Doctor’s office. Not the Urgent Care.
  • Elevate the area above your heart.
  • Wash with soap and cool water.
  • Tylenol for pain.
  • Apply ice.

No’s

  • No waiting to see if it gets better.
  • No heat.
  • No suction.
  • No cutting away tissue.
  • No tourniquets.

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of 844-SMA-TALK and http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA). Enjoy some of our favorite posts and frequently asked questions as well as a daily note explaining the benefits of SMA membership. Please share our page with your Friends on WordPress, on Facebook at SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2014 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: MRSA, the Big, Bad Staph Infection

MRSA
One of the things that’s changed a lot from when I first started practicing medicine is people show up every day to the emergency room for mosquito and spider bites.  The local news has done a number on you, as now everyone is afraid of MRSA.
Methicillin-resistant Staph Aureus (MRSA) is a bacterial infection that’s resistant to the penicillin family of drugs that we used for decades to treat many infections. Staph Aureus itself is a bacteria akin to flipping a light switch.  Normally, it resides within us (approximately 30% of us have it in our nostrils but only 2% of us carry the MRSA variety), not causing any problems, but it is also the source of many dangerous and life-threatening illnesses if it enters your bloodstream.
Over the last 50 years of treating Staph infections, resistance to many different antibiotics has occurred, meaning that when a serious infection occurs, it’s potentially very harmful.  The emphasis there should be on potentially.  Most MRSA infections are community-acquired skin infections that resemble a spider or other insect bite but are still mild and are treatable with different antibiotics than historically used.  Regular Staph and MRSA infections are even more likely to occur in those institutionalized (i.e. in hospitals, nursing homes, etc.) and have tubes and wounds.  Consider and discuss the risk with your physician when you see someone on a breathing device, a urinary catheter, needing gauze for surgical wounds or on feeding tubes.  Amazingly, MRSA causes approximately 60% of hospital-acquired Staph infections now.
My primary goal today is to inform you of what you need to know to prevent obtaining these infections and when to be especially diligent in seeking treatment.  It’s really a simple task of maintaining hygiene.  Just prevent that ‘light-switch’ from flipping to the on position and most times you’ll be ok.
1.  Staph is everywhere.  You can best protect yourself by simply practicing good hygiene.  Wash your hands early and often.
2. MRSA is spread by contact. Don’t be so quick to feel and squeeze on someone’s (or your own) boil.  Wash your hands before and after such contact.  Don’t share towels or razors.
3.  Keep any cuts, scratches, nicks or scrapes covered until healed.
If you do see or develop signs of a skin infection (redness, warmth, tenderness, pain and possibly discharge from the wound site), it’s worth contacting your physician to see if s/he’d like to start antibiotics or drain a possible abscess.
So… don’t be afraid, be smart.  Prevention is key.
Hand_Washing_MRSA
Copyright © 2013 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Spider Bites – Emergency Room Adventures, Part I

volcanolesion

And I thought I was done with stuff biting you for a while… Everything’s bigger in Texas, they say. I recall the first time I saw a banana spider. The thing seemed to be as big as my fist. The only thing more surprising than that was discovering that wasps actually kill and eat spiders. I thought it was supposed to be the other way around… Anyway, I’m typing this immediately after seeing a patient who’s working around the house (or farm or barn as the case is around here), and he put his hand in the woodshed and got bit by a big spider with a red hourglass appearance. Of course, the mother’s excited and wants to know if he’s going to die. The father’s not too concerned because he was just in Missouri a month ago and was bitten by a spider that looked like it had a violin on its back (You can’t make this stuff up!).

Not a day goes by when I don’t see several patients bitten or stung by various insects, including fire ants, mosquitos, bees, wasps, ticks, scorpions and spiders. Usually everyone’s worried about a Staph infection. It’s important to note that only four American species of spiders are known to be dangerous to humans. However, there are only two types of spiders that are worth mentioning as a cause of significant disease.

blackwidow

Black widow spider bites are even more interesting when they’re not eating their mates after procreation (fun fact: North American black widow spiders don’t usually do that; it’s actually the Australian brand that does). They prefer to avoid humans, hanging out in outhouses, garages and the like. They become aggressive when disturbed (particularly if there’s an egg sac around), and if you’ve been bitten, it was by a female. You’ll know it was a black widow because of its red hourglass underside.

The black widow spider injects a powerful nerve toxin into humans. Once bitten, you’ll feel pain, but the real symptoms are likely to start about 20” later. Among other things, this venom produces symptoms that mimic appendicitis. Patients can develop abdominal pain and rigidity, tremor, weakness, chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness and fainting. People at the extremes of age are more at risk for serious complications. Otherwise, reactions are rarely life threatening.

brownrecluse

The brown recluse spider is native to the Midwest and Southeastern U.S. You’ll recognize this one by its distinctive violin pattern on its back near where its legs attach. As the name suggests, they’re not at all aggressive and tend to bite only when it’s pressed against its victim’s skin. These spiders like warm and dry environments (think attics, closets, basements, porches, barns and woodpiles).

The Brown recluse also injects a powerful venom – more so than a rattlesnake – who’s lethality is only limited because it’s such a small creature. Its venom rapidly destroys the cells it’s injected into, causing necrosis and tissue death (This is decreased as having a ‘volcano-like’ appearance at the bite site. The lead picture is a demonstration of this.). This destruction has secondary effects in humans, including kidney damage and failure, red blood cell and platelet (your clotting cells) destruction, formation of blood clots, coma and death (rarely). Deaths have only been reported in children less than age seven by the brown recluse.

Here’s your Quick Tip do’s and no’s for Spider Bites:

Do’s

  • Get to the ER. Not your Doctor’s office. Not the Urgent Care.
  • Elevate the area above your heart.
  • Wash with soap and cool water.
  • Tylenol for pain.
  • Apply ice.

No’s

  • No waiting to see if it gets better.
  • No heat.
  • No suction.
  • No cutting away tissue.
  • No tourniquets.