Depending on how severe your infection is, MRSA wounds can take from a few days to several months to heal. MRSA infections can range from a minor skin infection to a much more serious systemic infection.
MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is an infection caused by staph bacteria that has become resistant to most common antibiotics. It’s easily transmitted in healthcare settings, busy communities, gyms, and schools. While not always serious, MRSA can be highly contagious.
Most often, MRSA appears as a skin infection but can spread throughout the body. It may progress through stages, and the resulting wounds can take more time to heal.
This article examines each of those different healing stages and the types of treatment that might be necessary as MRSA wounds go through their healing stages.
The timing all depends on how serious your infection is, how far its spread, your overall health, and your response to treatment.
If you’re prescribed antibiotics, it’s important to finish your course of medications — even if symptoms have gone away. This can help prevent the infection from becoming more resistant to antibiotic treatment.
MRSA treatment often also involves wound care, such as cleaning and draining the area of infection. The healing stages for MRSA wounds vary based on how severe the infection is and your overall health.
In general, MRSA
- Hemostasis: This is an initial stage when the wound begins to heal by clotting. In MRSA, this stage may not always be obvious.
- Inflammation: This is the first real stage of healing. The affected area will look swollen and red. This is because your immune system is defending against the bacteria. You may also see pus forming at the infection site during this stage. This stage may last several days.
- Proliferation: This is when new tissue begins building, the wound contracts, and the infection clears. Wound edges start to pull together.
- Remodeling: During this stage, collagen aligns, and the wound fully closes. A scar may form at the MRSA infection site. Sometimes this will fade with time.
Throughout the MRSA healing stages, pus formation needs to be cleaned and drained from the area. It’s very important to keep the wound clean and change any dressings frequently so that MRSA does not spread to other body parts or transfer to other people.
The progression of MRSA and related wound infection can be categorized as follows:
- Contamination: This is when bacteria are present in a wound without any host reaction.
- Colonization: This is when MRSA is in a wound and begins to multiply. It’s possible at this stage to unknowingly transfer MRSA even if you do not have any symptoms.
- Local infection: The bacteria move further into the wound tissue and continue to multiply, causing symptoms of infection. MRSA infection symptoms might look like swelling, redness, warmth, pain, and pus drainage.
- Systemic infection: Rarely, MRSA infection can lead to sepsis, a full-body system infection. Without treatment, sepsis can be life threatening. Symptoms might include fever, chills, low blood pressure, and organ failure.
Once treatment begins, healing time for MRSA-related infections can vary from a few days to a few months. The healing time for MRSA also depends on which stage of healing the treatment began in:
- Inflammation: The main goal at this stage is to limit further damage and remove harmful bacteria. This stage of healing can last for several days.
- Proliferation: The wound will begin healing, and the infection will start to clear. This may take a few weeks depending on the severity of the wound and infection.
- Remodeling: This
phasewill start around week 3 and last up to 12 months, as excess collagen degrades and the wound works to fully close.
Overall, the healing time for MRSA can vary greatly, depending on the severity of the infection and your overall health. It’s important to work with your healthcare professional to complete a full course of treatment for MRSA.
The time it takes for a MRSA wound to close can vary depending on the severity of the infection, the location of the wound, and your overall health.
In general, a mild MRSA skin infection may start to improve within a few days of starting treatment, with the wound beginning to close shortly afterward.
Deeper or more extensive skin infections, such as abscesses, may take several weeks or more of treatment and wound care.
The treatment for MRSA can vary depending on the stage of the infection:
- Colonization: No treatment is usually needed at this stage, but good hygiene practices are important to minimize MRSA spreading within the body and being transferred outside of the body.
- Local infection: Treatment for mild skin infections can include taking antibiotics, such as trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim), clindamycin, or doxycycline, for
roughly 5–14 days. Treatment plans and their duration vary depending on a person’s medical needs and how the infection responds to treatment. Keeping any wound cleaned and dressed is also important for healing.
- Systemic infection: For deeper skin infections or a systemic spread, intravenous antibiotics, hospitalization and sometimes surgery may be needed.
Other treatment recommendations in addition to antibiotics and wound care may include pain relief measures, and possibly physical therapy depending on the severity and infection location.
MRSA infections can range from a minor skin infection to a much more serious systemic infection. The severity and location of the infection will affect the treatment recommendations and healing times.
MRSA infections without symptoms do not usually require treatment. An early stage skin infection is usually only treated with antibiotics and careful wound care, while a more severe infection will require intravenous antibiotics and possibly surgery.
Depending on the severity of the infection, MRSA wounds can take from a few days to several months to heal. It’s important to work with your healthcare professional and complete a full course of treatment to properly heal a MRSA infection and prevent complications.