As anyone who lives in a small town knows- there are rumors everywhere. It doesn’t take much to create quite a stir in a small town like Barnwell. It is almost time to send the children back to school, and already there are concerns about the dangers of outbreaks and epidemics.
Years ago, the concerns were different when it came to the fall onslaught of school-spread illnesses. This writer vividly remembers her mother daring her to be near anyone who was throwing up. Twenty or thirty years ago, that was our biggest concern. I also remember the school janitors dumping “magical dust” on top of vomit on the floors of the classrooms and hallways. This was supposed to keep the illness contained as it stopped it from becoming air-born. To this day, I often wonder what that substance was. All it ever looked like to me was the pencil shavings from the wall mounted sharpeners. Whatever it was, if nothing else, it removed the odor and made us feel more at ease.
It seems today as though the illnesses are much more dangerous, harder to contain, and certainly more frightening. I’ve heard local mothers complain that they almost feel guilty for sending their children to school or daycare due to the many illness-related dangers. Several school children in the U.S. have passed away as a result of community-acquired MRSA. Yet, the fact remains, we are told not to panic.
Being a single mother, especially of multiple children, it can be difficult to keep a close eye on minor boo-boos. Still, these minor wounds can become major concerns in a very short amount of time. It is hard to keep all of this in mind without becoming MRSA-phobic.
The SCDHEC, has a page that is very informative about MRSA, including its causes, treatments, preventions, etc. There are also several safety and sanitation guidelines recommended. The CDC in Atlanta also has a wealth of information concerning MRSA.
There are rumors galore here in Barnwell about what causes MRSA, how it is spread, how to treat it, etc. It’s really enough to nearly drive one mad. I have personally known five children in Barnwell alone who have suffered with this staph infection; two of which were almost killed. The most important truths that this writer has discovered are: Don’t mash any bump, pimple, or boil that arises on you or your children! If it looks like something that needs to be drained, let a doctor do it. Fever, even just localized around the area, may be a sign of MRSA. Keep your hands clean. Keep your towels, clothes, showers, tubs, etc., clean using hot water (with bleach if at all possible). Listen to your doctor, not your neighbor, about how to treat it and when your child may, or may not be, contagious. When in doubt, go to the doctor. I know money is tight and times are hard, but this can be a highly aggressive, and contagious illness.
Visit websites that are credible and talk to your doctor to learn all you can on how to recognize the signs and symptoms of this infection. While the powers that be continue to tell us not to panic, it does not mean that we should not become knowledgeable. Personally, I’m fine with being MRSA-phobic. It keeps me alert and on my guard. However, it does get tiring for me and my children when I check the same tiny boo-boo twenty-five times a day. Perhaps, having a healthy respect for this infection would be a better, less tiring way to go after all.