40 percent of area population could be carrying MRSA bacteria

Deonarine at CAMA

North Okaloosa Medical Center infection control nurse Lida Deonarine discusses methods to avoid spreading infections with members of the Crestview Area Ministerial Association.

BRIAN HUGHES / News Bulletin
Published: Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 05:22 PM.

CRESTVIEW — An estimated 40 percent of North Okaloosa residents carry an infectious bug on their skin, but taking preventive actions can curb its effects, according to local health care professionals. 

MRSA, the common name for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is among infectious diseases spreading in the area, North Okaloosa Medical Center infection control nurse Lida Deonarine said.

Symptoms can include red bumps, which initially resemble acne and eventually can become painful, potentially life-threatening abscesses that require draining, according to the Mayo Clinic.

"MRSA is very easy to kill until it gets inside (the body) — then it gets very hard to kill because it is resistant to antibiotics," Deonarine said.

However, "it is not as scary as it might sound," she said. "Most of the time, if we (practice) good hand hygiene, we're not going to spread it. It's not airborne. It's just spread by contact."

Deonarine, speaking last week to the Crestview Area Ministerial Association,  said applying alcohol-based hand sanitizer helps prevent infection.

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