Early Symptoms of MRSA

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, is a form of Staphylococcus bacterium that does not respond to standard antibiotic medications. Outbreaks of this mutated bacterial strain most often occur in hospitals, but have also been reported in athletic locker room environments and even some schools. Infections of this nature can prove to be fatal in the most severe cases. If you believe you may have contracted an MRSA infection–or any sort of Staphylococcus-related infection–be sure to seek medical treatment as soon as possible.

Red or Swelled Skin

Signs of MRSA-related infections are most readily apparent on the skin. The infection can initially appear as a small, potentially reddish bump that may in some ways resemble a bug bite. Areas of the body that are most often affected include the arms and legs, and areas that may be more prone to perspiration, such as armpits. The infected area may be painful, and will likely increase in size.

Boils or Abscesses

A boil or skin abscess refers to an enclosed area of infection underneath the skin’s surface. Boils usually feel firm and somewhat painful to the touch. The center of a boil will become filled with pus, which is a mixture of white blood cells (which attempt to battle the infection), proteins and bacteria. The pus can be drained via surgical means, or the boil may open itself, allowing the pus to flow through the skin’s surface.


According to the Mayo Clinic, a stye is an infection in the oil glands of the eyelid. Styes manifest themselves as painful swelling or bumps that can occur under or inside an infected individual’s eyelid; these infected areas have the potential to become filled with pus. Staphylococcus aureus bacteria are responsible for nearly all cases of styes (between 90 and 95 percent of reported cases).

Flu-like Symptoms

As the body attempts to fight the infection caused by Staphylococcus aureus, afflicted individuals may experience symptoms not unlike those of the common flu, such as elevated fever, chills and nausea/vomiting. MRSA-related infections can also can affect the lungs and lead to pneumonia.

About this Author

Demi Buckley’s 10 years of professional writing experience have included investigational and technical writing positions for some of the biggest names in the pharmaceutical industry, including Abbott Laboratories and Baxter Health Care. He earned his B.S. in biology (with a minor in English/creative writing) from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago.