Q: What’s MRSA, and does it have anything to do with the overuse of antibiotics?
A: Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) is a mutated form of the common Staph bacteria. The mutation likely developed from the over-use of antibiotics. Over time, the bacteria evolved to the point that it became resistant to the most common drugs used for treating such infections.
About 1/3 of the population has MRSA living on their skin or in their nose, and it usually only presents a problem when a cut or opening in the skin or mucosal membrane allows the bacteria to enter into bloodstream.
Take matters into your own hands. The next time your doctor recommends an antibiotic, be sure to ask if you REALLY need it.
Dr. Brent Ridge is the health expert for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. You can call and ask him a question live every Tuesday at 2 p.m. Eastern on Sirius Satellite Radio, Channel 112 (1.866.675.6675). You can also follow along as he learns to grow his own food and raise goats on his farm in upstate New York by visiting www.beekman1802.com.
Got a health question for Dr. Brent? E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.