***First of all (and this is important), I need to tell you that we at the Physics Van are not M.D.ís and can not legally give any sort of medical advice.***
That said, I think this is an interesting subject from the scientific viewpoint and worth some discussion. For those not familiar with it, MRSA stands for "methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus
". S. aureus
is a strain of bacteria that causes a wide variety of infections ranging from relatively minor boils or abscesses to food poisoning to toxic shock syndrome in humans. It causes mastitis in dairy cows with a major economic impact for milk producers. It is also commonly implicated in post-surgical infections in both humans and animals.
Methicillin is an antibiotic in the penicillin class. In common usage, the term "MRSA" has come to refer not only to S. aureus
resistant to methicillin, but to S. aureus
resistant to all penicillins. When bacteria become resistant to an antibiotic, that means that doctors can no longer use that drug to treat a personís infection. Because there are a limited number of antibiotic options out there, the medical community fears bacterial strains that become resistant to them - particularly when the bacteria become resistant to multiple types of antibiotics. Since penicillins are among the most widely used antibiotics, MRSA is a major concern for doctors today.
As far as sunlight goes, it is true that sunlight can help to kill numerous types of bacteria (how effective it is depends on the specific bacterial strain). In spite of that, taking your surgical incision out to sunbathe is something you should discuss carefully with your doctor. In the case of post-surgical infections, there are a number of other factors that must be taken into consideration - the infection may be deep in the incision where sunlight won't reach it - it may be necessary to keep the wound covered to prevent further infection - the patient may need strict bed-rest to avoid other complications - etc. This is why it's essential to consult your doctor about any post-surgical infection!
(published on 10/22/2007)