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Children's Health

Bacterial infection lurking among my family?

10/27/2008

Question:

WITHIN THE LAST YEAR MY FAMILY HAS HAD SOME STRANGE SITUATIONS GOING ON. OVER THE LAST YEAR....MY HUSBAND HAS HAD A BOIL AND SEVERAL BOUTS OF BOILS IN THE NOSE. I (MOM)HAD WAS DIAGNOSED WITH MRSA FROM A BOIL ON MY TUSH AND MY SON HAD A BOIL ON HIS TUSH THAT WE THOUGHT WAS MRSA AS WELL BUT THE BOIL ITSELF WAS NEVER TESTED BUT WENT AWAY WITH TREATMENT. WE ALL HAD OUR NOSES SWABBED (PER MY REQUEST FOR MRSA) BUT I DO NOT FEEL THE NURSE SWABBED THEM CORRECTLY AS SHE WAS IN AND OUT OF OUR NOSE VERY QUICKLY BARELY SWABBING AND COST US A FORTUNE IN LAB BILLS BUT WE ALL CAME OUT CLEAR FOR MRSA! EACH INSTANCE WAS ONE BY ONE NOT ALL AT THE SAME TIME WHICH IS VERY FRUSTRATING. NOW ON TOP OF ALL THAT ABOUT A YEAR AGO MY SON WAS THE FIRST TO GET A BOUT OF HIVES (WE THOUGHT WAS RELATED TO A LARGE PLASTIC BALL). LASTED FOR ABOUT A MONTH. THEN ABOUT 6 MONTHS LATER I HAD A BOUT OF HIVES THAT LASTED ABOUT A MONTH (WE THOUGHT IT WAS JUST STRESS) NOW ABOUT 4 MONTHS LATER, MY DAUGHTER HAS THE HIVES! THEY STARTED YESTERDAY ONLY TO WAKE UP THIS MORNING WITH THEM ALL OVER HER. I CAN NOT HELP TO THINK THAT WE ARE PLAGUED WITH A BACTERIAL INFECTION OR THAT ONE OF US IS A CARRIER TO A BACTERIAL INFECTION? I HAVE NEVER EXPERIENCED SUCH STRANGE SYMPTOMS BETWEEN ALL OF US! WE ARE CLEAN PEOPLE AND I AM JUST SO FRUSTRATED WITH THE ALIMENTS AROUND HERE! DO YOU THINK THERE IS A BACTERIAL INFECTION LURKING AMONG MY FAMILY?

Answer:

Thank you very much for the question. It sounds like you and your family have experience several months of frustration. Certainly, bacterial infections can be passed along in the household. Methicillin-resistant Staph. Aureus (MRSA) can be commonly transmitted among individuals living in the same household. Although all of you had nasal swabs that were negative, MRSA can colonize the axilla (armpits) and groin areas. You should probably discuss with your doctor the possibility of using an antibacterial cleaner (ie. hibiclens) to reduce MRSA colonization. As for the hives, there are a number of things that can lead to hives: bacterial infections, viral infections, allergic exposures, medications, food, and even cold temperatures. It would be worthwhile to keep a diary involving events surround outbreaks of hives and then meet with your doctor. Thanks again for the question.

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Response by:

Stephen E Wilson, MD, MSc Stephen E Wilson, MD, MSc
Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati