Symptoms of MRSA Skin Infections


The appearance of MRSA skin infections is varied. Skin infections present as:  

  • Superficial MRSA skin infections: These include pimples, boils, and impetigo
    • Impetigo is a superficial skin infection that often has a crusty and/or blistered appearance. 
    • If left untreated, superficial infections have potential to progress into serious/invasive infections. 
  • Deep MRSA skin infections: These include abscesses and cellulitis. Both of these present as painful, red, swollen areas of skin.

Spider Bite or MRSA?

MRSA skin infections often start out as small, red, swollen area(s) of skin – thought to be spider bite(s) – and then progress into larger infections. This is not to say that spider bites cannot become infected with MRSA, they can! But, most “spider bites” are really the start of a MRSA infection!

MRSA Cellulitis

Cellulitis is a deep skin infection that can spread into underlying tissue. 

  • Cellulitis presents as a pink/red, tender, warm, and often swollen area of skin. 
  • Cellulitis can be localized and non-invasive, i.e. limited to a specific site. However, cellulitis can change course and become invasive at any time. 
  • Invasive cellulitis is a serious infection that is often accompanied by fever and body aches.
  • Abscesses are often found within an area of cellulitis. The flesh-eating aspect of MRSA kills tissue and forms a pocket of pus. 

MRSA Abscess

An abscess is a deep pocket of pus. 

  • An abscess presents as a pink/red, painful, warm, and usually swollen area of skin. 
  • Cellulitis often accompanies an abscess, because bacteria from the abscess spread into the surrounding tissue.