What Is MRSA?

Basically MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) is a Staph infection gone bad.  Staph Aureus is normally carried on the skin.  It can also be carried in the nose without producing any ill effects, so that the person carrying may not even know it.  It normally manifests as boils or pimples.  It normally turns into a serious infection if the smaller signs of its presence, such as the pimples or boils, are ignored.

MRSA used to be primarily an infection acquired in a hospital or nursing home by people with weakened immune systems, surgical wounds, urinary tract infections, bloodstream infections or pneumonia.

More and more, people who are outside healthcare facilities are acquiring MRSA.  These infections usually manifest as stated above, as boils or pimples, and are seen in otherwise healthy people.  Groups of potential concern are athletes or prisoners (due to close proximity), children and men who  have sex with men.

How is MRSA spread?

  • close skin to skin contact
  • openings such as cuts or abrasions
  • contaminated items or surfaces
  • crowded living conditions
  • poor hygiene
  • compromised immunity

What does MRSA look like?

As stated above, MRSA often presents as a 'pimple' or 'boil' looking area  The areas often appear red, swollen, painful and have pus or other drainage.  MRSA can also infect a pre-existing wound and produce the same symptoms.

How do I prevent acquiring a MRSA infection?

Good Hygiene:

  • Handwashing or sanitizer
  • Keep open wounds clean and covered
  • Avoid contact with other's wounds or bandages
  • Avoid sharing personal items such as razors
  • Clean athletic or other equipment before and after use

Take all your antibiotics:

  • Don't stop unless specifically instructed.  This means you shouldn't have any to share or to take at another time.
  • Don't take anyone else's leftover


  • See your healthcare provider if you think you may have Staph
  • Most Staph infections ARE treatable with antibiotics
  • Some may be drained and treated without antibiotics; but only by your healthcare provider
  • If you are not better in a few days, call your healthcare provider again


Health Service Mission

The Mission of the Student Health Service is to enhance the educational process by modifying or removing health related barriers to learning and by promoting an optimal level of wellness.

Our goal is not only to treat illness and injury, but also to provide educational programming in Health Promotion. Early care of acute illness and a healthy lifestyle can prevent serious illness, reduce time lost from classes, and keep students looking and feeling well.

Prevention is the key to health, and the primary tool of prevention is health education. Self- responsibility is nurtured through the educational component of each encounter with the goal of developing a clientele that is increasingly independent and able to manage their own health needs to the extent possible.

Health Service Mission

Health Service Location

Student Health Service
3rd Floor, Falcon Center
1201 Locust Avenue
Fairmont, WV 26554
Phone: 304.367.4155
Fax: 304.367.4710

After Hours/Emergency Information

Marion County Rescue Squad
Call 911

Fairmont General Hospital
Emergency Room

Contact Info

Trish Watson, FNP, Director
Family Nurse Practitioner


Patrice Andersen, RN
Student Health Nurse

Health Service Hours

Nurses and Nurse Practitioner 
Monday through Friday
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM