What is currently the world’s most terrifying word?
Gluten, followed secondly by MRSA (pronounced mersah, kind of like ‘Murica (short for America (U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A! (CLICK for a healthy dose of FREEDOM!)))).
Patients don’t know why they are scared of it, but they know they need it checked.
Now, for the record, MRSA originally stood for Might Really Start Asploding (which means MRSA causes spontaneous combustion). They later changed to Methicillin-Resistant Staphyloccus Aureus because that sounded more like a bacteria. It can be a quite nasty and difficult to treat. On the other hand, the bacteria is pretty much everywhere. You may have it on your skin or nose right now, yet, somehow, you manage to not spontaneously combust. Well done.
Few patients know what MRSA truly is, however, some fear it as if it will consume their soul. I am convinced they would be happier finding a parasitic space-weasel living in their colon as opposed to finding out that they have MRSA. It can cause very hard to treat infections, but if you have no symptoms whatsoever, please stay home.
I had a concerned mom bring her daughter in with a small scratch on her elbow. It was a scratch, but she wanted to be sure she did not have MRSA. This was not a gaping wound. This was a minuscule scratch, hardly breaking the skin. I healed her with a Pinky Pie sticker, which to be honest, can cure just about anything.
Thus, chaos ensued for no reason other than lack of understanding. While about 30% of people have normal Staph on their skin or in their noses, only 1% of the population has MRSA colonization (link to CDC article here). And (deep breath here), MRSA infections are still currently treatable.
This brings me to my next point, and likely an EVEN BIGGER cause of people freaking out.
The gluten-free diet.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I have no problem with people going gluten free. Obviously if you have Celiac disease you cannot eat any gluten. Also, if you are gluten-intolerant (~6% of the population), removal from your diet will truly make you feel much better. I will even grant that a low gluten diet may make people feel better and lose some weight. I have NO ISSUE WHATSOEVER with this. Good work, eat healthy, yay, wonderful!
What drives me B.S.C. is that apparently 51% (yup, a majority) of the American population think they are gluten intolerant, and will berate you to no end about their pain and suffering. (link… then scroll to the bottom poll)
My friend James actually has Celiac disease. You would think he would love the current craze over being gluten free. However, the problem is that most people claiming gluten-intolerance are not, so many locales have become lax towards gluten. For the record, if he gets even a small amount, such as a pan that had been used previously on something that had gluten on it, he spends the rest of the day in the bathroom. Or, to remember, I made this handy poem,
If he gets a smattering, it comes out a splattering.
So, in summary: remember rule #1 from Rules of the ER
You might have MRSA, if you actually do, I’m very very sorry, but mostly likely you’re fine.
You likely don’t have gluten intolerance, unless your name is James, but you can still feel better on the diet as long as you are not a pretentious jerk about it.
now go watch the new Homestarrunner intro, or watch how Jimmy Kimmel asks people about Gluten Intolerance.
More importantly, scroll to the top and click “follow” up there on the right. Only by clicking can you prevent MRSA’s spread.