Right after her second birthday, our youngest daughter began sucking her thumb. She was such a high-needs baby/toddler that we really didn’t try to stop this habit because — after two years of screaming — car rides were suddenly peaceful and she began sleeping through the night!
Then, in March of this year, I noticed a big yellow blister on one of her thumbs. A friend of mine had been dealing with a staph infection on her son’s thumb, and it looked a lot like what she had described, so I took pictures and emailed them to a few people to get their opinion.
Everyone said the same thing: it looks like staph.
We made a doctor’s appointment for the next day and our pediatrician took one look and said the same thing. He asked a nurse to come help us hold her still so he could drain the blister.
Shortly after he began, he said, “It’s not staph.” It turns out that we paid $200 to have a a callous diagnosed. Yes, a callous.
The worst part? He said, “Unfortunately, now that we’ve opened it up, it is at risk of an infection.” Ha, of course it is!
The pediatrician gave us a prescription for a strong antibiotic cream, which I never filled. I tend to use antibiotics as a last resort, and we decided to just keep the area clean and watch it. Thankfully, at two-and-a-half years old, we were able to tell her not to suck that thumb since she had been switching between both thumbs (and her finger, LOL) anyway. It healed well, and she still only sucks the “safe” thumb.
Thankfully, that’s been our family’s only experience with MRSA!
Alternatives to Antibiotic Creams
Although we’ve certainly used antibiotic creams in the past, we haven’t bought any in a couple years and the one little tube we have is probably expired by now. I’ve been meaning to research silver nitrate and some other alternatives but we just haven’t had a need for them — especially since adding Redmond Clay to our first aid kit — so I haven’t gotten around to it.
However, I recently received an email about trying out the brand new SAFESKIN Kids Antibacterial Gel from Kimberly-Clark Professional. Honestly, my first thought was, “Antibacterial?! Agh!” Eliminating antibacterial soaps was one of the first green changes we made, so I tend to be pretty skittish around products that promise antibacterial properties!
I Googled it a bit and couldn’t find any more information about the product, so I responded to the email and asked for a list of the ingredients. They sent me back a picture of the back of the box, and I was really excited to read through the ingredients list because this is yet another example of a mainstream company making efforts to provide more natural products.
(And I don’t mean by greenwashing, either — as far as I can tell, they don’t make a big deal out of this product being a “green” product, but I’ve researched all of the ingredients in the EWG’s Skin Deep Database, and it’s definitely one I’m comfortable using!).
Here’s the ingredients list with links to the ratings in the database:
- silver chloride (2)
- water (0)
- glycerin (0)
- polyacrylate polymer (0)
- cellulose gum (0)
- silver nitrate (2)
- cupric chloride (1)
After my research and reading, I think this product would make a great alternative to an antibiotic cream in your first aid kit. To be clear, it’s not meant to heal an existing infection, but I think most people use antibiotic creams as prevention anyway, and this topical gel provides a physical barrier to MRSA, which is a highly contagious staph bacteria that can infect the skin, invade other parts of the body and resist many antibiotics.
What I really like about this product is that it’s formulated as a long-lasting barrier on minor cuts, scrapes, wounds, burns and bug bites, so that you only have to change the bandage every two days (as long as it doesn’t get wet!).
Find SAFESKIN Kids Antibacterial Gel at select Walgreens locations (you can also download a $1 coupon at that link!).
Safeskin also offers these great tips for identifying a MRSA infection:
For more tips on keeping kids safe, like SAFESKIN on Facebook!
I received compensation from Kimberly-Clark Professional in the form of a gift card and product samples to participate in this campaign promoting the SAFESKIN* Kids Antibacterial Gel. However, all opinions are 100% mine!
Have you dealt with MRSA in your family?