Warning about MRSA infections spreading at gyms

    Fighting For You talks to Chase Meadows about his MRSA infection, Wednesday, April 6, 2016. (abc3340.com)

    It's becoming more common in gyms and health clubs. The spread of staph infections and in some cases MRSA which is more difficult to treat. A small cut on your hand or leg is all it takes to start a very bad health issue.

    "At the base of my finger is where the abscess was," explains Chase Meadows. He showed us his hand after surgery which looked horrible. Fortunately after surgery and strong antibiotics Meadows is on the mend.

    He works out at a local gym three to four times a week and never had a problem until now. "When I was working out, I tore the callouses off my hand. I could tell it was not healing right. In three to four days it was more swollen and more painful," says Meadows.

    "He's got a really high tolerance for pain so when he says I need to do something you listen," says his mom Linda Meadows. After a round of visits to the ER and doctors, a test revealed it was a MRSA infection. Catching it early is key for treatment. "You need to be your own advocate and make them test for it," advises Chase. Initially the ER did not check for it.

    Chase's mom declined to name the gym where they believe her son was infected. She says it's an issue across the board which all gyms and health clubs need to pay more attention to.

    MRSA is a form of the common staph infection. "It's more difficult to treat and more aggressive so the right therapy is one of the key factors," says Dr. Anurag Gandhi with the Birmingham Infusion Clinic. He specializes in treating infectious diseases. He saw Chase after surgery and treated him with antibiotics through an IV. Chase's family credits Dr. Ghandi with saving Chase's hand.

    Trouble signs to watch for: swelling, pain, discharge, or any cut or sore that isn't getting better. Your best defense against a staph infection: "Handwashing, handwasing,handwashing. Before and after you work out. Many good gyms are already wiping down equipment," explains Dr. Ghandi.

    A gym may look perfectly clean but invisible bacteria may be everywhere. If you have any type of cut or break in the skin, you should cover it. Chase now plans to wear gloves when working out.

    "He's going to be good," says his thankful mother.

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