Last year, my son had what looked like a large pimple on his collarbone. As gross as it sounds, we tried to pop it because it was bothering him. It put up quite a fight and I grew more concerned when it wouldn’t pop. I felt silly, but I took him to EmergiCare. The doctor removed it with a biopsy punch, assuming it was a cyst, and it tested benign. When another appeared months later, we found out what it really was and how dangerous the results could be.


When a teenaged boy has issues with acne, a parent doesn’t usually jump to worried conclusions. With puberty, one expects to see a few – or a few hundred – blemishes, but this was different. He complained that hurt, that his shirt couldn’t even touch it without irritating it. He couldn’t pop it; in fact, that seemed to make it worse. And since he’s had very few other pimples, and this looked nothing like them, a second visit to the doctor was necessary.

An Unexpected Diagnosis: MRSA

The doctor was definitely puzzled by the blemish and asked, what I thought, was a lot of questions for something so small. Once we discussed a previous removal of one that was similar, she knew what it was.

She explained to us that MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is a dangerous type of staph infection which often looks similar to a pimple. Some cases are harmless but some are resistant to treatments, including antibiotics, and can even cause death.



So odd. Something so small, so everyday looking, could turn out to be dangerous. MRSA is a virulent strain of bacteria known as Staphylococcus aureus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 25 percent of the population carries the staph bacteria on their skin. It can cause infection, such as my son experienced. MRSA is a strain of staph that is highly resistant to most antibiotics.

Precautions Against MRSA

The difficult part is that it’s often difficult to tell the difference between a pimple and a MRSA infection. We could tell when it didn’t pop – as gross as it sounds – that something wasn’t right. If you have a bump like this, it’s important to cover it and wash your hands so that you don’t spread the MRSA infection, as it’s very contagious.

They did put my son on antibiotics and suggested that he use antibacterial soap when he showers. We have him use white washcloths so that we can bleach them and we try to teach him to be careful and clean. Getting a teenaged boy to be cleaner than clean, especially when going through puberty, is difficult but he understand how important it is.

About Author

Dusty is the editor of As Mom Sees It, a family lifestyle and travel site. She is a wife and mother of two in Ohio.

Dusty has been featured on ABC, on Mom Talk Radio and in iBlog Magazine. Her creations have been featured on Craftgawker, DIY Weddings, and in 2013, As Mom Sees It was named one of the Top 50 New Product Review Sites by Cision.

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  1. My sister had this also. They told her it was a spider bite when she went to Urgent Care and gave her steroids. This made it dramatically worse and she ended up in the hospital as it was on the nape of her neck and they were extremely worried. She was on heavy antibiotics and is better now. It’s scary when the doctors don’t know what you have. Glad your son is better.

    1. That’s so scary! I’m glad she’s better now. Thanks – teenaged boys are difficult to keep clean but we’re trying. LOL

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