Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) is staph bacteria, which became resistant to frequent use of antibiotics. Staphylococcus (staph) bacteria commonly live in the nose and skin. Usually they cause no harm. Staph infections are becoming more common. The Center for Disease control has found that 1% of the population carries the MRSA staph bacteria.
Staph infections appear more problematic when vulnerable people are hospitalized for burns, have surgical wounds and/or tubes in their body. People living in long term care facilities (such as CBDC where I work) are especially susceptible to MRSA.
Skin conditions caused by MRSA include: fluid filled blisters or impetigo, sores resembling infected insect bites, infected cuts and/or hair follicles. MRSA is most likely to cause infection when there is a break in the skin or other openings where bacteria can invade the body.
MRSA- Prevention and Protection
Frequent hand washing is the first line of defense against contacting MRSA. You may review steps for correct hand washing here. Carry alcohol-based hand wipes with you to cleanse your hands if water is not available.
A clean house is critical. Pay particular attention to areas, which are commonly touched, doorknobs, telephones, computer keyboards, light switches, etc. A cheap, easy-to-make disinfectant we use in our facility is: one tablespoon of household bleach to one quart of water. To kill the bacteria, allow the surfaces to air dry or wait 10 minutes before you wipe the area dry.
Do not share personal items (toothbrush, towels, razor blades) with anyone.
Change your sheets on a regular basis. In the event someone in your home has active MRSA, do not wash soiled linens or clothing with other laundry. Use hot water and bleach to wash the contaminated laundry. The hot dryer will also help kill bacteria.
How you get MRSA
Do not touch the infected skin or wound of anyone with active MRSA. Do not share personal objects with anyone who has MRSA.
You may also get MRSA when hospitalized or visiting someone in the hospital or nursing home.
Treatment of MRSA
MRSA is difficult to treat since it is resistant to many antibiotics; some antibiotics still successfully cure it.
In hospital and long-term care settings, infected people are isolated. Health care providers and/or visitors must wear personal protective equipment. When you visit anyone with MRSA, wash your hands immediately upon leaving the hospital.
Boils can be incised and drained, with a course of antibiotics afterwards.
If you or a loved one contacts MRSA, finish all prescribed medication. The last pills in the bottle kill the toughest germs.
Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus: MRSA
MRSA is serious as it can cause potentially life-threatening infections. It is spread by people. If an infected person touches a common surface and then you touch the same surface, potentially you can contact MRSA.
Prevention and protection against Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus begins and ends proper hygiene. Please – don’t make the mistake of thinking it can’t happen to you – the consequence may be your life.
Are you excited to read other health related articles written by this author?
“Living with MRSA” – CBDC Training Manual
Mayo Clinic “MRSA Infection”CDC – Definition of MRSA Infections