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How can I Help Limit the Spread of MRSA?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 20 September 2016
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Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a potentially deadly infection caused by bacteria resistant to most antibiotics. Fortunately, there are ways to limit the spread of MRSA infections. They involve frequent hand washing; avoiding the sharing of towels and other personal items; and keeping wounds protected. If you are involved in sports, showering after games; washing sports clothing between uses; and wearing shoes in locker rooms and shower shoes in community showers may help. You may also do well to wash your sheets and towels in hot water with bleach when you have a wound, even if it appears to be minor.

One of the best ways to limit the spread of MRSA is also the simplest: hand washing. Proper hand washing may not only help to prevent you from developing MRSA, but may also help stop it from spreading to others. To wash your hands properly, you’ll typically need to use soap and running water. Many experts recommend that you scrub your hands for at least 15 seconds before rinsing the soap off and using a paper towel to dry them. Hand sanitizer that contains alcohol may be the next best thing when soap and water aren't available.

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It is also important to keep your wounds protected as you attempt to limit the spread of MRSA. Generally, cuts and sores should be covered with sterile bandages. This may help to keep infection-causing bacteria from getting into them. Additionally, it is possible that fluids that drain from an infected sore may help MRSA to spread. Keeping it covered may prevent this.

Limiting the spread of MRSA also involves keeping your personal items clean and to yourself. Washing your towels and bed linens frequently may help to prevent its spread, especially when you have a sore, cut, or abrasion. You may do well to wash them using hot water and bleach, and then follow up by drying them in a hot dryer. Beyond keeping these things clean, it is also important to avoid sharing personal items such as towels; combs and brushes; clothing and shoes.

If you participate in sports activities, you may limit the spread of MRSA by showering after each game or practice. You may also do well to wear shoes of some type both in the locker room and in the locker room shower. Many health experts warn against sharing athletic equipment as well. Additionally, washing your sports uniforms or other apparel after each time you wear them may also prove helpful for preventing the spread of this infection.

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irontoenail
Post 3

@Iluviaporos - Surely, though, there must be a way to get rid of it from an area if it becomes contaminated. The bacteria doesn't respond to antibiotics, but it can still be cleared with soap or high enough temperatures or bleach or whatever. Those things can't be used to help someone who is suffering from an infection, but they can be used to wipe down surfaces.

I would have thought with decent MRSA screening that it wouldn't be impossible to remove it from an environment, particularly one as controlled as a hospital.

lluviaporos
Post 2

@Ana1234 - Most hospitals are well aware of the dangers of MRSA and if they have it, they will inform people, and if they don't they will take extreme cautions to avoid it.

My mother was treated for a heart condition in a hospital where they were known to have MRSA and a week later she had to go to a different hospital where they don't have it and as soon as they discovered where she had been they rushed her into a completely isolated ward.

It was actually quite uncomfortable for her, because only one nurse was allowed to tend to her until they swabbed her and got the all clear, which took a while. But the fact that they were taking those precautions was definitely a good thing, because the longer you can avoid MRSA colonization the better.

Ana1234
Post 1

MRSA is found particularly in hospitals, so all of these guidelines apply particularly when you have to visit one for any reason. That goes double if you happen to be visiting more than one health care center, since that is how the bacteria ends up spreading.

Even if the hospital claims to be free of MRSA, take every precaution you can. We've become used to living in a world where infections are rarely deadly, but once you develop one that can't be treated with antibiotics you could end up going downhill very fast and there isn't anything the doctors can do to help you.

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