How to Prevent MRSA

By: Dana Mulder

MRSA or Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is an infection that is caused by a strain of the Staph bacteria that have become resistant to antibiotics generally used to treat usual staph infections.

People commonly contract MRSA infections when they visit hospitals or other health care establishment such as nursing homes and dialysis centers. In such cases, the infection is called health care-associated Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or HA-MRSA. HA-MRSA infections generally involve invasive procedures and apparatuses including surgery, intravenous tubing, and/or artificial joints.

Another type of MRSA infection affects has a wider reach. It affects the community of healthy people. This type is known as community-associated Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or CA-MRSA. The infection usually starts out as a painful boil and gets spread through skin-to-skin contact. Groups of people who are most likely to get CA-MRSA infections include child care workers, student wrestlers and people who live in crowded homes.

Symptoms of MRSA usually begin as tiny red bumps that look like boils or pimples. These bumps easily become deep abscesses that need to be surgically removed. Usually the bacteria remain restricted to the skin. However, the bacteria can burrow deep into the body and cause life-threatening infections in surgical wounds, the blood stream, heart valves, lungs, bones and joints.

Preventing MRSA

MRSA can be easily prevented by following a few simple steps:

• First, wash your hands well enough to get rid of bacteria. Proper hand-washing is crucial. Make sure you thoroughly wash your palms, the back of your hands, in between fingers and under your nails. Use warm water and soap for at least 30 seconds. Wash before eating after going to the toilet.

• Make sure your faucets and toilet handles are clean. Bacteria thrive in such places and since they are often touched, contamination is highly likely. Cleanse them regularly using an antibacterial cleaner. Use a hydrogen peroxide cleaner that is highly effective in getting rid of MRSA as well as other disease-causing bacteria and viruses. You can use a hydrogen peroxide cleaner to clean not only faucets and toilets, but your whole bathroom as well.

• Avoid sharing personal care items such as tweezers and razors since bacteria can easily be transmitted from the other person to you.

• Make sure equipments are clean before you use it. MRSA thrive in warm, damp areas such as exercise machines that people sweat on. Consider bringing handy antibacterial wipes wherever you go.

• When visiting a person who has MRSA, make sure to wear gloves. An MRSA patient’s room should have a sign on the door signaling that he/she is isolated from contact. Visitors and medical staff are required to wear gloves and gowns that are provided as you enter.

• Pay extra attention to your care if you are a patient in a hospital. MRSA is most commonly contracted in hospitals and health care settings. Do not hesitate to ask medical staff to wash their hands and inquire upon admission how often beddings and bathrooms are cleaned.

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