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Staph Infections (MRSA): What You Do to Prevent Them

Posted Oct 14 2008 4:59am
Hi All!

I saw another article regarding this topic so I thought I might as well weigh in on it. There is a lot of talk about MRSA infections or antibiotic resistant staph infection. This is sometimes referred to as a Super Bug. There are only a couple of antibiotics that will kill it and those are pretty powerful drugs. So, how did it get to this point? You know that the bacteria Staphylococcus Aureus is present on our bodies and many times in our nose. In fact, one source says that the nose is the most common for it to hide and the place we really need to watch out for. It is a mutation of this Staph Aureus bacteria that becomes antibiotic resistant. Over the years, when we were sick, we would most likely be prescribed an antibiotic. The bug gradually became resistant to them. Additionally, as people have illnesses that lower the immune response (for example HIV, chemotherapy, etc.) the bugs spread and gradually became resistant.

Still, the hospital is the most common place this appears...close contact, multiple other illness, etc. I have always heard the phrase: "The hospital is no place for sick people". Meaning that there is a mixture of everything and someone with a lowered immune system predispose you to infection. If you do not NEED to be in the hospital, try to get your care at home. Now, I am not trying to say that hospitals are dirty or anything as such but there is too much of it floating around.

If you are in the hospital, there are a few things you can do to minimize your risk of infection
  • There should always be a dispenser of antibacterial solution, usually mounted on the wall. Any time you are up, to the bathroom or touching things, blow your nose, cough into your hand, etc. you should use the solution on your hands.
  • Make sure that every care giver (nurses, physicians, therapists, transport, etc.) use the solution prior to touching you. Sometimes the physicians are not cleaning their hands, but if you think about it they go from room to room and could easily spread an infection.
  • Also watch the instruments that care givers use...are blood pressure cuffs moved from room to room? Asked that it be cleaned prior to your use.

Becoming more and more common is the Community Acquired MRSA. Contributors are rampant use of antibiotics. This bug as said previously is in your nose, on your skin and in the dirt. Other common places are the gym, hot tub, crowded living areas, contact with other people such as in prisons, the gym. Poor hygiene contributes to the infection. Below are some steps you can take to help prevent contamination:

  • Bathe regularly-the bacteria is on your skin, but can be washed away with good hygiene. Be sure to wash the areas that are usually warm and moist - under arms, groin area
  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Don't pick your nose! After blowing, always wash your hands.
  • If you have a cut or scrape, cover it with a bandage until healed.
  • If you are given antibiotics for anything, always take all that is prescribed. Being careless with antibiotics has led to several resistant strains of bacteria. More often now we are seeing a change in ordering antibiotics unless really needed. Infected cuts/scrapes are usually treated conservatively without antibiotics and if it starts getting worse then they will break out the drugs.
  • Don't share towels, clean gym bag and don't put dirty clothes and towels in gym bag--the warm moist environment is a feeding ground for germs.

I hope this has helped give you some practical knowledge you can use anywhere. Stay clean and don't pick your nose, until next time.


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