Question

MRSA

How do I prevent getting or spreading MRSA?

A Answers (5)

  • The following are ways to help protect yourself and others from methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA):
    • Wash your hands is the best way to prevent infection
    • Keep cuts and scrapes clean and covered with a bandage until healed
    • Avoid contact with other people's wounds or bandages
    • Avoid sharing personal items, such as towels, washcloths, razors, or clothes
    • Wash soiled sheets, towels and clothes in hot water with bleach and dry in a hot dryer
    If a wound appears to be infected, see a healthcare provider.
  • There are things you can do to help methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) from spreading. Practicing good hygiene is a simple way people can reduce the spread of community associated MRSA. Not sharing items, keeping your body clean, and properly treating and isolating wounds can all help.

    In hospitals, people try to prevent MRSA infections by keeping people with MRSA in isolated units. Hospital staff who interact with susceptible patients should always wear face masks, gloves, and other protective materials.
  • To effectively reduce the incidence of antibiotic resistance, it is necessary to reduce the antibiotic pressure in the bacterial environment, such as the intestinal tract, water supply, and animal reservoirs. Reducing the inappropriate use of antibiotics will reduce antibiotic pressure in the intestinal tract. Improved sanitary treatment of a community's water supply will reduce the antibiotic pressure in this area. Reduction of antibiotic pressure in animal reservoirs is a complex topic and involves identifying and destroying infected animals as well as reducing human contact with animals that might be reservoirs.

    In the hospital setting, basic infection control practices, such as hand washing and the use of gloves, are essential to the prevention and control of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and other drug-resistant organisms. Hospitalized patients diagnosed with MRSA are placed in isolation to minimize the spread of the organism.

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    • ADavid L. Katz, MD,MPH, Integrative Medicine, answered
      MRSA is spread by direct person-to-person contact. Washing hands regularly can reduce transmission. If your doctor does not wash his or her hands in front of you, don't be afraid to ask. Having medical professionals wear protective gloves is another good measure.
    • ATanya Remer Altmann, MD, Pediatrics, answered
      Close medical supervision and specific antibiotics are needed to treat
      MRSA. Sometimes drainage of the infected pus is needed. To prevent infection of other family members and to get rid of any lingering bacteria
      from your home, your doctor may recommend some of the following:

      • Use an antibiotic ointment (mupirocin) in all household noses twice a day for about a week.

      • Add bleach (one teaspoon of regular strength bleach per gallon of water) to the bath and soak for 15 minutes twice a week. Just be sure to air out the bathroom well, especially if your child has asthma.

      • Clean skin with an over-the-counter antimicrobial soap (such as Hibiclens).

      • Wash towels daily in hot water and dry on a high heat setting.

      • Keep fingernails clean and short to prevent scratching and spreading.

      With any skin infection, a fever can mean the bacteria has spread into the bloodstream, so call your doctor immediately. Hospitalization with intravenous antibiotics may be needed.
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    How can I protect my child from MRSA?