How do I prevent getting or spreading MRSA?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

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.

Dr. David L. Katz, MD, MPH
Preventive Medicine Specialist

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.

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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Good hygiene is the most important step in preventing MRSA.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.