MRSA can present a serious health threat. However, hospitals and health care workers are looking for ways to fight back in handling MRSA.
Hospitals are beginning to track outbreaks of MRSA. Antibiotic-coated catheters and disinfectant-lined gloves are a first line of defense. However, the best way to prevent the spread of MRSA and other contagions is through frequent, proper hand washing, disinfection of all surfaces around the hospital or medical center, and taking precautions like wearing a mask when working with patients whose immune systems are compromised.
Isolation of Patients
To prevent the spread of MRSA from patient to patient, many hospitals are placing infected and colonized patients in isolation. This helps to prevent the spread of the bacteria to other patients in the hospital as well as the hospital staff. If you are visiting a patient in these areas, you may be required to wear protective gear and follow hand washing procedures.
If you, a family member, or a friend is hospitalized, there are some things that you can do help prevent contraction of hospital-acquired infections like MRSA.
Hospital MRSA Awareness Information
Make sure that every hospital staff member washes his or her hands before they touch you. This means every time, even for the most routine procedures. Wash your own hands frequently, especially after going to the restroom and before and after eating.
If you need assistance bathing request disposable cloths instead of soap and water. These are usually treated with a disinfectant to kill bacteria and other germs, and will be cleaner than using hospital towels.
If you need intravenous tubes or catheters as part of your treatment, watch to see that they are inserted and removed sterilely. Hospitals that sterilize the skin of their patients before inserting a catheter have seen a dramatic decrease in MRSA infections of the blood.
However, not all cases of MRSA are caught in the hospital. Community-acquired MRSA can happen almost anywhere, making it more difficult to prevent. However, there are some precautions that you can take to protect yourself.
Avoid sharing personal items like razors, sheets, towels, and clothing. Disinfect athletic equipment between usages. Remember that MRSA can be spread on contaminated surfaces as well as skin to skin contact.
If you have a cut or other wound, keep it covered. Sterile, dry bandages will help it heal. If you have an infected sore, the pus could contain MRSA, so keeping it covered will help prevent the spread of bacteria. When you have a cut or sore you also want to wash all linens thoroughly. Towels, bed linens, and athletic clothing should be washed in hot water and then dried in the dryer after each use. Use bleach when possible.
Keep your hands clean. Follow basic hand washing procedures, and carry a bottle of hand sanitizer with you for instances where you are unable to wash.
If you do have a skin infection that needs treatment, find out if you need to be tested for MRSA. This can assist your doctor with prescribing you drugs that will actually kill off the bacteria, causing treatment to progress more quickly.