Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA is a significant health problem in this day and age, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If a person suffers an MRSA infection, he or she can end up seriously ill. Indeed, people die from MRSA infections every year. The reason why people do become ill and even die when they become infected with MRSA is that antibiotics are not effective in eradicating an infection of this nature. There are some tactics that hospitals employ to prevent an MRSA infection. In addition, there are some strategies that you personally can employ to protect yourself from the MRSA bacteria.
Hospitals and Preventing the Spread of MRSA
In this day and age, a person is most likely to contract MRSA as a patient in a hospital. There has been an increase in the contraction of MRSA in gyms and fitness centers as well as through participation on athletic teams (particularly in colleges and universities). However, even with these increases in people being infected with MRSA outside medical facilities, hospitals remain the primary point of infection for most people who contract MRSA.
The most important strategy that a hospital must consistently employ is ensuring that staff members take appropriate steps to protect patients from MRSA bacteria when they interact with patients. This includes washing or sanitizing hands before they have direct contact with a patient.
Hospital staff members need to make sure that the insertion of IVs and catheters is always undertaken in a sterile environment. These types of procedures are common causes of MRSA transmission and infection.
If an MRSA infection occurs in a hospital, the area in which the patient was or patients were located needs to be thoroughly sterilized to remediate any and all bacteria. This should be undertaken immediately and all people need to be kept from entering the area until the MRSA remediation is completed.
Hospitals should also provide staff with regular training and refresher courses on protecting against the MRSA virus. Human nature being what it is, hospital staff members are more likely to remain vigilant about protecting against MRSA if they are required to have regular refreshers on preventative practices.
Individual Strategies to Prevent MRSA Infection
In addition to strategies that should be employed by hospitals to prevent the spread of MRSA, there are strategies you should consider taking to protect yourself from an MRSA infection. These strategies include steps you should take on a routine basis as well as tactics you need to employ if you are hospitalized.
On a day to day basis, a primary step you need to take to stave off an MRSA infection is to regularly wash your hands. In theory, you can contract MRSA by coming into contact with an infected individual. In addition, because MRSA bacteria can survive on objects, you potentially can touch something during the course of daily living that contains the bacteria and infect yourself in that manner.
In addition to frequently washing your hands, you also need to bath regularly. This includes making sure you bath after exercising, particularly if you workout in a gym. MRSA can be on shared gym equipment.
If you have any type of wound, including a small cut or scrape, you should keep it covered until it fully heals. The bacteria that causes MRSA easily enters a person’s body through even a small wound.
If someone in your home is determined to have an MRSA infection, you need to consider seriously engaging the services of an MRSA cleaning company immediately. Remember, MRSA bacteria can survive on objects and you and others in your family are at risk even in the person diagnosed with MRSA is being treated.
If you end up hospitalized, you need to be proactive when it comes to protecting yourself against an MRSA infection. You need to bear in mind that upwards to 30 percent of people may have MRSA on their skin or in their noses and have no adverse impact. Because hospital staff and visitors will come into contact with these patients throughout the course of the day, and then more throughout the hospital, MRSA can be and oftentimes is readily spread.
Part of being proactive in protecting yourself against an MRSA infection is making certain that those people who treat you while hospitalized follow safety protocols associated with preventing the spread of this bacteria and other harmful pathogens.
You need to make sure when any staff member comes into your hospital room that he or she washes or sanitizes his or her hands before making contact with you. If you don’t see them do this when they enter your room and in advance of making contact with you, ask them to do so. Yes, you may feel uncomfortable making such a request. Yes, you don’t want to be pegged as “that patient.” But, in the grand scheme of things, you don’t want to end up with an MRSA infection and ensuring that doctors, nurses, and others properly clean or sanitize their hands before making contact with you.
You also need to make certain that visitors wash or sanitize their hands before making contact with you in a hospital. Remember, visitors walk through the facility before reaching your room and likely will touch a number of objects, including doors, along the way. As an aside, when you are hospitalized, if at all possible you also need to regularly clean your own hands or use a sanitizer.
In a perfect world or at least a perfect hospital, a staff member would change out a disposable smock or garment covering before making contact with you. Some hospitals have adopted fairly stringent policies in this regard. However, this is not a universal protocol nor is it expected.
You do need to beware of a male doctor’s tie if he is wearing one. Many men in the medical professional have abandoned wearing ties when in a hospital. Ties have proven to the bacteria magnets, including the bacteria that causes MRSA.
Although MRSA remains a health problem today, there has been an improvement in the number of people who end up infected with these bacteria each year. This is due in part to both hospital staff members and individual patients becoming more proactive in preventing the spread of bacteria and viruses in a medical center. This vigilance remains vital because no real headway has been made in finding an effective treatment protocol that more effectively combats an MRSA infection.