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Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
Staph is a common bacterium found on the skin or in the nose of healthy people. Methicillin-Resistant Staph aureus (MRSA), on the other hand, is resistant to certain antibiotics. MRSA originated in a hospital setting years ago, infecting the patients who were immunocompromised due to illness or surgery. At that time the bacteria developed a resistance to certain antibiotics. Now it is no longer found just in a hospital setting, but is seen in people throughout the community all across the country.
In a community setting MRSA is typically seen as a skin infection, with the appearance of a spider bite, a pimple, or a boil that can be red, swollen, painful, or have pus or other drainage. It can occur in otherwise healthy people. Go to your health care provider if you develop an area such as described. He/she will prescribe the proper antibiotics before the infection worsens or spreads to other parts of your body.
This infection is contagious, and to keep it from spreading to others, precautions need to be taken.
The CDC recommendation is to practice good hygiene, which includes:
- Keep hands clean by washing thoroughly with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that has a concentration of 60%-95% ethanol (ethyl alcohol) or isopropanol.
- Keep cuts and scrapes clean and covered with a bandage until healed.
- Avoid contact with other people's wound or bandages.
- Avoid sharing personal items such as shin guards, socks, towels, razors, clothing, or uniforms that may have had contact with the infected wound or bandage. Wash sheets, towels, and clothes that become soiled with water and laundry detergent.
- Encourage your child to report “sores” to you, the coaches if applicable, and the school nurse.
When cleaning the home environment to prevent or control the spread of a MRSA infection, you need to use a product that states on the label that it kills Methicillin-Resistant Staph aureus (MRSA). If it does not state this, there is no assurance that the product will destroy the bacteria. A product that you think should kill MRSA but does not specifically state that on the label, i.e. chlorox wipes, is not the best product to use. These products typically kill staph aureus, but not the MRSA bacteria.
Listed below are samplings of some products that meet the criteria for destroying MRSA bacteria. Read all labels of cleaning supplies to determine other appropriate cleaning agents.
- Mr. Clean Antibacterial Multi-Surface spray states it kills MRSA.
- A bleach:water solution of 1:10 (3/4 cup bleach in 1 gallon of water) kills MRSA and is effective for bathrooms and locker rooms, * but this bleach solution only remains effective for 24 hours after mixing , so it should be discarded at the end of the day . The solution can be put in a spray bottle and the area sprayed with the solution and allowed to dry to kill MRSA.
- A bleach:water solution of 1:100 (1 Tablespoon bleach in 1 quart of water) can be used effectively to clean areas less likely to be as contaminated (kitchens) *as above.
- Hand soaps are effective in washing off the germs when used correctly. The important thing to remember is to wash your hands vigorously with warm soapy water for at least 15 seconds.
- Sani-Cloth Plus Hard Surface Disinfectant, Super Sani-Cloth Germicidal Disposable Cloths, Sani-Cloth HB, Sani-Dex ALC, and Vionex wipes all kill MRSA bacteria.
- Hibiclens soap kills MRSA.
Keep bleach and all other cleaning products away from children. Bleach should be used in a well ventilated area. Wear gloves when mixing the bleach solution.
For more information about MRSA go to www.cdc.gov.