Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) is a type of bacteria that is resistant to certain commonly used antibiotics. This drug resistance makes MRSA infections very difficult to treat and can require hospitalization. It is also possible for MRSA to become present in the body without developing an infection, making it difficult to determine who may be carrying the bacteria. Because of these issues, some common MRSA guidelines — including maintaining clean hands and a clean environment, covering any open wounds, avoiding contact with the wounds or bandages of others, and not sharing personal items — have been developed to help prevent the spread of infection.
One of the most important common MRSA guidelines is to keep the hands clean. Washing thoroughly with soap and water, or the use of an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, can be one of the best ways to prevent infection. MRSA may be present on skin, or in bodily fluids or secretions like mucus, and it can live on surfaces for over 24 hours. Touching an infected person or contaminated surface, and then touching yourself near an opening into the body like the mouth or nose or an open wound, is a common way to spread infection. Maintaining a clean environment is also very important to kill any bacteria that may be alive on surfaces before it can be spread to others.
Another of the most common MRSA guidelines is to cover any open wounds. If there is MRSA present in the environment, an open wound is a perfect place for it to enter the body and to infect the wound. Wounds should also be kept covered in cases where MRSA is already present and to prevent spreading the bacteria to other people the patient may come into contact with.
Even when wounds are kept covered, blood, pus, or other matter that may contain MRSA bacteria can leak out or be present on the surface of the bandage. For this reason, another of the MRSA guidelines is to avoid contact with the wounds or bandages of other people, particularly uncovered wounds. If contact does occur, wash hands and any other points of contact as soon as possible.
Under another common MRSA guideline, avoid sharing personal items such as towels or razors. Personal items of this nature can easily become contaminated with bacteria which can spread if these items are shared. This is particularly important since MRSA infections often manifest as skin infections. MRSA infections can also be mistaken for bug bites. In addition to these common guidelines, additional specific procedures must be followed in venues where MRSA is more likely to be an issue, such as in hospitals and clinics.