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Doorknobs May Be 'Reservoirs' for MRSA

Researchers Track Spread of MRSA in Homes With Contaminated Household Items
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Minimizing Your Risk of MRSA

So what should you do to minimize the risk of MRSA spreading in your household?

  • Practice good hand washing techniques, says Catherine Bennett, PhD, head of the School of Health and Social Development at the Deakin University Australia in Burwood, Victoria, Australia. She moderated the session at which the findings were presented.
  • "Good hand washing techniques" mean means washing with soap and water for at least 15 seconds. Also, thoroughly wash your face.
  • Always wash after playing with a pet.
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers or wipes when washing isn't possible.
  • Don't share towels, uniforms, or other items that come into contact with bare skin, the main entry point for MRSA.
  • Keep cuts or broken skin clean and covered with dry bandages until healed.
  • Clean shared sports equipment with antiseptic solution before each use. Or use a towel as a barrier between skin and equipment.
  • Be on the lookout for infections. Early on, a staph infection resembles a spider bite (a red, irritated bump). Don't wait -- have a nurse or doctor look at it.
  • If you have an infection, don't try to squeeze out the pus. This only spreads germs on your skin.
  • Always keep surfaces clean, particularly if someone has an active infection, Bennett tells WebMD.
  • Whether to clean doorknobs, counters, and other potential sources of infection with bleach or antimicrobial agents is tricky, Bennett says. "You don't want to encourage resistance. So use them in moderation."

If you have a young child, make sure he or she follows these recommendations.

These findings were presented at a medical conference. They should be considered preliminary as they have not yet undergone the "peer review" process, in which outside experts scrutinize the data prior to publication in a medical journal.

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