Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) - Overview

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How can I prevent getting or spreading MRSA?

As more antibiotic-resistant bacteria develop, hospitals are taking extra care to practice infection control, which includes frequent hand-washing and isolation of patients who are infected with MRSA.

You can also take steps to protect yourself from MRSA.

  • Practice good hygiene.
    • Keep your hands clean by washing them frequently and thoroughly with soap and clean, running water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Hand-washing is the best way to avoid spreading germs.
    • Keep cuts and scrapes clean and covered with a bandage, and avoid contact with other people's wounds or bandages.
    • Do not share personal items such as towels or razors.
  • Be smart about using antibiotics. Know that antibiotics can help treat bacterial infections but they cannot cure viral infections. Always ask your doctor if antibiotics are the best treatment. And avoid pressuring your doctor into prescribing antibiotics when they won't help you get better.
  • Always take all your antibiotic medicine as prescribed by your doctor. Using only part of the medicine may cause antibiotic-resistant bacteria to develop.
  • Do not save any antibiotics, and do not use antibiotics that were prescribed for someone else.
  • If you are in the hospital, remind doctors and nurses to wash their hands before they touch you.

If you have an infection with MRSA, you can keep from spreading the bacteria.

  • Cover your wound with clean, dry bandages. And follow your doctor's instructions on caring for your wound.
  • Keep your hands clean. You, your family, and other people with whom you are in close contact should wash their hands often with soap and clean, running water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially after changing a bandage or touching a wound.
  • Do not share towels, washcloths, razors, clothing, or other items that may have had contact with your wound or a bandage. Wash your sheets, towels, and clothes with warm water and detergent and dry them in a hot dryer, if possible.
  • Keep your environment clean by wiping all frequently touched surfaces (such as countertops, doorknobs, and light switches) with a disinfectant.

If you need to go to the hospital for some reason, and you have staph bacteria living on your skin and in your nose, you may be treated to try to prevent getting or spreading a MRSA infection. You may be given an ointment to put on your skin or inside your nose. And you need to wash your skin daily with a special soap that can get rid of the bacteria.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

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