Understanding MRSA -- Prevention

How Can I Prevent MRSA Infections?

Staph is spread by contact. You can get MRSA if you touch a person who carries the bacteria -- or if you touch something that an infected person touched.

The spread of MRSA is caused by:

  • Close skin-to-skin contact
  • Openings in the skin, like cuts or abrasions
  • Contaminated items and surfaces
  • Crowded living conditions, like hospitals and prisons
  • Poor hygiene

In health care centers, people who carry MRSA are sometimes isolated from other patients to prevent the bacteria from spreading.

Here are some of the best ways to prevent MRSA:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly. Use soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Experts suggest that you wash hands for as long as it takes you to recite the alphabet.
  • Cover cuts and scrapes with a clean bandage. This will help the wound heal. It will also prevent you from spreading bacteria to other people.
  • Do not touch other people's wounds or bandages.
  • Do not share personal items like towels or razors.
  • If you use shared gym equipment, wipe it down before and after you use it.
  • Dry clothes, sheets, and towels in a dryer rather than letting them air dry.


WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Lisa Bernstein, MD on March 18, 2015



Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The American Academy of Family Physicians.

Capriotti, T. Dermatology Nursing, Jan. 26, 2004.

Johnson, L. Infections in Medicine, 2005.

WebMD Feature: "Drug-Resistant Staph Spreads Across U.S."


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