Understanding MRSA -- Prevention

Medically Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner, MD on May 21, 2023
2 min read

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

The spread of MRSA is promoted 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 hand hygiene

In health care centers, people who carry MRSA are often cared for with other patients who have MRSA as well. You may be hospitalized for something totally unrelated, but if you are a carrier of MRSA, then you may be roomed with others who have it and 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 20 seconds, or as long as it takes you to recite the alphabet.
  • Cover and clean cuts with an antibacterial cream or ointment and 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.
  • Washing clothes and linens with regular detergents at the hottest temperature that is safe for the fabric, eliminates MRSA.