Understanding MRSA -- Prevention

Reviewed by Sabrina Felson, MD on May 15, 2019

How Can I Prevent MRSA Infections?

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 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 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.


WebMD Medical Reference


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."

© 2019 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.