With MRSA more common outside of hospital, prevention is key

September 24, 2010, University of Cincinnati
With MRSA more common outside of hospital, prevention is key
Courtesy of the Center for Disease Control's Public Health Image Library

It used to be known as the bacteria you contracted after being admitted to the hospital.

But now, experts are saying methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus () may be more prevalent in your stores, gym and even your home than in the halls and walls of your local infirmary.

World MRSA Day 2010 is Oct. 1, and Francine Kidd, infection control practitioner at UC Health University Hospital, says people should be cautious of this bacterial skin infection that is highly resistant to some antibiotics.

"MRSA is a condition that was thought to be predominately acquired among hospital populations, where patients with invasive devices and weakened immune systems were at greater risk of infection than the general public,” she says. "However, the situation has flipped, and now we’re seeing more people coming into the hospital with MRSA than leaving with it.”

Kidd says compromised skin surfaces, contact with those infected and inadequate personal hygiene are just a few ways someone can develop MRSA.

"MRSA is a skin organism,” she explains. "It can’t hurt you unless you get a break in your skin. Then, it can get in and start an infection. It is seen a lot in contact sports—like football—because people slam into each other and can easily break their skin, which is all MRSA needs to set up an . Hospital infections are seen more in the , sputum (mucus) and other deep organs. Outside of the , MRSA is seen mostly as a skin abscess.”

She says prevention is much better—and easier—than a cure.

"Cleanliness and extra precaution should be in the forefront of everyone’s minds—whether you’re going to the grocery or running on the treadmill at your local gym,” she says.

Kidd says the first line of defense is the easiest.

"Wash your hands,” she says. "MRSA is usually transmitted by everyday touching. Use soapy water and friction for at least 20 seconds. Use of a is protective, especially when you're not near a sink. In fact, alcohol hand sanitizers can be better than washing because they kill germs. When you wash, you loosen the germs from your and rinse them down the drain.”

In addition, Kidd says cover open scrapes or blisters, and if you are involved with contact sports, make sure to shower and wash after participating.

"Disinfect gym equipment before and after use, and bring your own towels and flip flops,” she says. "Don’t share.”

"MRSA is not a new condition, and we’ve been hearing a lot about its effects recently,” she continues. "Just because we don’t hear about it every day doesn’t mean it isn’t out there. Do your best to protect yourself by being mindful of your health habits and the habits of others.”

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Research finds new mechanism that can cause the spread of deadly infection

April 20, 2018
Scientists at the University of Birmingham have discovered a unique mechanism that drives the spread of a deadly infection.

Selection of a pyrethroid metabolic enzyme CYP9K1 by malaria control activities

April 20, 2018
Researchers from LSTM, with partners from a number of international institutions, have shown the rapid selection of a novel P450 enzyme leading to insecticide resistance in a major malaria vector.

Study predicts 2018 flu vaccine will have 20 percent efficacy

April 19, 2018
A Rice University study predicts that this fall's flu vaccine—a new H3N2 formulation for the first time since 2015—will likely have the same reduced efficacy against the dominant circulating strain of influenza A as the ...

Low-cost anti-hookworm drug boosts female farmers' physical fitness

April 19, 2018
Impoverished female farm workers infected with intestinal parasites known as hookworms saw significant improvements in physical fitness when they were treated with a low-cost deworming drug. The benefits were seen even in ...

Zika presents hot spots in brains of chicken embryos

April 19, 2018
Zika prefers certain "hot spots" in the brains of chicken embryos, offering insight into how brain development is affected by the virus.

Super-superbug clones invade Gulf States

April 18, 2018
A new wave of highly antibiotic resistant superbugs has been found in the Middle East Gulf States, discovered by University of Queensland researchers.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.