When MRSA enters a family or a household there are several straightforward MRSA precautions that you can take.
High Touch Areas
Clean high touch areas such as door handles and light switches on a regular basis when a family member has an MRSA infection. Use disposable anti-bacterial wipes if available. Hands are one of the most potent carriers of MRSA bacteria so being aware of high touch areas is important.
If MRSA persists in your household after someone has had an infection it may be be because someone is a ‘silent carrier’. They will not be showing any sign of the infection but may be carrying it in their nostrils or on their skin. If MRSA persists you might want to have the whole family checked with a nasal test. Decolonization may be offered if there is a family member with major health vulnerabilities – but it will not be automatic.
The MRSA bacteria is often found in the nose, under the arms and in the groin area. Sexual intimacy will often be a way that the bacteria is transferred. Discover more here. Showering after sex will be one way that the transmission chain is broken before it can become established.
Key MRSA Precautions – Hand Hygiene
Hand hygiene is key – hands are often what spreads the bacteria. A hand can carry the bacteria from an infected wound, a contaminated surface or from one persons skin to another. Families with an MRSA infected member should wash their hands several times a day. It is best under running water for up to 30 seconds – this and the action of rubbing your hands together literally dislodges the bacteria.
MRSA Precautions & Personal Items
Household members should also be very careful about shared towels, combs, computer keyboards, phones, tablet computers and other items that come in contact with skin if a family member has MRSA. all of these can transfer MRSA bacteria to the skin.
Pets can also carry the infection between family members – avoid stroking and kissing pet animals while MRSA is in your household. (MRSA is not the only issue with household pets but research is suggesting that they may be a factor in MRSA persistence in the household.) Your pet may be a silent carrier or might have an active infection themselves.
Some people will seem to get repeated infections and suspicion will fall on household factors despite the MRSA precautions you might take. There can however be several other explanations. The drugs used for treatment may have caused the MRSA to become dormant but not eradicated. The person may have reinfected themselves from their nose, an area where MRSA hides. There may be external reinfection points such as day care, a work colleague or a highly contaminated public facility such as medical offices, airplanes or public seating. They may have a new infection or caught the same one again from the same source. Only testing for MRSA strains will clarify what is happening.
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