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MRSA Infection (cont.)

MRSA Infection Prevention

The best way to avoid MRSA infection is not making direct contact with skin, clothing, or any items that come in contact with either MRSA patients or MRSA. This is often not possible because MRSA-infected individuals or MRSA carriers are not immediately identifiable. A first step is excellent hygiene practices (for example, hand washing with soap after personal contact or toilet use, washing clothes potentially in contact with MRSA patients or carriers, and using disposable items such as gloves when treating MRSA patients). Antiseptic solutions and wipes are available at most stores to both clean hands and surfaces that may contact MRSA. These are useful at home, in gyms, or almost any public place such as a public restroom. As long as the infected person has viable MRSA in or on the body, they are considered contagious.

Another prevention method is to treat and cover (for example, antiseptic cream and a Band-Aid) any skin breaks. Pregnant women need to consult with their doctors if they are infected or are carriers of MRSA. Although MRSA is not transmitted to infants by breastfeeding unless the nipple(s) are infected, there have been a few reports that infants can be infected by their MRSA-positive mothers, but this seems to be an infrequent situation. Some pregnant MRSA carriers have been successfully treated with the antibiotic mupirocin cream (Bactroban).

Caregivers to MRSA patients usually can avoid getting infected by good hygiene (hand washing, using towels, linens and clothing that may contact the patient only once and then washing). Disposable gloves should be used when changing dressings or when one is likely to contact body fluids, including saliva.

General screening of people is only recommended for high-risk patients who are being admitted to the hospital according to 2010 CDC guidelines. This is usually done by the infection-control group in hospitals. Some hospitals have already instituted this practice: since MRSA infections have begun to decrease, investigators suggest this practice, along with good home care (after diagnosis and treatment), is responsible for the recent decreases in MRSA infections in the U.S.

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