There are many precautions a person may take to prevent the spread of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which is a serious bacterial infection. Among the best MRSA precautions are hand washing, isolation when necessary, and wearing protective apparel. Sanitizing medical equipment may also help prevent the spread of this potentially deadly infection. Covering the site of an MRSA infection may prove helpful as well.
One of the best MRSA precautions is hand washing. When an individual is caring for a person with MRSA, washing his hands with soap and water after touching blood or bodily fluids is critical. Additionally, the bacteria that cause this condition are not visible to the naked eye. As such, it is important to wash one’s hands frequently, even if there is nothing visible on the hands. For example, hand washing after touching the skin of a person with MRSA or handling his clothing and linens may help to prevent the spread of the infection.
If a MRSA patient must be isolated, contact precautions may prove helpful for preventing its spread. For example, a person who is entering a MRSA patient's hospital room may be required to wear protective apparel, such as face masks or face shields; protective eye wear; surgical gloves; and a surgical gown. Face shields and masks are used to prevent airborne bacteria from making its way into the body through a person’s mucus membranes. Other apparel is used to prevent skin-to-skin contact that could lead to transmission of the bacteria. Once the visitor or medical staff member leaves the patient’s room, this protective apparel is usually disposed of as hazardous waste.
The best MRSA precautions may include those related to sanitation of medical devices used in the treatment of MRSA patients. In fact, medical devices may be sanitized, even if they have only been stored in the same room with a patient diagnosed with MRSA. Additionally, surfaces in the MRSA patient's room and such things as wheelchairs and stretchers should be sanitized before they are used with other patients or by the general population.
Taking MRSA precautions may also involve limiting the contact some MRSA patients may have with non-infected individuals. In general, it is considered acceptable for a MRSA patient to have contact with others and participate in regular activities if the site of the MRSA infection can be covered. If the infected areas cannot be covered, however, doctors may recommend limiting contact with others or even isolating the patient. This also applies in cases in which a person is producing sputum that may contain bacteria or leaking bodily fluids.