How to Identify and Help Prevent MRSA

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How to Identify and Help Prevent MRSA

MRSA is a bacterial infection that is resistant to many common antibiotics, which makes it difficult to treat. A relatively new “superbug,” MRSA (or Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), can lead to severe conditions such as pneumonia and bloodstream infections, and—in extreme cases—can lead to death. Outbreaks of MRSA were first recorded in 1968 Western Europe and Australia, almost 10 years after Methicillin (a type of penicillin) was licensed in England. Once confined mainly to hospitals and nursing homes, outbreaks of MRSA among the general public began in the mid-1990s. MRSA first appeared in 1987 in the Philippines, where it continues to be a health concern today.

How Does MRSA Spread?

Because MRSA comes from Staphylococcus aureus, a bacteria commonly found on the skin and in the nostrils, it can be spread by skin-to-skin contact, or by sharing supplies such as towels or razors. This can cause skin infections, or spread through the bloodstream to infect internal organs.

Who Is at Risk for MRSA Infection?

People who work and play in crowded environments—military recruits, athletes, college dormitory residents, and day care workers, for example—are at higher risk for contracting MRSA infections. Also, those with weak immune systems, diabetics, young children, and the elderly are at a higher risk. MRSA infections are categorized as healthcare-associated (HA) when they occur in healthcare settings, and community-associated (CA) when they occur outside of a healthcare environment.

What Are the Symptoms of MRSA?

A MRSA infection will often appear as a red, irritated bump on the skin—often confused with spider bites. It also might be:

  • Swollen
  • Painful
  • Warm to the touch
  • Full of pus
  • Accompanied by a fever1

How Can Safeguard® Help Prevent the Spread of MRSA?

Frequent and thorough hand washing with an antibacterial soap such as Safeguard can be a front-line defense against MRSA. Careful hand washing means scrubbing hands briskly for at least 15 seconds, then drying them with a disposable towel. Also, keeping a small bottle of hand sanitizer—containing at least 62 percent alcohol—for cleanups when soap and water aren’t available can help prevent the spread of germs.