5 Blunders That Help Spread MRSA
MRSA is a specific type of bacterial infection that has mostly received media attention due to its habit of spreading through hospitals and affecting vulnerable people. The abbreviation stands for meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a strain of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria (usually referred to as “S. aureus”). Normally S. aureus bacteria are harmless, and can be found on the skin of healthy people known as carriers. However, once they enter the body, usually through open wounds, they can cause infections and get into the bloodstream which can be highly dangerous. The meticillin-resistant variety is particularly lethal and is usually referred to as a superbug, since it can’t be treated using most antibiotics like most S. aureus infections can.
Although MRSA is no more aggressive or contagious than other types of S. aureus infections, it presents more of a problem for people in hospitals and other places where those with weakened immune systems or other health conditions are all in close proximity and vulnerable to infections. That’s why healthcare professionals including doctors, nurses and other staff have a great deal of responsibility for ensuring the risk of MRSA is managed at all times. A trusted medical supplier can provide the necessary infection control medical supplies and equipment to minimise the risks, but training and extra precautions are needed too. Unfortunately, these five common mistakes make it easier for the illness to affect more people.
Lack of awareness
Despite high profile stories being in the media for years about MRSA, not everybody knows the facts, and in recent years the topic has cropped up less in the mainstream news. Since the 1980s it has been a growing issue, but many people including hospital staff (as well as family and visitors coming into contact with patients) aren’t fully up to speed with the science behind MRSA, so it could be that patients at particularly high risk are not adequately protected.
Washing hands inadequately
Not washing hands often enough is a common problem in hospitals because time pressures get the better of some staff when they are too busy juggling different patients and responsibilities. In addition to this, using the wrong type of hand wash or failing to use any at all can cause a much higher risk of spreading MRSA. Alcohol hand rub or medical wipes are the most effective choices.
Not dressing wounds properly
As we mentioned, open wounds are a very common entry point for MRSA bacteria, and this is the point where they go from being harmless to causing dangerous infections. Dressing wounds can prevent this happening but it’s important to ensure this is done to a high standard as well as checking and maintaining dressings regularly.
Coming into direct contact with infected people
Accidentally coming into close contact with MRSA patients may be unavoidable in some situations, especially if you’re working with vulnerable people to provide health care services. However, you need to make sure you always wear gloves and don’t share towels, items of clothing or anything similar with an infected person.
Assuming you are safe
Just because you are not infected with MRSA, this doesn’t mean you can’t spread it to other people. It might be safe for you to be in contact with someone who is infected because the bacteria are not entering your bloodstream, but if you overlook the safety of the other patients you deal with daily, you can easily spread it to them despite not getting infected yourself.