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Could Your Parents Be At Risk For Catching MRSA?

If your parent is in the hospital, a nursing home or other healthcare facility, he or she may be at risk for contracting MRSA. However, there is something you can do to prevent it from happening to them.

What Is MRSA?

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a bacterium that causes infections in different parts of the body. It's tougher to treat than most strains of staphylococcus aureus—or staph infection—because it's resistant to some commonly used antibiotics.

The symptoms of MRSA depend on where you're infected. Most often, it creates mild skin infections, causing sores or boils. But it can also cause more serious skin infections or infect surgical wounds, the bloodstream, the lungs or the urinary tract. Many public health experts are alarmed by the spread of tough strains of MRSA. Because it's hard to treat, MRSA is sometimes called a "super bug."

Who Is At Risk of Acquiring MRSA Infections

MRSA is found in hospitals, other healthcare facilities, gyms, childcare facilities, correctional facilities, military barracks and dormitories. A recent investigation revealed the detection of staph bacteria on some local theater head and arm rests in Jackson, MS. University of Mississippi Medical Center scientists found MRSA on samples from various metro area theaters. People at risk for this antibiotic resistant infection include:

  1. Patients in hospitals and other healthcare settings: If people have weakened immune systems and undergo procedures or have catheters inserted, they can be vulnerable to MRSA. Ask your parent's healthcare professionals to guide you further if any of these situations apply to them.
  2. Visitors of infected patients: If you visit your parent who has MRSA in the hospital or other healthcare facility, avoid casual contact such as kissing and hugging. Follow prevention strategies below.
  3. Teens and children: They are vulnerable because MRSA is commonly found in areas with large amounts of communal use such as school, dorms and gymnasiums. Parents of children in daycare facilities should also be vigilant.
  4. Athletes: People engaged in sports activities are vulnerable to MRSA as it can be passed from one team member to another when engaged in sports.

Tips to Help Prevent MRSA

  1. Wash your hands regularly with warm, soapy water for 20 seconds. Ask your parents to do the same, or if need be, you can help them. If your parent has caregivers, give them these strategies to help prevent getting this antibiotic resistant infection.
  2. Cover any open skin breaks or abrasions with antiseptic cream and an adhesive strips.
  3. Avoid contact with other people's wounds or bandages.
  4. Use an antiseptic solution to clean your hands and wipe surfaces that might be contaminated with MRSA. Hibiclens Soap is used by healthcare professionals as a surgical hand scrub, a pre-operative cleaner and as a routine hand cleanser. It is a powerful antiseptic antimicrobial soap. However, people with sensitive skin should avoid this cleanser, and be sure to keep it away from eyes, mouth, nose and other bodily openings and out of reach of children.
  5. Avoid sharing personal items such as towels, washcloths, razors, clothing or uniforms.
  6. Create cleaning procedures for commonly used surfaces and surfaces that come into contact with your skin.

See your doctor or other medical professional if you notice any signs of a possible staph infection on skin.