Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
Staphylococcus aureus (staph) is a germ found on the skin or in the nose. People sometimes call this germ M-R-S-A or "mersa." MRSA can cause lung, blood, skin, or other infections.
MRSA germs can be found in hospitals, doctors' offices, schools, homes, or gyms. MRSA can live on door handles, light switches, counters, and the skin.
It can spread if you touch a surface with MRSA, then touch something else.
- MRSA is hard to kill with antibiotics.
- Washing your hands is the best way to stop the spread of MRSA.
People at risk are:
- Patients in the hospital
- People with open wounds or sores in their skin
- People with IV tubes or drains in their bodies
MRSA can cause an infection or be living (colonized) on your body.
- An infection is when MRSA causes:
- Pus from skin/sores
- Cough or illness
- Only MRSA infections need to be treated and antibiotics are used
In the hospital
- People caring for you should wash their hands often.
- Sometimes you will be placed in isolation precautions.
- You could be in a room by yourself and staff will wear gowns and gloves when caring for you.
- This depends on where your MRSA infection is and what is happening.
Washing your hands in the hospital
- Wash your hands when using the bathroom, before eating, and before leaving your room
- Do not touch any wounds or tubes sticking out of your body.
- Your visitors should wash their hands each time they enter or leave your room.
Washing your hands at home
- Wash your hands with liquid soap and water for at least 15 seconds (or as long as it takes to sing the “happy birthday” song twice).
- You can also use a waterless alcohol-based hand cleaner.
- Use paper towels to dry your hands.
- Do not share hand or bath towels
Wash your hands:
- After using the bathroom
- After blowing your nose
- Before and after touching wounds and sores on your skin
- Before cooking or eating food
- When you get home and before you leave again
- After touching your pet
Keep your wounds covered. Wrap old bandages in a plastic bag then throw them away.
Do not share:
- Bar soap or bath water
- Drinking glasses or silverware
- Make-up or sports equipment
Cleaning at home
- Wash your clothes, sheets, pillow cases, bedspreads, and towels with hot, soapy water.
- Use a clothes dryer to completely dry your laundry.
- Wash door handles, sinks, counters, phones, and light switches at least one time a week.
- Use house cleaners that kill germs (disinfectants).