How to Help Prevent Infections and Protect Yourself
Helpful Facts and Tips to Protect Yourself Against a MRSA Infection
- If you are going to have an elective surgery (such as hip or knee replacement) call up your hospital and ask them what their inpatient MRSA infection rate is for the previous year and what the infection rate is for surgical site infections. They may or may not tell you, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. Also ask them what their hand hygiene compliance rate is. There needs to be transparency and this information is not being disseminated to the public – we have the right to know.
- If you know you are to have surgery, ask your doctor to test you for MRSA, which is done by a simple nasal swab in the nares. If positive, you can be decolonized by taking a five day regiment of an antibiotic spray in the nares and also wash the skin at least twice with chlorhexidine, which can be purchased at any drug store. If you are colonized with MRSA, you have an 8-12 fold greater chance of acquiring an infection.
- If possible, have family members enter the hospital room and clean frequently touched areas: such as bed rails, tray tables, TV remote, phone, etc with disinfectant wipes. When visiting loves ones, do not sit on their bed and make sure that you wash your hands thoroughly at first opportunity after leaving the hospital.
- Insist that all healthcare workers ( this includes doctors) wash their hands and then put on gloves when administering to the patient. Putting on gloves without washing hands first contaminates the gloves. Healthcare workers should also wash their hands again before leaving the room.
- When going to your family physician for a doctor visit, insist that your doctor washes their hands before examination and also insist that the stethoscope be wiped down with an alcohol-based gel before placing it on your skin.
- If you or another loved one does contract an infection while in a healthcare facility, ask the doctor what type of an infection you have. If they tell you staph, ask what type of staph. You need to know what type of organism it is. 70% of all staph infections are MRSA and MRSA is the leading cause of infections. The majority of doctors still do not tell patients or their families this information. Insist!
- Upon discharge from a hospital, the patient must receive discharge information on MRSA that will help to explain how transmission can occur, what to expect and how to look for symptoms of change. This is VERY important to receive.
- Keep all wounds and cuts clean and covered till healed so germs can not enter.
- Do not share personal items with others, such as towels, clothing, razors, etc.
- When at a gym, refrain from touching your face or wiping your face with a towel that has touched surfaces. Wash your hands thoroughly with warm soapy water and do not touch surfaces on the way out of the gym.
- Carry alcohol-based hand gel to wash hands when you have been in the public.
- Wash clothes, towels and bedding with a small amount of bleach in hot water and use a dryer, which can help to kill germs.
- When traveling and staying in hotels, carry disinfectant wipes or a disinfectant spray in which to clean frequently touched surfaces such as; light switches, TV remote, telephone, night stand, etc.