Protect your household from MRSA

MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is a nasty bacterium that loves to find its way into your home. And once that happens, you have something to worry about. Not so long ago, my own daughter struggled with MRSA and our entire family had to take the necessary precautions. The root of the problem? Something we’ve all done – pick at our acne. Now that she has MRSA, it’s challenging for her to be mindful of that if she wants to turn to the same habits again, which shows us how difficult it can be to rid yourself of it.

Before I delve into new research on MRSA and the home, here are five fast facts I think you should know about it:

  1. MRSA can cause disfiguring scars and abcesses that need to be drained.
  2. Treatment for MRSA is not the best – antibiotics have limited effectiveness and there are only one out of two options that don’t require IV treatment.
  3. MRSA is not as responsive as other bacteria – it’s very resistant and aggressive.
  4. It will run in the family.
  5. Once you have it, you are a carrier – and it can be fatal.

Doesn’t sound too pleasant, does it? Today I’m going to focus on new research that specifically discusses how MRSA can thrive in your household. The study showed that out of 50 children who had or recently had MRSA, 46% of their households were found to have MRSA on the environmental surfaces in the home. Areas that popped up as common threads included:

  • Bed linens
  • TV remotes
  • Bathroom hand towels
  • Cats and dogs

This tells us that with all those factors combined, there’s a lot of MRSA that could be lurking around. Even worse, when we have to diagnose people, it’s unfortunate that options are limited. So what can you do to protect yourself?

My biggest piece of advice would be to avoid picking at bumps and acne, because that’s just the beginning for MRSA, and often how it begins. Secondly, ensure that you clean commonly touched surfaces often, be it using wipes or other cleaning agents – just make sure you’re vigilant about it. I know first-hand the toll it can take on your household when there’s just one carrier – I hope we’ve helped you realize that too!

Source: JAMA Pediatr 2014 Nov 01;168(11)1030-1038, SA Fritz, PG Hogan, LN Singh, RM Thompson, MA Wallace, K Whitney, D Al-Zubeidi, CA Burnham, VJ Fraser

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