Good Hygiene is Key to MRSA Prevention
Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) is a staph infection that is resistant to common antibiotics such as Penicillin and Amoxicillin, although other antibiotics are effective. Washing hands, keeping wounds and scrapes clean and covered, avoiding contact of other’s wounds and bandages, and avoiding sharing personal items such as towels and razors are keys to preventing MRSA.
Community-Associated MRSA (CA-MRSA) is a skin infection that usually starts out as a pimple or boil that is red, swollen, painful, and may have pus or other drainage. More serious infections may cause pneumonia, bloodstream infections, or surgical wound infections.  The bacteria may live in people’s noses and on their skin; most of the time the bacteria do not cause any problem.
Some of the factors associated with the spread of MRSA are close skin-to-skin contact, openings in the skin such as cuts or abrasions, contaminated items and surfaces, crowded living conditions, and poor hygiene. Most staph and MRSA infections are treatable with the correct antibiotics. The key is taking all of the doses of the antibiotic even if the symptoms stop before the prescription is used up.  The only way to determine if an infection is caused by MRSA is through laboratory testing ordered by a physician or other health care provider.  Contact your health care provider or Student Health Services in a few days if the infection is not getting better.
MRSA can be prevented by practicing good hygiene:
  • Keep hands clean by washing thoroughly with soap and water or using an alcohol based hand sanitizer.  Wash hands before eating and after using the bathroom.
  • Keep cuts and scrapes clean and covered with a clean, dry bandage until healed.
  • Wounds that do not heal properly need medical attention.
  • Avoid contact with other people's wounds or bandages.
  • Avoid sharing personal items such as towels or razors.
  • If you play a sport, shower immediately after practice and games, and keep uniforms and equipment clean.   Do not share equipment, uniforms and towels.
  • Use a barrier (e.g. clothing, towel) between your skin and shared workout equipment.
  • Athletic mats, benches or other shared athletic equipment that might have skin contact should be disinfected after each game or practice.
  • Contaminated surfaces may be cleaned using an EPA-registered cleaner or bleach solution (1 part bleach to 9 parts water).
  • Routine cleaning is all that is recommended. Because the bacteria live on the skin, they may be reintroduced into any environment at any time. Therefore, hand washing and wound care remain the primary means of preventing staph infections.
Further information about Community Associated MRSA can be found on the CDC Web site.
If you suspect you may have MRSA, please contact Student Health Services at 561-297-2276 or any local physician.
 Last Modified 12/19/14