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Environmental Health - Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
Protection, Prevention, Treatment - Click on each link below for more information
The skin is a wonderful protective shield and the body’s defenses will routinely take care of nearly all Staphylococcus attacks. Periodically, a more severe attack occurs and the body needs help in the form of scrubbing with soap and water or using other skin cleansers, including alcohol products. Even with good hygiene, infections can occur that require seeing a health care professional who may prescribe antibiotics.
As you might suspect, any damage to the skin increases the chances for Staphylococcus to cause an infection. As a result, any cut, puncture, or wound must be kept clean. Obviously, there are certain groups of people that are more likely to compromise their skin, whether it is by profession, hobbies, or sports. Tree trimmers, professional fishermen, and physical sports teams fall into this category of having more cuts, punctures and wounds. They need to be particularly careful in hygiene.
The surrounding environment is also a consideration. When linens, towels, razors, or other personal items are shared, precautions should be taken. Prisons and places of employment where bunks might be shared from shift to shift are examples of higher risk for passing on infection.
Another section of this presentation addresses environmental exposure, including enjoying the beach. For now, you should know that the health department samples the beaches weekly and when tests show bacteria levels too high, an advisory is issued to the press. Such advisories normally occur during the winter months. When there are no advisories, it is all right to swim. However, if you have cuts or wounds at any time when swimming, you are more susceptible to infection.
Disease happens. The key is to prevent passing a disease on. Interacting with persons with a staph infection is no cause for alarm when basic hygiene is practiced.
To ensure protection of others, here are some guidelines:
Do not lance/cut open any skin infection/boil yourself, as this could cause further infection. Drainage and good wound care may be all that is needed to allow an infection to heal on its own, but a medical provider should be consulted for any skin infection or boil that appears to require incision and draining.
Signs of an infected wound
Page last updated: 06/25/13