How to clean up after exposure to MRSA
Let’s start off with the question, what is MRSA? According to Mayo Clinic, it is an infection caused by a type of staph bacteria that's become resistant to many of the antibiotics used to treat ordinary staph infections. There are two distinct types of MRSA, HA-MRSA and CA-MRSA.
HA-MRSA occur in people who have been in a hospital setting, nursing home, or dialysis centers. HA-MRSA is typically found in those patients that have undergone an invasive procedure, had artificial joints implanted, or have intravenous tubing. Hospitalized patients taking antibiotics that lower the normal flora levels gives the MRSA virus the advantage. Whereas patients in hospitals have breaks in their skin (surgical wounds, intravenous lines (IVs), and catheters) that can allow bacteria to enter underlying tissues or the bloodstream, according to MN Health Department.
CA-MRSA is occurs in the general healthy public, and often begins as a painful skin boil. According to the Mayo Clinic, it is spread by skin-to-skin contact. At-risk populations include groups such as high school wrestlers, child care workers and people who live in crowded conditions. Studies done at Mayo Clinic found that those with CA-MRSA tend to be younger, school aged patients.
Cleaning up after MRSA, the EPA has found that spraying or fogging rooms or surfaces with disinfectants will prevent MRSA infections more effectively than the targeted approach of cleaning frequently touched surfaces and any surfaces that have been exposed to infections. “Shared equipment that comes into direct skin contact should be cleaned after each use and allowed to dry. Equipment, such as helmets and protective gear, should be cleaned according to the equipment manufacturers’ instructions to make sure the cleaner will not harm the item.” Center of Disease Control
Laundry items should be washed on very hot temperatures. Bleach should also be used if possible. These items should also be laundered separately to keep the infection for spreading. The CDC recommends washing bed linens daily until the infection is gone. Avoiding having someone in bed with the infected person will also lower the chance of the infection spreading.
The best way to prevent the spread of MRSA is to have all affected areas cleaned. Prevention for HA-MRSA, according to the Mayo Clinic, the patients are quarantined, visitors and staff are required to wear protective garments and must follow strict hand hygiene procedures. Contaminated surfaces and laundry items are to be properly disinfected daily.
Those that come in contact with HA-MRSA, according to the CDC can do the following to prevent the spread of the infection:
- Wash your hands. Careful hand washing remains your best defense against germs. Scrub hands briskly for at least 15 seconds, then dry them with a disposable towel and use another towel to turn off the faucet. Carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer containing at least 62 percent alcohol for times when you don't have access to soap and water.
- Keep wounds covered.Keep cuts and abrasions clean and covered with sterile, dry bandages until they heal. The pus from infected sores may contain MRSA, and keeping wounds covered will help prevent the bacteria from spreading.
- Keep personal items personal.Avoid sharing personal items such as towels, sheets, razors, clothing and athletic equipment. MRSA spreads on contaminated objects as well as through direct contact.
- Shower after athletic games or practices.Shower immediately after each game or practice. Use soap and water. Don't share towels.
- Sanitize linens.If you have a cut or sore, wash towels and bed linens in a washing machine set to the hottest water setting (with added bleach, if possible) and dry them in a hot dryer. Wash gym and athletic clothes after each wearing.
SERVPRO of LaGrange Park/North Riverside provides cleaning at schools for mats, helmets, and other sports equipment that are often forgotten to sanitize. We also can come into your home and do a deep clean, sanitize, and fogging of all affected areas that may have come into contact with MRSA infection. Give us a call at 708-240-4873, and we will be happy to discuss how we can assist in your home, school, or business.