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Thursday, October 8, 2015

MRSA Education

I was struggling if I should write about this or not. Constantly throwing it around in my head. I decided that I have too because we keep being questioned with concerned individuals about my husband's medical condition. We are feeling a sense of isolation, and/or distancing. I know MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) is a bacterial infection that many aren't educated about. In fact before my husband became severely infected throughout his body, we had no idea what it was either. I also understand with the lack of education that people would be afraid. I also understand (even with the education) why people would be afraid. It's a devastating bacteria that is hard to kill and once infected your life can change forever. Ours has. My husband is still on home IV. We are into our fifth month. Do we know what the future holds? Absolutely not. Are we afraid that one of our children can contract MRSA? No not really because it's that rare. It's like flesh eating disease. It's something that is stated contagious but how often do you hear of someone having it? Not often. Our life has changed. In many more ways then one. So I decided to write about MRSA. Below you will read MRSA information from the Vancouver Island Health Authority.

What is MRSA?

Staphylococcus aureus are bacteria that may commonly live in the nose, on skin and in moist areas of the body. This is called colonization, which occurs with other bacteria all over our bodies.  It does not normally cause a problem.  Staphylococcus aureus can cause infections such as boils and abscesses.  In the hospital it can cause serious infections in the blood, lungs or other areas for a person who is already ill or has had surgery. 
Staphylococcus aureus can develop resistance to certain antibiotics.  When this happens, it is called Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus, or MRSA.  Infections caused by MRSA are not more serious, but can be harder to treat as different antibiotics must be used. 

How is MRSA spread.

MRSA is spread from one person to another by contact.  MRSA can be present on hands, either from touching the skin or contaminated material, such as towels, sheets and wound dressings.  When hands are washed thoroughly or rubbed with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer MRSA is removed or killed.    
MRSA can live on surfaces, so hands can very quickly become soiled again. Frequent hand cleaning is necessary to prevent spreading MRSA. 

How would I get MRSA?

MRSA has been found in the community and in hospital settings, on people and their surroundings.  Healthy people are at low risk of acquiring MRSA. Some may be at higher risk if they have frequent hospitalizations, frequent use of antibiotics, compromised or broken skin, or lowered immune-system function. 

What precautions are used in the hospital?

It is important that additional precautions are taken to reduce the risk of MRSA spreading to other patients in the hospital.  These precautions include:*A sign on the patient’s door to inform staff and visitors that precautions are required *Use of gowns and gloves by all staff who enter the room to provide close care *The room, and equipment used in the room, is cleaned and disinfected regularly, with some equipment dedicated only to the patient*A commode for toileting purposes may be designated for the patient’s use only  
Patients with MRSA are asked not to visit the cafeteria and other public areas of the hospital. *They may be asked to remain primarily in their rooms, other than for tests or procedures *In some cases of respiratory illness, patients are required to wear a mask outside the room  

Some patients will be offered a body wash and a cream for the nose to treat the MRSA. * The body wash covers the entire body and is then rinsed off daily for 7 days*The nose cream is put up the nose twice a day for 7 days*A week after this treatment is done, the patient is swabbed again, to see if the MRSA has been successfully treated (if the MRSA is still present, the nurse and patient will discuss further treatment options)

What about family and visitors?

Family and friends are encouraged to visit and have close patient contact such as hugging, kissing and handholding, as normal. All visitors must clean their hands before entering and leaving the room. *Visitors are not required to wear a gown or gloves, unless they are helping the nurse with the patient’s care*Visitors must not assist or visit other patients in the room they are visiting*Visitors must use public washrooms only, not patient washrooms 

How can I help?

Perform hand hygiene:*Before: eating, drinking and entering/leaving a patient room*After: using the bathroom or blowing your nose*Before & After: touching a dressing or wound or applying personal care products  
Hand hygiene is:*Washing with soap and water OR rubbing with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer *Washing hands when they are visibly soiled*Turning taps off and opening bathroom doors with a paper towel 

What about future readmissions?

On any future admissions to hospital, additional precautions may be taken - and the patient may be checked again for the presence for MRSA.  
Patients should notify other health facilities or providers that they were on precautions for MRSA, in the event similar precautions need to be taken. 

What precautions should be used at home? 

If a person has MRSA at the time of discharge from hospital, the chance of spreading the bug to others is very small.  MRSA is no more infectious than other bacteria that people carry on their skin and are exposed to every day; however, people with MRSA should tell any health-care providers that they were on precautions for MRSA.  
People with MRSA can carry on with usual activities, ensuring they wash their hands after going to the bathroom or touching their nose or wound.  This practice should be a matter of routine and not just for MRSA. It is good to remind everyone to wash their hands often.   
Recommended practices at home
:*Everyone who helps with personal hygiene or toileting should wash their hands afterwards
-Clean hands before the preparation of any food and before eating 
-Cean hands well after using the toilet, and encourage family members to do the same
-Do not share personal items that touch the skin such as razors, towels or bar soap 
Cothing may be laundered in the same manner as the rest of the household laundry 
-No special cleaning of furniture or dishes in the home is required.

To conclude, it's your choice. I understand either way. For us, the recovery is nothing but hard. A daily frustration on many different levels and including this one. We just keep living day by day. Thank you for reading. Carrie.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like your entire family is isolated. I'm sorry I don't live closer as I'm not afraid of getting it. Hope things are improving with the continued IV antibiotics.