Guest Author - Jenny Vasquez
I know many people realize that we cannot avoid contact with bacteria, as they are normal flora on our bodies; however, we need to be aware of potential dangers. MRSA infections are painful and can result in a tragic outcome for individuals that have weak immune systems.
I do not want to come across as an alarmist but I think it is important to be aware of the facts. This knowledge will help you protect yourself and your loved ones. MRSA is a growing problem around the world. Here are a few sobering statistics:
England experienced a 548 percent increase of MRSA infections and MRSA related deaths in 2003 and 2004.
The United States, England, Greece and Portugal have infection rates just under 50 percent.
Columbia, Argentina, Malta and Romania have infection rates greater than 50 percent.
MRSA is a global health issue and prevention is crucial.
Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection is an increasing healthcare concern. Approximately 12 million people in the United States seek treatment for a MRSA infection.
MRSA is spread through direct contact with an infected individual or infected surface. Depending on the strain of Staph aureus, it can survive for several days or longer on dry surfaces. You do not necessarily have to shake hands with an infected individual for it to spread. You can become infected by touching any surface material the infected individual may have had contact.
MRSA is a growing concern in hospitals as it can spread quickly and pose a threat to patients that may already have a weak immune system. MRSA is in the news quite often since many potentially dangerous outbreaks are in hospitals. I feel the public may not realize that MRSA has been spreading in the general population as well. You do not have to be a patient in a hospital or visit a hospital to acquire a MRSA infection.
MRSA typically infects the skin and the nostrils. The skin infection often appears as a bug or spider bite that is red and swollen. As it develops, you may experience pus and drainage from the area. If you suspect an infection, see your healthcare provider immediately.
How can you protect yourself and your loved ones from an infection? I know you probably expect some complex answer at this point, in fact, the answer is simply frequent hand washing. I carry hand sanitizer in my purse since a sink is not always available. You can also be vigilant in disinfecting your home, particularly areas such as doorknobs and the telephone. If you or your children have an open wound, you want to keep it covered as it heals. You also want to avoid contact with the wounds of other people.
Preventing a MRSA infection is not difficult; however, it requires the habit of washing your hands frequently. I used to laugh at a friend that was obsessed with washing her hands. Now, I think my friends laugh at me!