Thursday, November 01, 2007


I heard about this today at work, thought I do a bit of looking around and get information for you my friends and family for you guys to be careful and stay safe and stay healthy!

I love ya all very much and want ya all to stay alright and stuff :)


What you should know about Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus
What is Staphylococcus Aureus?

Staphylococcus aureus (SA) is a very common bacteria that can be found in about 3 out of 10 healthy people. Most of the time, it lives harmlessly in the nose or in other warm, moist areas on the body. Most people don't know that they are carrying it and are usually completely healthy. In certain circumstances, SA can cause infections.

What is Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA)?

Methicillin refers to a group of antibiotics that are usually used to treat SA. Some SA bacteria are no longer killed by these antibiotics and are called methicillin resistant. Over the past 30 years, more types of bacteria have become resistant to commonly used antibiotics. This makes infections caused by these germs more difficult to treat. MRSA is often referred to as a 'super bug', but that is a false name because we still have antibiotics that can be used to treat it.

All bacteria are able to learn how to resist antibiotics. As we use antibiotics more and more, the bacteria are becoming more resistant. This is an ongoing battle, and the battle will continue.

The good news is that even when the bacteria are able to resist some of the antibiotics, there is no reason to believe that they are more likely to cause infection. We live in harmony with most bacteria, and we live with them all the time. Good hand washing and other basic hygiene practices help us keep problematic bacteria in check.

Who gets MRSA?

Persons who are patients in acute care hospitals and residents of long-term care facilities, who have open wounds, catheters or tubes, and those who are very ill, are most likely to get MRSA.

How is MRSA spread?

The most common way MRSA spreads from person to person is by direct contact with a person that is carrying (or colonized) with this bacteria , usually with their hands. A much less common way of MRSA being spread is by direct contact with surfaces like railings, faucets, or handles that may have been contaminated by an 'colonized person' hands. Spreading through the air is very uncommon.

What is The Ottawa Hospital doing to stop the spread of MRSA?

When patients with MRSA are identified, the hospital tries to prevent the bacteria from spreading to other patients. Patients, who may be at risk for MRSA, are screened when they are admitted to the hospital. The patients who are found to carry the bacteria, are separated from other patients by placing them either in a single room, or in a room with another patient who already is known to have this bacteria.

Staff and family members who come in contact with them must follow strict rules such as washing their hands frequently and wearing a mask, gown and gloves in the room Meanwhile, antibiotics may be given to them to try to kill the bacteria if this is determined to be the best approach. These patients will continue to be screened regularly. Precautions will stop if the patient is found to be MSRA free for more than three weeks. However, testing for it will continue to make sure that the bacteria does not come back.

How can you prevent MRSA infections?

The best way to prevent infections of all kinds is good personal hygiene:

wash hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water for 10-15 seconds or use alcohol based gel;
avoid sharing personal articles such as cups, towels and toothbrushes;
clean and protect wounds promptly; and
cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing.
What should you do if MRSA is found in your nose or on your skin?

You should talk with your family doctor. If you feel healthy, you may not need any treatment. You do not pose a health risk to your family, co-workers, or the general public and you should continue with your normal activities. It is important for you to wash your hands regularly. Using an antibacterial hand soap or alcohol based gel may help stop you from spreading MRSA when touching surfaces with your hands.


What is an Antibiotic Resistant Germ?

When someone has an infection, antibiotics are medicines that are used to kill the germ (bacteria) causing the infection. An antibiotic resistant germ is not killed by the usual antibiotics. If an antibiotic resistant germ causes an infection, then a stronger drug must be used.

What is MRSA?

Staphylococcus aureus is bacteria that lives on human skin and it can also live in the nose. The usual antibiotic used to treat infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus is called methicillin. Some strains of Staphylococcus aureus are not killed by methicillin and are said to be methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)

Can it be harmful?

Staphylococcus aureus is a normal germ which does not harm people and is needed to keep people healthy. In hospital, if any germ gets into a wound or the bloodstream it could cause an infection. When a person has an infection with MRSA it can be difficult to treat because the usual antibiotics can’t get rid of it.

How did I get MRSA?

People who are in hospitals or nursing homes get MRSA. It is spread by contact with the hands. Care givers can unknowingly transmit the germ during routine activities and procedures between patients.

Why are special precautions needed?

Special precautions are needed in order to prevent the spread of this organism to other patients in the hospital who are also ill and therefore more likely to develop an infection.

What will be different?

· you will need to stay in your room

· people who are taking care if you will wear gowns and gloves to prevent them from picking up the MRSA and from taking it to other patients

· it is very important for all staff and visitors to wash their hands when they come in and when they leave your room

· signs will be placed outside the room to remind everyone about the special precautions

· if you need to go to another part of the hospital for tests or treatments, you must wash your hands before you leave your room

· please wash your hands carefully after going to the bathroom

What about family and visitors?

You may still have visitors. They must wash their hands when they come in and when they leave. They must put on gowns and gloves too.

What will happen when I leave the Hospital?

If you go to another health care facility or of you have services from Home Care, some precautions may still be taken. This is to prevent your care givers from picking up the germ and spreading it to other patients. Good hand washing is very important to reduce the risk of spread.

What about at home?

If your family and friends do not look after other sick people, there is no need to worry.

MRSA is no more dangerous than other normal bacteria that people carry on their skin and are exposed to every day. Remind everyone to wash their hands often. You should wash your hands after you go to the bathroom, touch you nose or a wound.

Will this go away?

It might go away on its own, but you Doctor and Infection Control may order an antibiotic cream to put into your nose and on any wounds you might have. This should be used 3 times a day for 1 week. Also, you may wash your body with a special liquid soap. This will help to get rid of the MRSA faster.

After finishing using the cream and soap, cultures will be taken of your nose, rectum and any wounds for a few weeks. After there are 3 sets that do not show MRSA, you can come out of isolation. If you are still in the hospital you will be checked regularly to make sure you still do not have MRSA.

How can I help?

If you go to another Doctor or to another Hospital please tell your Doctor and Nurse or other care giver you were once on special precautions for MRSA. This will allow them to check your status to make sure that they don’t carry the organism to other patients.

What if I am admitted to the hospital again?

On any future admissions to the hospital, you may be placed in a single room and special precautions will be taken. Swabs of your nose, rectum and any wounds will be taken to make sure there is no MRSA. Even if special precautions are not being followed, we may keep you in a private room and check regularly to make sure that the MRSA does not come back.

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