Saturday, November 01, 2008

Stop MRSA Now!

The week after I had L, I found a spider bite on my hand. Between being exhausted and caring for a newborn, I hoped it would just go away. Unfortunately, the bite got worse and within a couple days my entire hand was swollen -- from the fingertips to my elbow. I finally went to Urgent Care where I was subscribed heavy duty antibiotics and had the area cut open and then stitched back up. It wasn't a spider bite after all -- it was likely a staph infection. I was tested, and told I was lucky that it wasn't MSRA. It took weeks before I healed and felt better.

Considering how sick I became, and the scar I still have on my hand, I am glad it wasn't MSRA. MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is becoming much more prevalent. While it used to be primarily found in hospitals, Community Associated MRSA is occurring more often and is transmitted in schools, gyms, and locker rooms and homes. More than 90,000 people are infected every year, and 19,000 people died in 2005!

Some people have no symptoms but are carriers. There are some steps you can take to help prevent the spread of MRSA:
  • Scrub up - Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 15 seconds - the time it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice - or use an alcohol-based hand rub sanitizer.
  • Wipe it down - Use a disinfecting bleach solution to wipe down and disinfect hard surfaces. Make sure to use clean cloths to avoid spreading MRSA from one surface to another. (1 tablespoon of disinfecting bleach diluted in 1 quart of water)
  • Cover your cuts - Keep any nicks or wounds covered with a clean, dry bandage until healed.
  • Keep to yourself - Do not share personal items, like towels or razors, that come into contact with bare skin.
  • Use a barrier - Keep a towel or clothing between skin and shared equipment.
When MomCentral asked if I would blog about the website Stop MRSA Now! I was happy to help spread the word. Please check out the site for more information, and some personal stories.

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