Superbug and Staph Infection: Fighting Against the MRSA Infection
By Jon Shanks
Oct 23, 2007
The "superbug" has everyone a little on edge as they desperately try to figure out exactly how they should fight it. You can't just keep your child home from school, but when they walk out the door, how what can you tell them to do to help them fight off infections.? The first are just common sense. Wash your hands (more on the below) and keep cuts covered. Don't share razors or towels.
Medical experts note that staph infections can often be treated by simply cleaning and draining a wound. Even if the strain turns out to be MRSA, (methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus) antibiotics may not be necessary, and severe cases may be treated with antibiotics. But schools are also scrambling to find ways to combat a growing MRSA problem that experts say will only get worse.
Gary Burris noted here that there is a specialized MRSA education kit. The kit was developed as a public service to educate students and athletes about preventing a MRSA outbreak; but the kit has kept a low profile until recently. MRSA is an acronym for a new super bug called methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus that is hitting schools, especially athletic programs, all across the nation.
Here are some of the tips that health care experts suggest as a way to fight off what could be a deadly disease. In team sports it is also important to exclude players who have potentially infected skin lesions if their wounds can't be covered. Other measures include washing clothes, especially uniforms and exercise gear, in hot water and laundry detergent and drying them in a hot dryer.
Proper hand-washing techniques are critical, says Jason Newland, an infectious-disease expert at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., because bacteria often are transmitted when people touch their mouth or nose. The quick pass of the hands under a lukewarm or cool faucet many of us rely on won't do the trick; it is important to wash hands for at least 15 seconds in hot water and rub soap vigorously to create enough friction to rub off contaminants.
If using an antibacterial gel, it is also important to create friction through rubbing -- and to make sure the gel dries completely. With flu season at hand, Dr. Newland says a flu shot is advisable because the fever and symptoms like congestion, runny nose and cough disrupt the area in the back of the throat and windpipe, allowing bacteria such as MRSA to enter the bloodstream or lungs, which could cause pneumonia.
"Schools have got to be on their toes with MRSA and prevention," says Dr. Mark Christensen, associate professor of Pharmacy at Oregon State University. "If a school is not prepared, they are asking for an extreme financial hardship." The company has now sent out thousands of the kits, with Ohio, Minnesota, Illinois and Pennsylvania leading the way with the most kit requests. "Our phone has basically been ringing off the hook for the last month," said Smith. "But you won't hear me complaining."
The MRSA prevention kit contains a DVD called MRSA: The Ticking Time Bomb, a poster, bi-lingual handouts, a printable quiz, and sample packets of the company's product. Schools can get the kit at no charge by calling Tec Labs at 1-800-482-4464 and pressing "0".
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