Montgomery County health officials today provided recommendations to local health clubs, recreation centers, swimming pools, private schools and others on how to prevent the spread of community-associated Methicillin-Resistant Staph Aureus (MRSA). Health officials continue to work with public school officials to educate parents, staff and students about MRSA.
“There has been considerable attention paid in the media and in the schools about this bacterial infection, and we are urging everyone to practice good personal hygiene measures as a way to prevent the spread,” said Dr. Ulder J. Tillman, County Health Officer. “While the majority of MRSA cases are found in healthcare settings, it is becoming more common in the community. Although MRSA is a serious infection, it can be prevented by following practices such as frequent hand washing and keeping cuts and scrapes clean and covered.”
MRSA is a staph infection commonly found on the skin or in the nose that does not respond to more commonly used antibiotics. The bacteria can enter the body through a break in the skin, a cut, or an abrasion and causes symptoms of infection. MRSA is spread through person-to-person contact or touching a contaminated item such as a towel or athletic equipment. Poor hygiene practices help facilitate the spread of the bacteria.
Staph is a type of bacteria that may cause skin infections that look like pimples, boils or spider bites. Skin infections caused by Staph may be red, swollen, painful, or have pus or other drainage. Although anyone can get a Staph infection, individuals are more likely to get a Staph infection if they have:
• Skin-to-skin contact with someone who has a Staph infection;
• Skin contact with items and surfaces that have Staph on them;
• Openings in their skin such as cuts or scrapes;
• Crowded living conditions; and/or
• Poor hygiene.
To prevent the spread of MRSA, health officials recommend the following:
• Wash hands thoroughly and frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer;
• Keep cuts and scrapes clean and covered with a bandage until healed;
• Avoid contact with other people’s wounds and bandages;
• Avoid sharing personal items such as towels or razors; and
• Wipe surfaces of exercise equipment with a disinfectant before and after use.
Health officials are also providing recommendations on cleaning techniques that fitness centers, swimming pools, recreation centers, private schools and others can use for locker rooms, weight rooms and other communal areas.
For more information, go to www.montgomerycountymd.gov and click "MRSA Infection".
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