Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a type of bacterial infection that is resistant to a number of widely used antibiotics. This means it can be more difficult to treat than other bacterial infections.
Staphylococcus aureus (also known as staph) is a common type of bacteria. It is often carried on the skin, inside the nostrils and the throat and can cause mild infections of the skin, such as boils and impetigo.
How do you get MRSA?
You can get MRSA by having direct contact (touch) with someone who carries or is infected by MRSA, or from the environment around people with MRSA. For example, MRSA can exist on shed skin scales which make up dust. However it is most commonly spread from person to person. Sometimes you can transfer it from one part of your body to another. This can be limited by thorough hand washing and general cleanliness.
Can it be treated?
Yes, by using the prescribed nasal ointment and body foam. This means the chances of you getting an MRSA infection or passing it one to another patient are much smaller.
No more than 2 courses are recommended. It may not always be necessary to treat a patient who has MRSA. Occasionally, antibiotics may be prescribed when there is infection or risk of infection.
Can MRSA return after treatment?
A person is said to be clear of MRSA when 3 repeated swabs are negative. MRSA can, however, return. If you have previously had MRSA, you should inform the nurses or doctors on admission to any hospital.
Will you be cared for any differently?
Ideally a patient with MRSA will be nursed in a single room if there is one available. This is to reduce the risk it being spread to other patients. Staff will wear gloves and aprons when they care for a patient with MRSA
Can visitors infect other people?
Not if they follow the advice given in this leaflet.
There is no need for visitors to wear gloves and aprons unless they are helping with your care, such as washing you or helping you with meals.
If visitors are going to see other patients on the same or other wards, it is advisable that they go to them before seeing you.
Along with hand hygiene, this will prevent spread of the germ from one area to another.
People who are particularly vulnerable to infection or have concerns about their health should seek advice from staff before visiting. Pregnant women are at no greater risk than other people. If you are unsure please speak to a member of staff.
What can be done to stop it spreading?
MRSA does not usually affect healthy people however, it is very important that everybody cleans their hands thoroughly before and after touching patients and when they leave the room/ward of patients with MRSA: this is the best way for everyone to stop MRSA spreading.
What about washing clothes?
You can wear your own clothes in hospital, but they should be changed and washed daily. Ask somebody to take them home. Your clothes should be washed in a hot wash (check individual labels for maximum wash temperatures).
Will you have to stay in hospital longer?
Most people who have MRSA, with no signs of infection, do not have to stay longer in hospital. If there are signs of infection, it may be necessary for you to stay in hospital until medically fit to go home. Your doctor will discuss this with you.
Will treatment continue at home?
Sometimes it may be necessary to continue treatment at home. However, not all precautions taken in hospital are necessary at home. This will be discussed with you, and you will be given a leaflet called Discharge of patients with MRSA
Further general information can be found here;