Meticillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) RDaSH. Information leaflet

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1 Meticillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) RDaSH Information leaflet

2 What is MRSA? Staphylococcus aureus is a germ that is commonly found in hospitals and the community. About one third of the population carry this germ. MRSA is a type of Staphylococcus aureus that is resistant to some antibiotics commonly used to treat infections. MRSA is not unique in the fact that it has developed a resistance. It is no more dangerous than many other organisms. How can MRSA affect me? Most of the time MRSA lives like many other germs, on your skin and causes no harm. There are no signs or symptoms to indicate that it is on your skin. This is called colonisation. MRSA can cause infections in a minority of patients. Signs and symptoms of infection will vary from person to person. You may feel tired, have a high temperature and feel generally unwell. If you have a wound this may be red, swollen, hot and painful. If you have a urine infection you may have to pass urine more often and it may be painful to do so. Your urine may also be cloudy and foul smelling. If you have a chest infection you may feel out of breath and bring up some phlegm when you cough. MRSA may also cause more serious infections, such as septicaemia (infection of the blood). How might I get MRSA? MRSA is most commonly spread by direct contact from one person to another, usually on the hands. It can also be spread from contaminated equipment and the environment. You may even spread 2 MRSA

3 the germ to other parts of your own body. If you have a long standing illness, have to be in hospital for a long time, or have drips, drains or catheters, you may be more vulnerable to MRSA. Hospital screening and admission You may need to be screened for MRSA before a planned admission to hospital. You will be contacted before your proposed admission date to discuss this further. If you are admitted to hospital as an emergency, you may be screened on admission. If I have MRSA, can it be treated? There is usually no need to treat anyone living at home who is colonised with MRSA. Treatment may be given before your planned admission to hospital. An antiseptic wash is used for the body and hair and a cream is put inside the nostrils. While in hospital if you are found to be colonised with MRSA, you may be given similar treatments. If the germ has entered your body and is causing an infection, you may need some antibiotics. While you are in hospital further screens may be taken to see if you still have MRSA. Why am I in a room of my own while in hospital? In hospital there are many patients who are vulnerable to infection. This means that greater care has to be taken to prevent the spread of any infections, including MRSA, to other patients. 3

4 A lot of the wards in Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust have single rooms only, but if you are on a ward with shared rooms, you may be able to move out of your single room once you have had three separate clear screen results. Can I have visitors while in hospital? MRSA does not pose a risk to healthy people, including children, so family and friends can visit you. It is fine to have social contact, hold hands, sit beside someone or give them a hug or a kiss. Your visitors do not have to wear gloves and disposable aprons unless they are helping with your care. All your visitors should clean their hands on arriving and leaving your environment. 4 MRSA What happens when I leave hospital? When you go home you can carry on with life as normal you do not need to keep away from social contacts or close contacts, including children. Treatment for MRSA is not normally required at home, but if you have started a course of treatment in hospital you may be asked to complete this at home. Special precautions are not necessary, as MRSA generally does not pose a risk to healthy people. It is however advised that you: Make sure any moist wounds are completely covered by a dressing which will prevent leakage (your community or practice nurse will advise) Maintain good personal hygiene habits such as daily bathing/ showering/strip washing and ensure you do not share towels

5 Advise household members/ carers with wounds or cuts to cover them with a waterproof dressing Wash cutlery and crockery in the normal way using hot water and detergent Machine wash laundry Hand washing technique Step 1: Wet your hands and apply soap. Wash your hands following steps 2 8 in the following diagram. Then rinse and dry your hands thoroughly. Maintain good social hand hygiene: After using the toilet or changing nappies Before and after preparing food Before meal times After touching pets or their waste After blowing your nose/ coughing/sneezing Whenever your hands are visibly dirty. 5

6 2 3 4 Rub hands palm to palm Rub back of each hand with the palm of other hand with fingers interlaced Rub palm to palm with fingers interlaced Rub with backs of fingers to opposing palms with fingers interlaced Rub each thumb clasped in opposite hand using rotational movements Rub tips of fingers in opposite palm in a circular motion 8 Rub each wrist with opposite hand 6 MRSA

7 Will I always have MRSA? Some people get rid of MRSA very quickly and for others it takes much longer. Even if you have had clear swab results, MRSA can still be on your skin but in such small numbers that it is not detectable. It is important to remember that unless you are having any problems or are unwell and need to come into hospital, MRSA is not a problem. If I need more information who can I speak to? While in hospital, you can ask your doctor or nurse on your ward for more information if required. If you are at home you can ask your GP or any other healthcare professional involved in your care. If they are unable to answer all your questions they can contact the infection prevention and control team for advice. Should I tell people that I have MRSA? It is helpful to inform any other health care professionals e.g. dentist, care home manager, community nurse, who may need to be involved in your care so that they can take any necessary precautions. This should not affect treatment in any way. 7

8 This information is correct at the time of publishing Last Reviewed: November 2012 get approved We are a smokefree organisation WZT758/DP7084/9608/11.12

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