There are many things that can be done (and are being done) by hospitals, other health care
facilities, health care professionals and the general community to help prevent the spread of
Poor or inadequate hygiene habits are one of the main impediments to significantly reducing the
spread of MRSA amongst the population.
Proper hand washing is important to prevent the spread of MRSA. People should take
precautions by thoroughly wash all parts of their hands with soap and running water for 10-15
• before and after touching or dressing an infected area
• after using the toilet
• after blowing their nose
• before preparing, handling or eating food
• after touching or handling unwashed clothing or linen
While alcohol-based hand rubs do offer some effectiveness, a better approach is to wash hands with
running water using an anti-microbial cleanser with persistent killing action, such as
It’s important to cover boils or other skin infections with a waterproof dressing. People who
prepare or handle food must ensure they don't contaminate any food and keep any sores or skin
infections completely covered with a sterile waterproof dressing.
Do not share items of a personal nature such as clothes, towels, bed linen, nail clippers,
scissors, tweezers, razors and toothbrushes. If you share a bed with someone, keep sores or
wounds covered overnight.
Hospitals and other healthcare facilities should ensure proper and active patient screening upon
admission with nasal cultures to help prevent cohabitation of MRSA carriers with non-carriers, and
exposure to infected surfaces.
In healthcare facilities, MRSA can live on surfaces and fabrics, including privacy curtains or
garments worn by care providers. Complete surface cleansing is necessary to eliminate MRSA in
areas where patients are recovering from invasive procedures.
Alcohol has been found to be a useful surface cleanser and sanitizer against MRSA. Quaternary
ammonium can be used in conjunction with alcohol to prolong the longevity of the sanitizing
It is understood that in the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared a
surgical respirator, known as the SpectraShield 9500, that kills MRSA and other bacteria. The
respirator is said to block at least 95% of small particles in a standardized test.
Following the drainage of boils or other recommended treatment for MRSA infections, patients may
bathe (shower) at home using antiseptic soaps such as chlorhexidine (Hibiclens) or hexachlorophene
(Phisohex). They should bathe from head to toe, and apply mupirocin (Bactroban) 2% ointment inside
each nostril twice daily for 7 days, using a cotton-tipped swab. To be on the safe side,
family members or other co-habitants should follow a similar decolonization procedure.
It is believed that certain essential oils such as lemongrass oil, lemon myrtle oil, mountain
savory oil and melissa oil may inhibit the production of MRSA bacteria. Tea tree oil is also
effective in killing MRSA strains.
Disposal of Hospital Gowns
Proper and vigilant disposal of used paper hospital gowns could avoid the spread of MRSA
Isolation from Workplaces
Workers whose wound drainage cannot be covered and contained with a clean, dry bandage and for
those who cannot maintain good hygiene practices, should give serious consideration to excluding
themselves from the workplace until their situation improves.
People who are infectious should ideally be excluded from workplace activities where skin-to-skin
contact is likely to occur until their infections are healed.
Employers should take steps to ensure the availability of adequate facilities and equipment that
encourage workers to practice good hygiene in order to prevent the spread of MRSA in the
workplace. This should include ensuring that proper surface sanitizing methods are followed
and that contaminated equipment is sanitized by approved disinfectants.
Schools and Childcare Facilities
In addition to other more general hygiene precautions, specific actions that can be employed to
prevent spread of MRSA in schools and childcare centers include:
• teachers, care givers, children and their families should understand the importance of proper
hand washing, covering up when coughing and staying at home if sick
• hand washing supplies (soap dispensers, running water and clean paper towels) should be readily
available and in easy reach
• routine activities should include adequate time for hand washing (before meals and after using
• if open skin wounds can’t be kept covered, temporary exclusion from child care or school may be
appropriate until such time as the wound has healed or drainage of pus from the wounds can be
contained using a sterile sealed bandage
• common surfaces (such as counters, desks and toys) are a breeding ground for germs.
Surfaces such as these that come into contact with uncovered or poorly covered infections, should
be cleansed on a daily basis with suitable detergent, and whenever visibly contaminated.
Sporting Teams and Groups
In addition to other more general hygiene precautions, steps to prevent the spread of MRSA in
sports teams and groups should include:
• Temporarily sidelining of people from playing all forms of contact sports who have skin
infections or open wounds that cannot be kept covered. This should apply until such
time as the wound has healed or drainage can be contained
• Exclusion of those who have skin infections or open wounds from common spas or saunas
• No sharing of towels or sports equipment that comes into contact with the skin of people who
have uncovered skin wounds.
Limiting Antibiotic use
Antibiotics such as glycopeptides, cephalosporins and quinolones have been associated with an
increased risk of colonisation of MRSA. Taking action to reduce the use of classes of
antibiotics that foster MRSA colonisation is recommended in current policies and