These common-sense precautions can help lower your risk of developing staph infections:
June 11, 2014
- Wash your hands. Careful hand-washing is your best defense against germs. Wash your hands briskly for at least 15 to 30 seconds, then dry them with a disposable towel and use another towel to turn off the faucet. If your hands aren't visibly dirty, you can use a hand sanitizer containing at least 62 percent alcohol.
- Keep wounds covered. Keep cuts and abrasions clean and covered with sterile, dry bandages until they heal. The pus from infected sores often contains staph bacteria, and keeping wounds covered will help keep the bacteria from spreading.
- Reduce tampon risks. Toxic shock syndrome is caused by staph bacteria. Since tampons left in for long periods can be a breeding ground for staph bacteria, you can reduce your chances of getting toxic shock syndrome by changing your tampon frequently, at least every four to eight hours. Use the lowest absorbency tampon you can, and try to alternate using tampons and sanitary napkins whenever possible.
- Keep personal items personal. Avoid sharing personal items such as towels, sheets, razors, clothing and athletic equipment. Staph infections can spread on objects, as well as from person to person.
- Wash clothing and bedding in hot water. Staph bacteria can survive on clothing and bedding that isn't properly washed. To get bacteria off clothing and sheets, wash them in hot water whenever possible. Also, use bleach on any bleach-safe materials. Drying in the dryer is better than air-drying, but staph bacteria may survive the clothes dryer.
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=4. Accessed March 3, 2014.
- Papadakis MA, ed., et al. Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2014. 53rd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2014. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=1. Accessed March 3, 2014.
- Impetigo and ecthyma. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Health Care Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/dermatologic_disorders/bacterial_skin_infections/impetigo_and_ecthyma.html. Accessed March 4, 2014.
- Cellulitis. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Health Care Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/dermatologic_disorders/bacterial_skin_infections/cellulitis.html. Accessed March 4, 2014.
- Fowler VG, et al. Clinical manifestations of Staphylococcus aureus infection. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 3, 2014.
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- Staphylococcal food poisoning. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/diseaseinfo/staphylococcus_food_g.htm. Accessed March 3, 2014.
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- Collins CJ, et al. Infectious disease outbreaks in competitive sports, 2005-2010. Journal of Athletic Training. 2012;47:516.
- General information about MRSA in the community. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/mrsa/community/index.html. Accessed March 3, 2014.
- Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) — Prevention. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/antimicrobialResistance/Examples/mrsa/Pages/prevention.aspx. Accessed March 4, 2014.
- Liu C, et al. Clinical practice guidelines by the Infectious Diseases Society of America for the treatment of methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus infections in adults and children. Clinical Infectious Diseases. 2011;52:285.
- Menstruation and the menstrual cycle. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women's Health. http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/menstruation.html. Accessed March 3, 2014.