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MRSA and Media Idiots: Here is Your Defense against BOTH!

Posted on 12/18/2008 8:36:29 PM PST by 60Gunner

Just over a year ago, the media provided just enough information (mostly incorrect) about a "deadly new bacteria" called MRSA to send our nation into a tizzy.

But before you panic over the most recent report of a MRSA outbreak in a Tennessee school, let me remind the reader of this immutable truth:


(I mean, if you don't trust the media to provide honest coverage about Obama, what on earth makes you think that they are going to give you the truth about MRSA? These dillweeds don't care about you; they care about ratings.)

So, motivated by both my desire to witness the death of the media and my goal as a healthcare professional to provide my neighbors with accurate information that will enable you to prevent the spread of and infection by MRSA, I have decided to address this issue once more. The reader will find what follows to be a methodology for not only preventing the spread of MRSA, but also for defeating the media.

In my business, information is power. The more you know, the less you will fear this microorganism and the better-equipped you will be to prevent its spread.

I can confidently assure the reader that my credentials and expertise related to MRSA are far greater than those possessed by that vapid little Newsy-Floozy on your television. I am a veteran Emergency Department nurse in current full-time practice, and I have encountered patients with MRSA a gajillion times. (By "encountered" I mean, "assisted in cutting open and draining their wounds, packed their wounds, and changed their wound dressings." And by "gajillion," I mean "gajillion.")

I know how to protect myself from MRSA, and I know how to protect my patients from it, because I understand how MRSA is spread and how it is prevented from being spread. Furthermore, I know what MRSA skin infections generally look like. Because I understand these things, I don't get freaked out whenever I see an ingrown hair on my arm. And when you read what follows, you will become just as confident as I am, because you will be jut as well-equipped to protect yourselves and your loved ones from MRSA as I am, wherever you happen to be.

Are you ready? Here we go.

1: Get rid of your bar soap and buy pump-action liquid soap.

A recent study found that MRSA can live on bar soap. On the other hand, the soap in pump-action bottles stays clean because nobody touches it. All you have to do to keep MRSA off the pump and the bottle is to wipe it off with a little old pull-out bleach wipe. Bleach is awesome stuff. Kills bugs dead.

If you use bath sponges or brushes, don't share them. One for every member of the family, and never the twain shall meet. Get a different color for each family member. Replace them at least once a month. (They don't have to be expensive. Besides, why pay lots of money for something you are going to use to wash down there?)

2: Wash your hands with soap and WARM water.

Any soap will do- as lung as it is not bar soap (for reasons explained above). It doesn't have to be Hibiclens(TM). It doesn't even have to be some ludicrously expensive antimicrobial soap for that matter. Just plain old soap and water is all you need. ANY old soap is "antibacterial" when used correctly; All you have to do is make LOTS OF THICK, FOAMY SUDS. It’s the suds that make a soap antibacterial.

"Really?" you ask. "How so?" you ask. Well, settle down and I will tell you:

Suds form micelles around dirt and bacteria and lift them from the skin's surface to be rinsed away to the black hell from whence they came. The more suds you make, the cleaner you get.

Don't use hot water, because hot water dissolves the natural oils on your skin that keep it from drying out and cracking. (Cracks are openings deep into the skin, and they can be microscopic- so you may not even know your skin is cracked. Openings deep into the skin invite bacteria.) Don't use cold water, either, because cold water will not produce decent suds, and it will not rinse all the soap away from your skin, so your skin will dry and crack. (Again, cracked skin says, "Hey bacteria! Par-tay over here!") So remember: not too hot, not too cold, but just right.

Wash- and rinse- AND dry- under those pretty rings on your fingers. Rings hide light- that means darkness. Moisture hides under rings- that means bacteria. Darkness + bacteria= EEEWWW.

And come on, folks. REALLY wash your hands. For fifteen seconds. Forget that "happy birthday" song crap (which I can sing in five seconds). Sing your ABCs; THAT's a fifteen-second song. Fifteen seconds should also cover roughly two limericks, if that's more your style. (That includes slurring of speech secondary to alcohol consumption.)

Dry your hands completely, including under those stylish rings. Water = bacteria. If you don't dry, you just defeated the purpose of step 1.

And don't you DARE just splash your hands in the water and then shake them off! If you do that, you are the one spreading this crap around. Stop it! Bacteria L-O-V-E-S moisture. And where you just had your hands- bacteria loves that place too. So when you exit the bathroom and go smoke that cigarette and eat your sushi, guess what else you're putting in your mouth- or into the mouth of that hottie/stud of yours when you try to be cute and feed him/her an hoeurs-d'oeuvres?

Nothing says "I love you" like a mouthful of Enterococcus faecalis.

3: Use Hand Sanitizer Correctly.

If you use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, you MUST apply enough to cover ALL of your hands from wrists to fingertips, including under the nails and jewelry. With Brylcreem, a little dab'll do ya. With hand sanitizer, you need enough to wash EVERY FILTHY BIT of your hands for the same length of time as described in part 1, above.

4: Take a shower.

I mean on a daily basis. Good personal hygiene is your friend. Remember those friendly little micelles? They do the same thing wherever you create them.

5: Cover your boo-boo.

Even if you don't have MRSA, if you rub that boo-boo over someone who has it or something upon which MRSA rests, guess what? You get MRSA! See how this works?

6: Don't touch someone else's boo-boo.

It doesn't matter where it is. Draw your own picture. Leave me out of it.

7: Don't touch any bandages that cover someone else's boo-boo.

That's self-explanatory.

8: If you have to touch someone else's boo-boo or change a dressing, wash your hands before and after doing it.

You can even buy vinyl disposable gloves at any grocery store. It protects you, and it protects the owner of the boo-boo.

9: Don't share your towels, razors, or anything else that touches your or someone else's boo-boo.

Yes, that means you married/joint domicile people, too. Think about where that towel/razor/dressing has been. Can somebody give me a BLEEEEEEYAAHHHHHH!?

10: Clean all contact surfaces regularly with a bleachy solution.

Those pull-out bleach wipes are great. Wipe down countertops, bathroom fixtures, faucet handles, toilet handles, etc.

11: If you work out at a health club or gym, bring your own pump soap and two towels.

Why two towels? One for your body, and one to lay on the bench at your locker when you sit down to put on your shoes, to provide a barrier between your backside and the bench, which probably hasn't been wiped with a disinfectant since the Carter administration. And the butt that previously occupied that spot could have been anywhere. Assume the worst. I'll leave you with your own thoughts...

12: If you have MRSA, wash your clothes and bedding separately from everyone else's until the infection is resolved.

Once you are done washing the infected person's things, run the washer through a cycle on HOT with a bleachy solution.

13: If it looks infected, it's probably infected...

... But not necessarily with MRSA. If you suspect you have an infected cut, scrape, or sore, go to your primary healthcare provider or neighborhood clinic and get it taken care of immediately. They will obtain a culture of the exudate to identify the causative organism, and start you on antibiotics that will kill the little bastards. Not all infections are caused by MRSA. All kinds of nasties live on our skin, and some of them are far more dangerous than MRSA. Get it taken care of.

Conclusion: Understanding MRSA

MRSA is spread by direct contact with the bacteria: that is, through contact with the exudate (read: pus) from an infected wound, the sputum (read: snot) of a person who has respiratory MRSA, or any contact surface or fabric upon which exudate or sputum has made contact. The two keys to preventing the spread of MRSA are 1) to avoid direct contact with the bacteria; and 2) to keep contact surfaces and equipment clean with a solution that kills MRSA (such as bleach). MRSA can stay viable on a hard surface for quite a long time- as long as several months, according to some studies. You can make your home safe in just a few minutes.

Protecting yourself from these bacteria is neither complicated nor expensive. It does not require fancy, expensive chemicals or equipment. However, what is absolutely necessary for the everyday human being to be safe is the diligent practice of good basic personal hygiene and common sense.

MRSA infection is a huge disruption of daily life. On that account alone, avoiding it is a very good thing. If untreated, it can be deadly. (But so can a great many other infection-causing microorganisms that don't get nearly as much media attention.) However, it is also highly likely that you already have MRSA colonized somewhere in or on your body. At least 85 percent of us do, according to infectious disease specialists.

MRSA has been around for decades. It is nothing new. It's just that the media has nothing better to do than make you fear for your personal safety.

Speaking of the media: I did mention that I also knew the way to defeat that menace to society, did I not? Well, that's even easier:

1: Stop watching their newscasts.

2: Stop buying their newspapers.

3: Seek objective and accurate sources of news.

There you go. Just another service I offer; no charge for that.

For further reading, I encourage you to visit the authoritative CDC MRSA website. You won't find it nearly as entertaining-yet-informative as my witty post, but it tells you everything you ever wanted to know about this subject. It makes a good tranquilizer, too.

TOPICS: Health/Medicine; Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: health; infectionprevention; mediaidiots; mrsa
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1 posted on 12/18/2008 8:36:30 PM PST by 60Gunner
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To: Canticle_of_Deborah


2 posted on 12/18/2008 8:41:12 PM PST by nickcarraway (Are the Good Times Really Over?)
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To: 60Gunner

That’s what my mom taught me.

3 posted on 12/18/2008 8:41:18 PM PST by smokingfrog (I'll go green when they plant me in the ground.)
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To: 60Gunner

Thanks for the excellent post. Common sense and rational thought becoming a rarity these days.

4 posted on 12/18/2008 8:51:25 PM PST by Oorang (Tyranny thrives best where government need not fear the wrath of an armed people - Alex Kozinski)
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To: 60Gunner

Good job and thank you for your effort. I will need to read it in more depth later.

I am a MRSA survivor, 2 months in a Seattle hospital, where I contracted the junk during heart surgery/stroke. It was hell...... but here I am. ;>)

My ‘guess’ is that I was infected by two separate tenured nurses of two separate occasions when they touched my open chest wound with their bare hands.

I am now a very demanding patient. I don’t care what they say or how long they’ve been around, when it comes to cleanliness, they will do it my way or they’re fired.

5 posted on 12/18/2008 9:02:06 PM PST by Gator113 ("Noli nothis permittere te terere.")
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6 posted on 12/18/2008 9:02:38 PM PST by CE2949BB (Fight.)
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To: 60Gunner
Staph to Staff is no fun though. I worked in nursing homes and the dreaded stuff popped up on a regular basis. Mainly I took the precautions you mentioned. But I also had to box the facilities Red Bags up. I got laughed at for the homemade bio-hazard suit I rigged with garbage bags but better safe than sorry. The showers and rest rooms seemed to be the breeding grounds and careless workers the means of transferring it. I've even worked in an active TB wing before.

I was in maintenance and didn't have usually have actual patient body contact but I learned real quick you watch where you place your hands near them. Gloves in a medical environment is the best protection and a mask if needed. I watched a housekeeper about go nuts after his leg got cut on a patients bed that had Staph. He was lucky. Getting a puncture is never fun.

Some moron where I worked placed an open safety pin in the garbage. Guess who got stuck? A year of free blood test followed.

7 posted on 12/18/2008 9:03:17 PM PST by cva66snipe ($.01 The current difference between the DEM's and GOP as well as their combined worth to this nation)
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To: 60Gunner

Awesome post 60gunner!!

My wife and I both work at a hospital(she’s a nurse). We are always very aware of many of the things you spoke of. You laid it out nicely for everyone in a very understandable way.

8 posted on 12/18/2008 9:06:18 PM PST by KoRn
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To: 60Gunner

“MRSA and Media Idiots: Here is Your Defense against BOTH!”
Thanks for posting!

9 posted on 12/18/2008 9:11:11 PM PST by Freedom56v2
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To: 60Gunner
MRSA survivor here also...Damn near got me. I was a Community Acquired Case. With the infection vector being the local Gym.

Here's my problem with this event (Outside of Being sick as hell for about 8 months)

The gym I was a member of, had 17 cases of MRSA a month tied to it (on average for a period of 7 months). The gym told no one...the Health Department did nothing. The only way I found out the information I did was I had to go plant myself in the Health office downtown for 2 straight days.

I observe the above rules to the letter these days...NO MRSA since.

SO the question becomes....Don't you think some kind of public warning should be necessary?

From my point of view, the business hid some really important information while letting people run into this stuff unprepared. Does the business bear any responsibility?

10 posted on 12/18/2008 9:12:06 PM PST by Explodo (Pessimism is simply pattern recognition)
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To: Gator113

My FIL died from a MRSA infection (post surgery.) When my husband had his hip replaced, his surgeon specifically gave orders that no one was to uncover the wound but himself, or his PA. He told my husband to raise a stink if any other hospital staff tried to uncover the incision site.

11 posted on 12/18/2008 11:05:05 PM PST by Dawn531
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To: 60Gunner
BUMP and big thanks.

I live in a very hot & humid climate. Germs, mold, mildew and bacterial buffet land. I am CONSTANTLY preaching anti-bacterial and sanitation to my family and friends. Slowly its sinking in. I will print this out and use it for further preaching.
Big Thanks.
12 posted on 12/18/2008 11:25:00 PM PST by Tainan (Talk is cheap. Silence is golden. All I got is brass...lotsa brass.)
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To: All
One more thing to emphasize:

Bleach is yer buddy. Its cheap & it kills germs.
Just make sure you have good ventilation when ya use it.
13 posted on 12/18/2008 11:28:51 PM PST by Tainan (Talk is cheap. Silence is golden. All I got is brass...lotsa brass.)
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To: pandoraou812

MRSA ping

14 posted on 12/18/2008 11:38:43 PM PST by TigersEye (I threw my shoe at Mohammed and hit Allah in the butt.)
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To: cva66snipe
The showers and rest rooms seemed to be the breeding grounds and careless workers the means of transferring it.

Dear friend, you hit the nail on the head right there, particularly with regard to 'careless workers.' The simple acts of washing our hands before and after working with a patient and donning personal protection equipment when dealing with wounds is one thing; cleaning up after ourselves and properly disposing of soiled PPE is the follow-through to that swing, and it does not get done, sad to say, based on my own observations. Not only does that leave us wide-open to infection, it endangers our patients as well. I've nailed a few MDs, RNs and Techs for that totally unacceptable breach; I even QA'd a supervisor once. She gives me a dirty look whenever she is in my department, but she damn well washes her hands, too.

15 posted on 12/18/2008 11:41:32 PM PST by 60Gunner (ALL bleeding stops... eventually.)
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To: 60Gunner
Excellent post!

I just came home from the hospital last night after having back surgery. The hospital I was in had these hand pumps of Purell (?) on the walls in every patient room. I saw them all over pre-op and post-op as well. Every time a nurse or doctor went by one of them, they stuck their hands under and got a gop of goo, which I saw them spread all over their hands.

Now I know what they were doing and why, and feel much better about the care and treatment I received.

16 posted on 12/18/2008 11:47:36 PM PST by usconservative (My Plan For Government Reform: Hangings on Thursday, Trials on Friday.)
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To: Tainan; 60Gunner
Can't stand bleach nor can my wife. I use 90% alcohol instead. I also used to wash my clothes {uniform} in Pine-Sol. That was the first thing done when I got home from work. I never brought Staph home. Things have come a long ways. My wife was a CNA back in 1985. The nursing home we worked at had strict rules forbidding the use of any gloves when working with the patient. I'm not making that up. One of her patients had Syphilis. Needless to say they gloved up at the risk of a write up.

I've also been a caregiver now for 23 years. She became disabled {quad} a few months after we met at work. My wife's been lucky that she has had no infections from extended hospital stays including several surgeries. I do her home health myself with her so that helps matters considerably as well. When she goes to the hospital I go to and do most of the stuff she needs. That lessens the risk also.

I don't work in the nursing homes anymore I'm medically retired and that helps too. The House Supervisor in the last place I worked que'd me in on who to be very, very, careful around. Blasted rules ya know. Can't have workers knowing a patient has a STD. Another risk was a patient with Inactive TB. It can become active any time.

17 posted on 12/19/2008 12:36:22 AM PST by cva66snipe ($.01 The current difference between the DEM's and GOP as well as their combined worth to this nation)
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To: cva66snipe

uss america?

18 posted on 12/19/2008 9:56:15 AM PST by wayne_b24 (every day in the Light is a good day ... John 8:12 & 14:6; Psalm 119:105; Joshua 24:15)
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To: TigersEye
The first case I got was because the nurse touched me without her gloves on. I now refuse to let anyone touch me when I am in the ER or Dr’s office without seeing them put on new gloves. The other thing I learned when I got MRSA with the bug bite....demand they do a culture of the wound & not just give you antibiotics. It does matter what drugs they give you. If they treat you with the right drug asap then you don't have to go through what I went through which was complete h-ll.
19 posted on 12/19/2008 11:57:21 AM PST by pandoraou812 (Don't play leapfrog with a unicorn! ...........^............)
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To: wayne_b24
uss america?

Yep the one now laying over 15,000 feet under the sea. I was a snipe and Fire Fighter from 77-80 onboard her.

20 posted on 12/19/2008 1:23:59 PM PST by cva66snipe ($.01 The current difference between the DEM's and GOP as well as their combined worth to this nation)
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