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How to Prevent MRSA Infection in the Elderly

By Jeff Hill, 9:00 am on March 10, 2016

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is an infection caused by bacteria that have become resistant to antibiotics. Although anyone can catch MRSA, seniors are most vulnerable to developing the condition due to their lower immune systems and increased contact with others in medical facilities. For this reason, Phoenix home care experts believe both you and your senior loved one should be aware of the following strategies for preventing a MRSA infection.

Practice Effective Hand Hygiene

Though washing hands can prevent infections, many people do not perform this task correctly, which makes it less effective. Encourage your loved one to wash his or her hands for at least 15 seconds after contact with surfaces that could be exposed to germs. This should be done using a scrubbing motion, and it is important to wash beneath the fingernails and between each finger. Your loved one should use a disposable towel to dry his or her hands, and a separate one should be used to turn off the water.

Never Share Personal Items

Seniors who live with loved ones sometimes develop a comfortable relationship that can lead to sharing things such as towels. However, personal items that come in contact with the skin are common sources of MRSA infections. Encourage your loved one to avoid sharing toothbrushes and razors, and towels should only be used once and washed with hot water to kill bacteria.

Avoid Cross Contamination

Wounds should always be kept covered with a sterile bandage to limit the possibility of germs entering the break in your loved one’s skin. However, bandages can also help prevent spreading MRSA if an infection does occur. Your loved one should also insist caregivers wear gloves if they are assisting with changing a dressing, and both your loved one and anyone providing Phoenix part-time care should wash their hands afterward.

Know the Warning Signs

MRSA is very contagious and can spread from one person to another quickly. As a general rule, infections that are caught early have a better outcome. For this reason, your loved one and his or her Phoenix caregivers should be aware of warning signs such as redness, pus, or swelling at the site of a wound. If you notice any of these signs, medical attention should be sought promptly so your loved one has a better chance of limiting the scope of the disease.

Seniors are always encouraged to maintain healthy hygiene habits to prevent the development of MRSA and other conditions. If your loved one could use help with bathing, grooming, and other hygiene-related tasks, consider hiring the type of hourly or live-in home caregiver Phoenix seniors can count on. At Home Care Assistance, our caregivers can help your loved one remain clean and healthy and help with a wide array of other important daily tasks as well. For more information on home care Phoenix families trust, call one of our experienced Care Managers at 602.388.1085 to request a complimentary consultation.