The Importance of Disinfection in the Battle Against MRSA

Generally, Staphylococcus aureus (staph) bacteria live harmlessly on the skin or in nasal passages in about one-third of the human population. However, about two in every 100 people carry Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), the staph strain that is incredibly hard-to-treat and resistant to (cannot be killed by) many antibiotics. MRSA can cause life-threatening pneumonia and bloodstream infections, which can lead to sepsis and death. Not long ago, MRSA infections were rare and primarily associated with hospital stays, but since the turn of the century, the bacteria have been turning up in daily settings, like athletic facilities, gyms, health clubs, dental offices, and schools. 

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 120,000 people contracted bloodstream staph infections in the United States in 2017, most of them in healthcare facilities – and nearly 20,000 died. Hospitalized patients with colonized MRSA may be particularly vulnerable to developing an infection during a hospital stay or after discharge. Wounds, surgical incisions, and use of medical devices, such as catheters, may also lead to MRSA infection among carriers. Federal health officials say that the deadly “superbug” has spread even more widely during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, with overwhelmed hospitals, nursing homes, and long-term care facilities struggling to keep up with the surveillance and control measures needed to contain local outbreaks.

How Does MRSA Spread? 

The highly contagious bacteria can spread through skin-to-skin contact or by touching contaminated surfaces. MRSA can survive on some surfaces for hours, days, weeks, or even months. It can spread to people who touch a contaminated surface and cause infections if MRSA gets into a cut, scrape or open wound. 

Healthcare-Associated MRSA (HA-MRSA) is especially contagious in hospitals where it spreads from patient to patient. Hospitals and healthcare facilities contain many sick people in close quarters, making an ideal breeding ground for infections. Open wounds, surgical contamination, and healthcare providers touching many different patients make MRSA infections even easier to pick up. 

As the number of HA-MRSA cases increased, more and more people brought these bacteria into the community, resulting in Community-Associated MRSA (CA-MRSA). These bacteria are becoming a serious and growing issue in fitness centers, athletic facilities, locker rooms, gyms, health clubs, and even schools and playgrounds because of the shared equipment and skin-to-skin contact. When people contract MRSA outside of healthcare settings, the infections most often show up as skin infections, according to the CDC. Symptoms can include redness, swelling, pain, and pus, and oftentimes, fever. 

There must be a comprehensive approach to combat MRSA and prevent future outbreaks. This is demonstrated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The VA reduced staph infections by 43 percent in VA medical centers from 2005 to 2017 by implementing a broad MRSA prevention program. The VA’s program includes MRSA screening, gloves and gowns on workers, and an increased emphasis on hand-washing, cleaning, and disinfection protocols. 

Stopping the Spread of MRSA 

MRSA may be antibiotic-resistant, but thankfully, it is not disinfectant-resistant. One way to combat MRSA infections is to prevent them from occurring. Infection prevention and control practices such as proper handwashing, thorough cleaning, and disinfection practices are quintessential in the fight against MRSA and other dangerous “superbugs,” like Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) and Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE)

According to microbiologist Michelle Moore, “Most standard cleaning and hygiene products are not strong enough to kill MRSA. Some of the most popular products may even cause antibiotic resistance and can weaken your immune system. Effective disinfectants will have a stated kill time for specific bacteria like MRSA or Staph aureus. Cleaning products with harsh chemicals can stress and weaken your defenses over time, making it harder to get rid of infections.” 

Related: How Antibiotic Resistance Impacts Infections in Healthcare Environments 

While antibiotics are effective against infectious bacteria inside the body, using an effective disinfectant product, such as Vital Oxide, to eliminate pathogens on surfaces can help prevent bacteria from causing infections in the first place. Vital Oxide has been proven effective against MRSA and is registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use against MRSA, with a contact time of 10 minutes. 

NOTE: Do not ever ingest or inject cleaning or disinfectant products. This is not an effective method for treating infection, and it is extremely dangerous. Disinfectants, when properly used, are very beneficial on objects and surfaces to help kill bacteria and viruses. 

Vital Oxide is unique because it is highly effective against a range of pathogens while being colorless, odorless, and free from harsh chemicals, nauseous fumes, and harmful residues. It also has a safety rating that is not common with other disinfectants. Vital Oxide has the lowest toxicity level that the EPA gives for pesticide (disinfectant) applications – Category 4 – which means that you do not need to wear gloves or any other personal protection equipment while applying it for general use. 

Vital Oxide has been used to combat MRSA and other pathogens, including most recently SARS-CoV-2 (the coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19), in homes, schools, hospitals, restaurants, athletic facilities, and more worldwide.

When cleaning and disinfecting, focus on surfaces that frequently contact people’s bare skin, including high-touch points, and any shared equipment. In particular, clean and disinfect any surfaces with Vital Oxide that could come into contact with uncovered cuts, wounds, or boils. Vital Oxide can also be used to sanitize bed linens, towels, and other contaminated laundry items in the washing machine. In addition to cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, frequently washing hands with soap and water, and keeping scrapes and sores clean and bandaged can prevent MRSA from taking hold. 

At Vital Oxide, we’re proud to offer a revolutionary disinfectant powerful enough to kill 99.9% of viruses and bacteria without harsh chemicals. Follow us on Instagram (@vitaloxideofficial) for more great cleaning and disinfecting tips. If you have any questions, please Contact Us or Send Us a Message on Facebook. We're here to help.
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