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5 MRSA Hot Spots

Photograph by Twenty20

MRSA has hit my family again, and it hasn't gotten easier to manage. MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is an antibiotic-resistant strain of bacteria. It is absolutely normal for viruses and bacteria to mutate and become stronger than the agents that oppose them. That is the nature of life itself.

But the reason we can't fight this particular bacterium is twofold:

1. We overuse antibiotics in nearly every way. There are antibiotic soaps, cleaners and drugs at our fingertips. The constant use of these products increases the speed at which bacteria change in their resistance to current drugs.

2. Our pharmaceutical companies have stopped researching and creating newer and stronger antibiotics because it is not as profitable as the drugs we see being advertised on television to speak with our doctors about. Basically it comes down to money, profit over life—the American way.

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My advice is to avoid contact with this bacteria, and if you're interested in doing so, you'll want to avoid or be careful at the places where it's found—that is, where there are lots of people and plenty of body-to-body contact. Here are some hot spots:

1. Gyms

There are plenty of bacteria to go around at a gym. Individuals work out on a machine and sweat all over it during their workout. When they are complete, they wipe it down with a towel that they may also use to wipe their heads. It's as simple as that. It is important to clean the machines with some type of cleaner that kills bacteria, like bleach, if you are going to create a safe environment.

2. Prison

People who work in prisons or are in prison are at great risk of contracting MRSA. Staff and inmates must take precautions when anticipating direct contact with body fluids, non-intact skin, or mucous membranes.

3. Military Barracks

Not surprisingly, barracks are another hot area for the antibiotic-resistant strain of MRSA. The close-quarters can be crowded and confided, often seeing poor hygiene practices, putting residents at risk.

4. Schools

Schools are the No. 1 spot for parents to be concerned about. Our children spend much of their lives in schools that are not cleaned properly. This is most likely where most children come in contact with the bacteria, and the number of kids who do so is continually increasing.

5. Hospitals

Most deaths from the MRSA bacteria have occurred in hospitals. Many patients are admitted for health concerns unrelated to MRSA, but because they have compromised immune systems, their exposure to the MRSA bacteria while in the hospital becomes a fatal or near-fatal experience.

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Should you find yourself or your children in any of the places named above, it is highly advisable that you take precautions to protect yourself and your family members. It really can be as simple as washing your hands and making sure your children are washing their hands as well. And it's important to remember that most bacteria are good. We need them to help fight the bad stuff, so be certain not to overuse antibacterial products. These products don't discriminate and kill everything—the good and bad.

If you or someone in your family has been exposed and contracted MRSA, it's important that you act quickly to get the medical attention needed to heal. It is also necessary that precautions are taken to protect the bacteria from spreading.

This blog post should not be con­strued as med­ical advice. If you have a concern, please con­sult with an appropriately-licensed physi­cian or other health care worker.

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