MRSA FAQ

What is MRSA?


Staphylococcus aureus is a common bacterium that can reside on
the skin or in the nose of about one third of healthy people. It is
generally harmless except when it gains access to deep tissues
such as broken skin resulting in surgical site or wound infection,
or access to the blood stream leading to blood stream infection or
infection of other sites.

Initially penicillin antibiotics were effective in treatment
of Staphylococcus infections but since the late 1960’s many
Staphylococcus strains have become resistant to penicillin.

These resistant strains are known as methicillin resistant
Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA.

How do I know if I have MRSA?


Patients who have MRSA do not look or feel different from other
patients. Your nurse will take swabs from your skin, throat and nose
and these will be sent to the lab for testing. You should have the
results within 48hrs. If your swabs do show MRSA growth your
Doctor or nurse will inform you.

Is treatment required?


You may be either colonized or infected with MRSA.

  • Colonization with MRSA
Colonization means that the MRSA is carried in the nose, throat,
or on the skin and possibly in wounds but is causing no harm and
producing no symptoms. If you are colonized with MRSA, your doctor
may prescribe a lotion to wash with and a cream to put inside your nose.

  • Infection with MRSA
If you have an infection from MRSA you may have symptoms e.g. a
temperature or redness of a wound, this may indicate an infection.
Your doctor may prescribe a lotion to wash with and a cream
to put inside your nose. The cause of these symptoms will be
investigated and if you have an infection due to MRSA the doctor
will prescribe specific antibiotics to treat MRSA infection.

How did I get MRSA?


You may have acquired MRSA before you came to hospital, or you
may have acquired it in hospital. It is found in some patients who previously have had a lot of antibiotics.
What is MRSA and how does it affect patients & the people ahospital

How is MRSA spread?


It is usually passed on by human contact most commonly by people’s hands. MRSA may also be spread indirectly from the environment that is it may be picked up from a contaminated environment by the hands. When hands that have been in contact with MRSA are not washed thoroughly or cleaned using alcohol-based hand gel/rub MRSA may be transferred from one person to another via the hands.

How will it affect my care?


Whether you are colonized or infected with MRSA staff attending you will wear gloves and an apron. This together with good hand hygiene is to prevent the spread of MRSA to other patients. You will be accommodated in a single room or a room shared with other patients who have MRSA to prevent further spread of MRSA.

Do I need to take precautions?


Precautions include good hand hygiene as advised for all staff. Patients are advised by nursing & medical staff when in hospital to not visit patients in other rooms and on subsequent hospital visits to inform staff of the previous MRSA findings.

Do my visitors need to take any precautions?


Visitors must wash their hands on leaving the room. Visitors should wear a plastic apron. It is recommended your visitors do
not visit other patients. They should not sit on patients beds.

Do I need to tell anyone?


You must tell the nurses and doctors caring for you that you have
or previously had, MRSA

  • Before or on admission to hospital
  • Before admission to a nursing home or a residential home
  • Before an outpatient appointment or a visit to your GP.

Will I have to stay longer in hospital because I have MRSA?


Most patients with MRSA do not usually have to stay longer in hospital. If you have a serious infection, you may have to stay in hospital until it clears up.

What will happen when I go home?


At home, in most cases, you only need to ensure good hand hygiene.
If you require anything further you will be advised by nursing/medical stuff. Healthy family members, who do not have wounds, skindiseases, or have diabetes, are not likely to get MRSA.