Is MRSA a Danger in Your Home?

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I received a question from a reader concerned about the recent publicity given methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteria that is now resistant to multiple antibiotics. I am not an expert on the particular staph involved, but I think the problem arise when it causes an infection by gaining entrance to the body through an open wound or some other method. Doctors, not knowing the infection they are treating is caused by the resistant bacteria, begin treatment as they normally would. By the time it is realized that the infection is not responding to the antibiotic treatment, the patient is often very sick. A few recent cases have resulted in death.

My knowledge on this comes the same way as most of us, by reading and listening to news reports. If anyone has some more specific information or links to add, please post them in a comment. If you have more than two links, remember that the comment will go to the moderation que. I will release it to be posted as soon as I see it, however.

The reader in question was concerned about cleaning their house in a way to make sure to kill all germs. I am not sure that the recent publicity calls for any changes in house cleaning methods. Many common household cleaners have risks associated with them that surpass the risk of a fatal staph infection. The American Poison Control Center Organization has reported that the largest number of annual poisonings are caused by household cleaning products.

So I would say, just clean well. At the very least do not use bleach spray on everything in sight. If you feel you need to use standard cleaners with bleach and other disinfectants, just be sure to follow precautions listed on the label, use gloves, and be sure to have ventilation as good as possible. I would even wear a mask or respirator designed to stop fumes. In other words, not just a dust mask. If you are interested in green cleaning products, there is some good information put out by the Seattle Public Health Department. There are also internet vendors who sell people and earth friendly products. I recommend them.

Lastly, there is sometimes confusion about germ killing cleaning products and antibacterial products. Antibacterial products are dangerous because they contribute to the rise of resistant bacteria like the MRSA staff infection. I wrote about this a while ago in a post that has become, by far, the most read article on this web site. Germ killing products do not and should not contain antibiotics. My personal opinion is that cleaning products do not even have to contain chemicals like bleach or ammonia to be effective, but that is a choice everyone has to be comfortable making for themselves.

So read the above links and consider making your house greener and safer for you and your family. And remember this when you read or listen to news reports about the latest person to die from one of the resistant bacteria…. There are over 300 million people in the United States alone! In 2005, there were 1,629 deaths from the infection, most of these, I have seen a figure of over 90%), a result of infections contracted when a patient was already in the hospital. If my quick math is correct, this means 5 thousandths of one percent of the U.S. population died from this in 2005. If you stay out of the hospital, your chances of death from MRSA were 5 ten thousandths of one percent! (No guarantees on the math, but it is a very small number!!) Numbers may be increasing, but they are still very small. My recommendations would be these: We need to stop using antibiotics to treat every small sinus infection that we might get. We need to stop using soaps, cleaners, and other products that contain antibiotics. As Meher Baba said and Bobby McFerrin sang… Don’t Worry, Be Happy! 🙂

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Will Sig
1 Swubird

Will:

Nice article. If I had seen your article first I may not have written my own piece on this subject.

I will be posting another article on MRSA in the near future. Frankly, when I wrote my first piece I didn’t know if the readers would respond.

Again, a very good post with lots of interesting links.

Have a healthy day.

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2 MRSA Blog

I also enjoyed reading your article on MRSA. before reading your article, I never thought about it in my home and cleaning for it. I was always thinking about MRSA only in Hospitals.

Here is a site I found with some articles on MRSA, http://www.mrsasuperbug.info

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3 kaiyne

There’s a new product coming out in the weeks to come, it’s called T36(R) Disinfex, which is a disinfecting spray, a wipe, and will also be a hand sanitizer. This new product kills bacteria in a completely different way than traditional antibiotics, preventing microbial resistance. Here is a little clip from the company –

“In these clinical studies, T36® demonstrated complete efficacy after only 30 seconds of exposure to all 6 species of bacteria tested, including VRE (Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococcus), MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and MDR (Multi-Drug Resistant) Enterococcus faecium. These three species of bacteria are critical concerns in hospitals, nursing homes and other medical facilities based on their resistance to many antibiotics and other treatments. T36® consists of a unique combination of four active ingredients in very low concentrations that act in concert to disrupt the physical structure of all infectious organisms rather than interfering with their metabolic pathways or genetic makeup. The competitive advantage is a high degree of effectiveness and safety while preventing microbial resistance, side effects or toxicity”

The company is also working on several other products; an antiseptic that can be used as pre-operative and pre-injection antiseptic in hospitals and clinics; a First-Aid ointment and Topical Treatment used for cuts, insect bites, topical infections and other conditions that require a safe and effective anti-microbial treatment; and many more possible applications.

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4 jessie

I arrived at your website while researching cleaning products to use for MRSA.

Having a daughter who has fought four CA-MRSA infections since Feb 2008, I can tell you that this is nasty stuff. With the warmer summer months upon us, it is especially important to safe guard yourself and family against damp clothing and products that are wet and touch the skin (bar soaps, lotions, deodorants, makeup, sunscreen to name just a few). GOOD hand washing is as important as ever.

Thank you for sharing the information of the product

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5 mike

scary stuff.

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6 Dan

Sometimes, Death Is Good- For A Vicious Unicellular Microorganism

There are a variety of different types of foreign bacterial infections one can get from many different sources, yet some are more common than others. If they are not beneficial for your physiology, they all should die in order to restore your health.
Bacteria are a simple life form, yet are incredibly productive and efficient. As with other life forms, it exists to reproduce. To do this, it fully utilizes all available resources and energy to develop the protein that is essential for its survival, and bacteria have the ability to adapt as needed to assure this happens.
It needs exactly 7 genes to produce the essential ribosomes for this to occur. Any more or less genes than 7, the bacteria is not maximizing its efficiency to survive and reproduce. Amazing.
Strept infections are caused by what are called gram positive bacteria, and are unique that these bacteria grow in pairs. Staph bacterial invasions are gram positive as well, yet it is the MRSA, Methicillin Resistant Staff Aureous microbes of this type often are very difficult to treat normally when a patient suffers from their damage from being invaded by these bacteria. Another difficult situation is when a patient is infected by VRE, Vancomycin Resistant Enterococci, as well.
These MRSA and VRE pathogenic or disease causing bacteria are the ones that are the most clinically concerning for the health care provider.
Group A strep infections can cause diseases such as strep throat and pneumonia. Since there are several types of bacteria, a diagnostic test called a culture and sensitivity is usually performed to assure the correct antibiotic is selected for treatment, as the bacteria are identified with this method.
Typically, fluid from the area suspected of being infected is obtained from the patient suspected to have an infection and smeared on what is called a petrie dish. And then these dishes are incubated for 2 to 3 days. Gram positive bacteria stain during this process a dark violet or blue. Gram negative bacteria would be pink in color, and are capable of harm as well to a human being.
When the culture is complete, technology offers recommendations on the appropriate class or brand of antibiotic for this bacteria present in another person- presuming the bacteria will not be resistant to the antibiotic recommended, as this happens on occasion.
Usually, classes of antibiotics that are used to treat gram positive strep infections that are not VRE or MRSA are cephalosporins, macrolides, or general penicillins. If the microbe that is causing the infection is resistant to the antibiotic from such classes that are administered to the infected patient, particularly with methicillin and vancomycin, which is the case with VRE and MRSA bacteria, then there are other more aggressive antibiotics that will be chosen for this patient.
Such brands and types of antibiotics for MRSA and VRE bacteria include Zyvox, which has both IV and oral dosage options. There are also other antibiotics, such as Cubicin. However these antibiotics for antibiotic resistant bacteria are given usually due to infections that have progressed to a more serious nature within a patient infected in such a way.
Progressive medical conditions include sepsis, or blood infection, osteomyelitis, or bone infection, or Pneumonia, which is a serious lung infection. A hospital stay is normally required with such patients, as the last antibiotics mentioned for MRSA and VRE bacterial infections are given by IV administration initially for several days, if not several weeks.
There are numerous classes and types of antibiotics available, yet bacterial resistance to most of these antibiotics constantly remains serious concern for the health care provider, and the infected patient, with MRSA at the top of the list of concerns for the health care providers.
Dan Abshear

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7 Will

Thanks for all that, Dan! What do you thing of the product mentioned three comments above called T36? I wonder what it means to “disrupt the physical structure” of the bacteria. And I wonder if it is safely limited to just the specific bacteria being targeted. After all we have a whole lot of beneficial and necessary bacteria in/on our bodies.

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8 Seire

I absolutely agree! I fear that those who attempt to over clean will only end up exacerbating the problem with resistant bacteria. Water, mild soap and baking soda go a long way to keeping everything clean, and if you have a current infection, just wash everything on a consistent basis without the addition of chemical bleach and antibiotic cleansers.

Thank you for this post!!

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9 Will

Thanks Seire – You are correct. It is odd that these products are still such big sellers even with all the publicity about them. Also I am always annoyed that it seems less than 1/2 of the men who use the bathroom even wash their hands. Who is buying this stuff.

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10 Matt

Thanks Will. That was an interesting read. While maintaining proper cleanliness in the house is certainly a good way to prevent diseases, but in case of MRSA Staph maintaining proper personal hygiene is the most important thing.
The synthetic chemical based solutions are not a good choice as they affect the skin’s natural immunity. In stead of these natural or home made products are a much better bet. I found this link having some information on MRSA Staph http://www.defensesoap.com/mrsa-staph-infection.html

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11 Daniel

Hi everyone!
I have been batteling MRSA since Mid 2008. Both legs around the knees were the origonal infections, then my whole lower left leg swelled from the infection. 2 doses of vancomycian put MRSA in its place for a while, but summer/indian summer heat constantly returns it to my lower left leg. I always seem on the verge redeveloping MRSA on my left leg.
Funny thing about MRSA, it seems to effect different people differently. Mabey it’s different strains (some of which have developed more adaptively)and/or mabey it’s just the difference in the strength or adeptiveties of different people’s immune systems.
Either way, let me say that cleanselyness makes a big difference, but probably not as big of a difference as getting plenty of rest and not being stressed.

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12 Will

Sorry to hear that story, Daniel. So it has become a chronic problem in your case? Is it thought that there is no way to rid your body of the infection?

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13 Martina

I did not know much about this thing to be honest, have really learned something interesting in here, thanks.

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