MRSA Prevention

What measures can you take to ensure you or your relatives are prevented from exposure to MRSA and other superbugs while in hospital?

There are frequent stories in the newspapers about outbreaks in hospitals of deadly superbugs including MRSA and C.Diff. It's enough to make you wary of going into hospital - but there are simple measures that you can take to ensure that if you do go into hospital, you and your visiting family and friends are protected from superbugs.

"Superbugs" is a term that refers to germs that are resistant to treatment with antibiotics. Antibiotics are usually prescribed to kill the bacteria that cause illnesses - but superbugs continue to survive and make the patient ill. People with weakened immune systems, such as hospital patients, young babies and children, pregnant women and the old are more likely to develop complications if they contract a superbug, although healthy people can also become ill.

Most cases of drug-resistant superbugs originate in hospitals because the germs have a high exposure to drugs and have become resistant to those drugs. If you do contract a superbug while in a healthcare setting, it is possible to sue the NHS. This is a complex legal area and if you do wish to make a claim for medical negligence it's worth getting the advice from an expert.

Patients and visitors to hospitals need to be vigilant and follow thorough hygiene practices to avoid catching or spreading these germs. So if you are due to go into hospital, or have family or friends that are, it pays to know how to minimise the chances of contracting or passing on a superbug.

Follow these simple tips to prevent your risk of contracting superbugs such as MRSA:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly before eating, after using the bathroom and after touching any hospital surfaces and objects used by others such as handles, light switches etc
  • Wash and sanitize your hands thoroughly and frequently (hospitals have special antibacterial gels that you can use dotted around) after any contact with others
  • Avoid touching medical equipment such as catheters and drips
  • Wash your hands after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose and safely and hygienically dispose of used tissues
  • Carry sanitising wipes with you so that you can wipe toilet door handles etc down before you use them - use one wipe per surface
  • To minimise your exposure to airborne germs, ensure that the room is well ventilated, and if you have your own room, keep the door closed
  • If your visitor is or has recently been ill, advise them not to visit
  • If you are visiting someone too weak to keep their area clean, or a child, help them by wiping surfaces etc
  • Keep your own antimicrobial products with you while in hospital or while visiting
  • Avoid bringing items from home that may bring in outside contamination - stick to new magazines, flowers and fruit etc

Following these simple guidelines and always staying aware of the importance of hygiene and cleanliness can help to ensure that you and your family and friends stay safe from superbugs whether in hospital or visiting.

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