Anybody can be infected with MRSA but the elderly
and people who are ill or physically frail are at greater
risk than the rest of the population.
MRSA infection is not just confined to hospitals.
Outside hospitals, people may carry MRSA without it
causing harm to themselves or others. These people are
said to be colonised with MRSA. Good hygiene is all
that is required to prevent the spread of MRSA and
indeed many other infections. Thorough hand washing
and drying between caring for people, and whenever
necessary has shown to be the single most important
measure in reducing cross-infection.
But the vast majority of MRSA infections occur in hospital.
There are a number of reasons for this:
- People who are ill or weakened as a result of surgery
or medical treatment are more vulnerable to infection.
- In hospital, there are usually plenty of opportunities
for MRSA to enter the body, e.g. via wounds, surgical
scars or through the use of equipment such as catheters
or intravenous drips. MRSA may develop in open wounds
and is easily spread from one wound to another.
- Hospital wards are often fairly crowded and unless staff
and patients take adequate precautions, MRSA can be
transferred from one patient to the next.
If you are going into hospital, there are a number of precautions
you can take to reduce the risk of infection. These are outlined
in the section Preventing MRSA. Click
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