The most common place for MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) to be colonized is in the nose. Colonization means that someone has no symptoms of this infection but has the bacteria, which makes them a carrier.
When someone has it colonized in their nose they can spread the infection to others unknowingly, which is why it has become a common practice to swab the nostril to screen for this infection to identify if the person is a carrier or not.
The screening has lowered the spread of this infection in hospitals where the risk of is higher. The best way to avoid spreading MRSA is by regularly washing your hands with soap and warm water.
How Does MRSA From The Nose Spread?
MRSA in the nose is the most common way the bacterium is carried. Often the person who has colonization in their nose, don’t know that they are a carrier of the bacteria and unintentionally spread the bacteria. It is spread in the following ways:
- Touching the nose
- Wiping a runny nose
- Picking the nose
The best way to prevent the spread of MRSA is to wash your hands regularly especially after coming in contact with a person or surface that may be contaminated with the bacteria. Over washing may cause dryness and breaks in the skin where the bacteria can enter, so lotions should be used to prevent dryness.
Nose Swabbing: Screening
When studies show that MRSA is colonized in the nose it is very likely that it is elsewhere on the body, this is why nose swabbing became more common. Colonization means that the person is at an increased risk of infection and can also spread the bacteria to others mistakenly. Early detection of this decreases the risk of the infection spreading and becoming life threatening.
A swab is used to screen for the bacteria. It takes about two days to get the results from the culture to diagnose MRSA and identify the specific strain of the bacteria. Once the results are in, the most effective antibiotic can be chosen and treatment can begin. This screening has reduced the cases of this infection in Hospitals.
HA-MRSA: Dropping Rates
Hospital acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (HA-MRSA) has seen a drop in the number of infections after hospitals began to routinely swab patients’ noses and test for MRSA. Once diagnosed with the infection, safety precautions are followed and the patient is isolated during their hospital stay, which prevents the spread of the bacteria to other hospital patents.
This is very important because the patients in the hospital are at high risk for infection because their immune systems are compromised from the illness or injury that caused the hospitalization. Before this test became common, HA-MRSA was increasing at a rapid rate.
The discovery of MRSA commonly colonizing in the nose has contributed to the decrease in the spread of the bacteria.
The overuse of antibacterial products can actually create an environment where stronger bacteria grow and may mutate or adapt into resistant strains of bacteria.