Those who use scare tactics to about airborne MRSA are usually trying to sell a product or service, but still some people are concerned about an infection and wonder, “Is MRSA Airborne?” This is a valid concern.
It can be transmitted in the air, but it is rare. There are many ways to prevent a MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) infection by avoiding direct contact and taking MRSA precautions when coming in contact with shared surfaces.
Hand washing with soap and water has been proven to be very effective. Preventing becoming infected by avoiding direct or indirect contact is going to be the most helpful when avoiding this type of staph infection.
MRSA Colonization and Airborne Transmission
MRSA bacteria colonization is when the bacteria are present without symptoms. The bacteria can still be spread. The most common place for colonization is in the nose. It can also be found in the following areas:
- Folds in the skin
- Groin area
When it is in the nose, the bacteria can shed and be expelled during sneezing, which causes MRSA bacteria to be airborne. Poor hygiene with a runny or stuffy nose can cause the spread of it. It is much more common to be infected with the bacteria through direct or indirect contact with an infected person or contaminated surface and rare from MRSA in the air.
Airborne Transmission of MRSA
When bacteria are airborne, it can be found live in the air. The MRSA bacteria can be more easily transmitted in close quarters and highly populated facilities than breathing the same air as an infected person. To be on the safe side, some ventilations systems in hospitals are designed to not allow the air from a room where a MRSA patient is being treated to circulate through the facility. Most infections can be traced to direct or indirect contact with someone who has it. An infection can often be avoided with good hygiene.
Airborne MRSA and Hygiene
Practicing good hygiene is very important. When touching your own nose or the nose of someone who you are assisting, it will be important to wash with soap and water since this is a common place for MRSA colonization. A person who has colonization in the nose may wear a mask as an added precaution to avoid spreading the bacteria from his or her nose to others until treatment is complete to avoid the bacteria from becoming airborne. Since it colonizes in the nose, it may appear MRSA is airborne when it really isn’t. What is actually happening is that material in the nose that is infected with the bacteria may leave the nose and infect others. Proper disposal of tissues can prevent that from occurring. As an added precaution, some high risk facilities use ventilation filters that prevent the spread of MRSA in the air.
Ventilation Filters and Airborne MRSA
Though it is not common for MRSA to be transmitted through the air, there are ventilation filters and air cleaners that can prevent it or any airborne bacteria from contaminating other areas. These filters are usually installed in healthcare facilities to prevent the transmission of airborne illnesses among the patients and residents.
The final answer on the subject, “Is MRSA Airborne?” the answer is “Yes”, but if you want to know if it is cause for concern, the answer is probably “No”, because it is rare.