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MRSA in Hospitals and Communities 

Who is at Risk of Getting a MRSA Infection?

Patients in Healthcare Settings

In the hospital, people who are more likely to get an MRSA infection are people who:

  • have other health conditions making them sick
  • have been in the hospital or a nursing home
  • have been treated with antibiotics.
Patients with catheters, including central lines, are at increased risk of getting an infection that enters through the catheter, including MRSA.

People who are healthy and who have not been in the hospital or a nursing home can also get MRSA infections. These infections usually involve the skin.


Visiting a Patient with MRSA

  • Visitors should follow the facility’s visitor policies.  Casual contact—such as kissing, hugging, and touching—is usually okay.  Visitors should avoid touching catheters or wound sites and should wash their hands upon entering and before leaving an infected person's room.

How patients and their advocates can help prevent infections

Team up with your medical providers to prevent MRSA infections

  • Ask your provider if she/he washed their hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub before and after caring for you
  • Ask your provider any medical equipment was cleaned and disinfected before it was brought into your room

If you do not see your providers clean their hands, please ask them to

When you go home

  • If you have wounds or an intravascular device (such as a catheter or dialysis port) make sure that you know how to take care of them.

Can my friends and family get MRSA when they visit me?

The chance of getting MRSA while visiting a person who has MRSA is very low. To decrease the chance of getting MRSA your family and friends should:

  • Clean their hands before they enter your room and when they leave.
  • Ask a healthcare provider if they need to wear protective gowns and gloves when they visit you.

What do I need to do when I go home from the hospital?

  • To prevent another MRSA infection and to prevent spreading MRSA to others:
  • Keep taking any antibiotics prescribed by your doctor. Don’t take half-doses or stop before you complete your prescribed course.
  • Clean your hands often, especially before and after changing your wound dressing or bandage.
  • People who live with you should clean their hands often as well.
  • Keep any wounds clean and change bandages as instructed until healed.
  • Avoid sharing personal items such as towels or razors.
  • Wash and dry your clothes and bed linens in the warmest temperatures recommended on the labels.
  • Tell your healthcare providers that you have MRSA. This includes home health nurses and aides, therapists, and personnel in doctors’ offices.
  • Your doctor may have more instructions for you.

Skin Infections in the Community

MRSA in the community is widespread and therefore, anyone is at risk. Most people who get MRSA in the community get infections of the skin. Factors that have been associated with the spread of MRSA skin infections include:

  • close skin-to-skin contact
  • openings in the skin such as cuts or abrasions
  • contaminated items and surfaces
  • crowded living conditions
  • poor hygiene

People may be more at risk in locations where these factors are common, including:

Last modified on: 5/18/2016 1:55 PM