How clean is your practice?

That is the million dollar question.MRSA, otherwise known as Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Auresu, has recently been the hot topic, or should I say “endemic, and in some cases epidemic,” in many hospitals, healthcare facilities, and communities across the United States according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC).MRSA whose nickname is known as the “superbug” is a bacterium that is resistant to most common antibiotics; it can survive on any surface and resists certain cleaning chemicals.This “superbug” is what is commonly known to us as staph infections.

These staph infections can appear as a mild skin infection, however because of its resistance to may antibiotics it also can and has become deadly.The CDC estimates that MRSA strikes 31.8 out of 100,000 Americans, making it more common than flesh-eating strep infections, bacterial pneumonia and meningitis combined.In a report by the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA), in 2005 MRSA had infected an estimated 94,360 people in the United States, of that 18,650 died; making MRSA more deadly than Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).

This “superbug” more commonly know in hospitals, recently expanded its reach to community settings.A study published in JAMA revealed that of 8,987 observed cases of invasive MRSA, 58.4 percent were “community-onset” infections.Community-onset refers to having obtained MRSA in a healthcare setting other than a hospital.

Defining “Cleaning” in a Healthcare Facility
What can be done to help prevent the spread of MRSA?While skin-to-skin contact is the most common form of transmission, MRSA also lives on soft and hard surfaces, making no facility immune. The lack of cleanliness, contaminated items and surfaces are a breeding ground for MRSA.MRSA can live up to 24 hours on just about any surface.Generally when we think of “cleaning” it refers to the removal of all visible soil.But in healthcare facilities and in the effort of combating the spread of MRSA, it can also mean sterilizing and disinfecting specific areas to be cleaned.This form of cleaning may call for special cleaning procedures and chemicals. Understanding the difference between sterilization and disinfection is key.Sterilization involves cleaning using powerful chemicals that destroy all known microbial life. Disinfection is killing of specific pathogens and microorganisms.The following are some common practices you should be implementing in your facility to help prevent the spread of MRSA:

Washing your hands multiple times a day and having hand sanitizer in bathrooms and exam rooms and operatories. Pay particular attention to “high touch” areas where pathogens can collect and breed. Most common areas are door handles, bathrooms faucets, counter tops and exam rooms and operatory chairs.If people are touching it on a regular basis, then make sure it is cleaned just as often.

Use disinfectants that kill the MRSA stain and follow the proper procedures-make sure they are given the appropriate dwelling times.

Make sure to use the appropriate cleaning agent for the area to be cleaned. When using chemical disinfectants or cleaner/disinfectants, follow the directions given on the product label as some require proper dilutions.

Most importantly, take the time to properly clean you facility.What matters most is that your facility is not only clean but sanitary as well.

Article published by Chanel Broersma