The Superbug aka MRSA aka Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus

There’s nothing like waking up late, rushing to get ready for work, and then hearing your favorite news anchor talk about a superbug that may kill more people this year than AIDS. Yes, that’s how I started my day.  

And while the story has evolved throughout the day, most of the mainstream media has been focusing on the statistics of this story. Well, maybe it’s me, but I think a HUGE part of this story lies in the prevention advice.  

Increase hygiene among hospital workers. Workers should wash their hands and properly clean medical equipment! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!!! You mean to tell me this is not the norm in a building FULL of sick people, germs and infections.  

And as a patient, how exactly are we supposed to make sure this happens? Yes, we can ask our doctors and the hospital staff to wash their hands when they enter our room, but how do we ensure our equipment is clean? That the hallways aren’t festering with things we can’t see? While I’m not totally obsessive, I am starting to understand those people that avoid hospitals like the plague; according to the reports I heard today it is a plague. 

The other two pieces of advice are a little easier to stomach. For instance, we can all work to keep skin abrasions and cuts clean. If you’re in the hospital I suggest you be extremely anal about this point. 

Also, reports say this strain of MRSA is so strong because it has become immune to Penicillin and other antibiotics. Again, this does give us power, as we can all make an effort to curb our antibiotic use. We can question our physicians when they give us prescriptions and we can get second opinions if we are uncomfortable.

FYI, studies have shown that antibiotics are great for bacterial infections, but have no real impact on viruses. This means many sinusitus prescriptions are unnecessary, and antibiotics are not likely to help a cold either.  

If you want more information on the superbug here’s a link to a story on yahoo:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071017/ap_on_he_me/staph_infections  

Towanda Long aka The Café Lady

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