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MRSA | Ringworm

MRSA

What is it?

MRSA stands for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus, which is a common skin bacterium that is resistant to a range of antibiotics.

How does it spread?

The MRSA bacteria lives on the skin of one in three people, and is often transferred onto other surfaces. About 1 in 100 carry MRSA, mainly elderly people who have been in hospital. MRSA is not normally a problem for the person carrying the bacterium, unless they have a cut, wound or broken skin. However, they are at risk of spreading it to more vulnerable people.

Who’s at risk?

MRSA usually poses little risk to healthy people. Some strains are appearing that more easily infect healthy people and/or produce a ‘PVL’ toxin causing rapid tissue damage, but these remain rare. The risk of infection increases when people have a cut, wound or other skin damage, so in these instances people should take extra care. The elderly, very young or the unwell are most at risk, as their immune systems are weakened.

What are the symptoms?

  • Boils
  • Sores or itchy blisters
  • If it gets into the blood stream, MRSA can cause blood poisoning and serious illness

Prevent the spread

  • Hand washing is the single most important step in preventing the spread of MRSA, especially after contact with an infected person or carrier.
  • Do not share towels, facecloths, toothbrushes or other personal hygiene items with an infected person or carrier.
  • Cover cuts and grazes with a dressing using antiseptic.
  • Disinfect cloths used for cleaning by soaking in a solution of Domestos Extended Germ-Kill after each use, particularly after use in the immediate area of the patient or the bathroom and toilet used by the patient.
  • Clothing, sheets, pillows and linens from the infected patient or carrier should be kept separate from the rest of the family laundry and should be laundered at 60ºC using a fabric detergent that contains bleach (e.g. Persil Biological tablets/powder).

Ringworm

What is it?

Trichophyton is a group of parasitic fungi that can infect and live on damp skin, hair or nails. This group of fungi can cause a variety of common infections, including ringworm and athlete’s foot. In fact, this group of fungi is the most common cause of ringworm infections worldwide.

How does it spread?

Trichophyton can spread directly from one person to another through skin contact, as well as from pets to people. Trichophyton loves damp areas, such as the bottoms of shower trays or bathroom floors, and can spread from person to person via skin scales that are shed on these areas. These germs can also be spread indirectly through objects that have been in contact with an infected person’s skin – hair brushes, towels, clothing and bedding, for example.

Who’s at risk?

Anyone can become infected with this group of fungi and infections such as ringworm and athlete’s foot are very common. Some people are more likely to suffer from infections than others – children are more susceptible than adults and boys are more susceptible than girls. People with eczema or damaged skin can get ringworm infections more easily than those with healthy skin.

What are the symptoms?

Some of the common infections caused by this group of fungi can cause the following symptoms:

Athlete’s Foot:

  • Infections often take place where there are ‘folds’ of skin, for example athlete’s foot infections happen in between the toes and cause red, raised itchy patches of skin.

Ringworm:

  • Raised itchy patches of skin, often in a ring shape with a darker red edge on ‘open’ areas of skin.
  • Infected nails.
  • Nails appear thick and discoloured, and may crumble.
  • If any of these infections have made someone’s skin cracked, they can sometimes go on to catch a bacterial infection of the skin, or cellulitis.

Prevent the spread

  • It’s important to disinfect any damp areas you touch, such as shower trays, bathroom floors and shower curtains, regularly with a bleach-based cleaner such as Domestos Bleach Spay or Domestos Extended Germ-Kill, to help prevent the fungi spreading.
  • Avoid touching the infected skin areas of people or pets if you know they have an infection, and make sure you wash your hands thoroughly on a regular basis, particularly after touching pets where infections may be hard to spot underneath their fur.
  • Make sure you practise good personal hygiene and pay particular attention to drying areas with ‘folds’ of skin, such as between your toes, after washing.
  • Don't share towels, hairbrushes, combs, clothing, sports kit etc.
  • If someone in your home is infected, wash their clothing, bed-linen, towels etc. separately and as the last wash load (i.e. after you have finished all your other washing). You should also use a laundry detergent that contains bleach (e.g. Persil Biological tablets or powder) and a hot wash cycle (e.g. 60 degrees).