Cleaning Routine Shows Promise In Curbing Superbug Infection

A recent study recommends ‘decontaminating’ yourself after going home post a hospital stay as a preventative measure to cut down on your risk of developing full-blown infections from superbugs with which you may have come into contact during your hospital stay.

A federally funded study which was led by Dr. Susan Huang of the University of California Irvine School of Medicine was recently published by the New England Journal of Medicine. Dr. Huang said that reducing a patient’s risk of developing infections after being released from a hospital stay is a very simple solution. There is no need to take any medications, just the need to clean your body routinely a while longer after getting home.

Hospitals have increased their attention to decrease infections during a patients stay, but now the attention is focusing on what happens at home after a patient is discharged. Curbing the risk of developing the superbug, MRSA, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is one of the many infections that could make a patient end up back in the hospital.

The routine of cleansing suggested is for patients to wash their bodies with a liquid soap containing an antiseptic and an antibiotic ointment to swab in the nose and gargle with a mouthwash.  This should be done Monday through Friday, every other week for six months.

This is what participants in the study did and a year later, only 6 percent of those patients who did the deep-cleaning developed MRSA.  The study also showed that they developed fewer infections from other germs and there were no serious side effects.

Dr. John Jernigan of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that a lot of people think that if they feel fine they don’t need to use this preventative measure to decrease their risk of developing infections from superbugs once they get home. However, he says the risk doesn’t end once you’re back home.

The cost of using the special products can cost up to $150 to $200 over a six month period. Dr. Huang said that the products for the study were provided by federal grants.  The antiseptic soap she said has a 4 percent chlorhexidine solution in it and is sold in drugstores.

This special soap is what needs to be used according to Dr. Robert Weinstein, another study leader and an infections specialist at Cook County Health and Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, as other soaps though they may be labeled to be antibacterial may not have the special active ingredients in them to remove MRSA.

Weinstein says it is worth it to do everything you can to prevent a MRSA infection.

He says, “You left the hospital, you don’t want to go back.”

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