10 THINGS I DID TO CURE MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus)
1. SEE A DOCTOR: MRSA is commonly mistaken for a spider bite. If you have an abscess that starts out similar to a pimple, but grows really fast, see a doctor as soon as possible. Make sure they take a sample and have it analyzed to be sure you get antibiotics that the MRSA is sensitive to.
2. DON'T TOUCH YOUR NOSE: MRSA likes to colonize in your nose. You don't want to put it there if it's not there already. Also, you don't want to spread it if it is in there. There are creams available by prescription to treat the inside of your nose. Be sure to ask your doctor about this.
3. WEAR GLOVES: MRSA is contagious!! Be sure to wear rubber gloves while changing bandages. It is also a good idea to wear gloves when cleaning and doing laundry. You can't be too careful.
4. WATERPROOF BANDAGES: Cover the wound with some type of waterproof bandage that will seal it all the way around. Tegaderm bandages work well. This will prevent leakage from the wound that will contaminate clothes, furniture, or anything it may come in contact with. This also helps prevent spreading of the germs while in the shower.
5. SANITIZE EVERYTHING!! Since you are battling an invisible enemy, it is best to just sanitize everything. A solution of one part bleach to 10 parts water works well. Scrub all cabinets inside and out, countertops, walls, floors, tables, chairs, and any other surfaces that could have been contaminated. Mr. Clean has a spray cleaner that kills MRSA. Lysol aerosol spray also kills it. Be sure to read the labels so you get the right one. Lysol should be used to spray all upholstered furniture, mattresses, pillows, carpet, etc. Don't forget the car. Spray all upholstery and carpets in all vehicles. Be very thorough. It is a lot of work to do but it's worth it. Any areas used by the infected person should be sanitized daily. Showers and toilets used by the infected person should be sanitized after each use to prevent spreading it to other people.
6. LAUNDRY: As part of the cleaning process, all of the sheets and blankets in the house should be washed. Towels, especially those used by the infected person should be washed after each use in bleach. If you don't have white towels, get some inexpensive ones. The bleach will wear them out quickly anyway. Add a little tea tree oil to the water in your wash loads that can't be bleached. Tea tree oil is a natural antibacterial agent that is available at health food stores and it doesn't ruin your clothes.
7. HEAT PACKS VS. SITZ BATHS: The doctors recommended sitz baths to treat the wound because the heat draws more blood to the surface of the skin and aids the healing process. The thought of sitting in a tub of water with the entire lower half of your body submerged with this germ was not appealing at all. Also, the bathtub has to be sanitized as well and there are more towels to wash. We opted to use heat packs instead. We bought some cheap tube socks and white rice (not instant). Just pour some rice into a sock and tie a knot at the top. Put it in the microwave for 1 -- 2 minutes. Be careful not to get it too hot. You do not want to burn the skin and cause further injury. Put the heated rice pack into a zipper seal plastic bag and place over the bandaged wound for about 5 to 10 minutes. When finished, throw the plastic bag away. When the wound is healed you can also throw the rice filled sock away.
8. OVER THE COUNTER TREATMENTS THAT WE FOUND EFFECTIVE: Mattherma is an ointment that is effective in healing MRSA skin infections. It contains tea tree oil as well as many other herbs and oils that effective in healing the skin and contain natural antibacterial properties. We placed Mattherma directly on the sore underneath the bandage. Skinsure Ultra is a skin cream that kills MRSA and protects against it for up to three hours. I had to order Skinsure Ultra from England. It is not available in the US. It worked well for us and the cost with shipping for two of the large bottles came to between $20 and $30 (these prices are from 2006 and may vary). I have also seen it on Ebay.
9. GET RID OF ALL BAR SOAPS!! Bar soaps harbor bacteria. Throw all bar soaps away and switch to liquid soap. We also used Hibiclens, which is a surgical scrub available over the counter, behind the counter, at your local pharmacy.
10. DON'T BE AFRAID TO THROW THINGS AWAY: It's easier to replace things than it is to fight more infections. Any questionable items such as razors, ointments, lotions, face wash, etc. that were used by the infected person prior to the diagnosis, were simply thrown away. We didn't know if the germ had been transmitted into these items with the infected person's hand. An article of clothing that was contaminated with fluids from the wound at the doctor's office was thrown away instead of being mixed in with the other laundry. Trash should be double bagged and tied at the top to prevent exposure to others.
These may seem like extreme measures but it pays to be extra careful. We were told that once you have MRSA, you would always have it. That is something that I just couldn't live with. When the sores were healed up and everything was sanitized again, the infected areas of the body as well as inside the nose were swabbed and sent to the lab for analysis. The results were clean. They found no MRSA germs present. We have had no further infections.
Update: I have found new products to fight MRSA.
1. Staphaseptic helps to prevent MRSA skin infections when used to treat cuts and scrapes.
2. Staphacide is a disinfectant and deoderizing cleaner that kills MRSA.
3. Colloidal silver has been proven to cure MRSA infections. It can be found at your local health food store.
Pam June is a stay at home mother of six children. She has been a germophobe for the past four years due to an unfortunate family experience with MRSA.