How to Prevent Staph and MRSA Infections in Children

If you are a parent than you probably feel like there is an endless list of illnesses and infections that your child is liable to catch or be exposed to. While some of these illnesses are so uncommon that it’s not worth giving them much thought, others (like staph and MRSA infections) are so common that it’s important you have a grasp on what they are and how you can prevent them from occurring in your child.

What are Staph and MRSA Infections?

First things first- the difference between staph and MRSA is basically the difference between a rectangle and a square. All MRSA infections are a form of staph, but not all staph infections are a form of MRSA.

You see, MRSA simply stands for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Auerus. So MRSA is just a strain of staph that’s resistant to a certain form of antibiotics. MRSA can also stand for Multi-Drug-Resistant Staphylococcus Auerus, but the point is moot as both terms mean the same thing.

Staph infections are just infections caused by the Staphlococcus bacteria. These infections spread easily humans, especially in close quarters situations that are already prone to illness. For example, MRSA is a very common and very serious fear in hospitals due to the close proximity of patients with low immune systems and open wounds. While not as serious, of course, many similar conditions exist on any playground or in any daycare or classroom that your child will spend their time in. Because of this, it’s important that you take preventative measures to protect your children from these infections.

How to Prevent Both Staph and MRSA

Because they are essentially the same form of infection, preventing staph and MRSA requires the same preventative measures.

  1. The most powerful preventative measure of staph infections is proper hygiene. While this is usually simple matter for adults, proper hygiene can be difficult for children. While a child is likely to wash their hands when you ask them to, it is much harder to instill in a child the good sense to wash their hands after each time they play, before they eat, whenever they come in close contact with another child, and anytime that their hands might accumulate bacteria. This is especially difficult considering the huge amount of these occurrences that most children run into through their day.

    Often the best you can do is to teach your child to wash their hands as often as possible, and to make sure their care takers (whether babysitters or teachers) are aware of the necessity of proper hygiene and incorporate it into your child’s routine.

    Of course, it is also imperative that you teach your child to avoid rubbing their eyes and to stop sticking their hands in their mouth, even if they regularly wash.

  2. Staph  infections are most commonly found and transmitted through open wounds. While open wounds are very common in hospital settings, they are thankfully far less common in classrooms and still relatively rare occurrences on properly supervised playgrounds.

    While open wounds are thankfully rare among children, their smaller cousins- the small scratch or cut or skinned knee- are exceedingly common. Once again, proper and prompt hygiene saves the day. Make sure that all cuts your child incurs are quickly and thoroughly cleaned, and that these cuts and scrapes are always fully covered with bandages or dressings.

  3. Keep your child’s immune system good and strong. Individuals with weakened immune systems are far more succesptible to catching a staph infection, so make sure your child eats healthy, drinks lots of water, and gets plenty of sleep. The best way to prevent a staph infection is your body’s own immune system, so keep your kids as healthy and sturdy as possible.

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