Hygiene Best Practices

Staphylococcus aureus (Staph) is a bacteria that many people are exposed to on a daily basis.  In some individuals, it even lives on their skin, but causes no harm. However, when the skin breaks, an infection can erupt.  It is highly contagious, and in some cases, can be very dangerous, especially if it enters the bloodstream.

Antibiotics generally treat the infection; however, some strains have been found to be resistant to antibiotics.  Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has been found to be untreatable by most antibiotics.  At risk individuals include those who are in:

  • Crowded areas
  • Hospital settings
  • School dormitories
  • Gyms
  • Locker rooms 
  • People receiving treatments for diabetes (i.e. dialysis), cancer, and other invasive procedures are also at high risk 
  • High humidity and perspiration conditions

However, good hygiene habits, such as those listed below, play a very important role in prevention:

  • Hand washing (VERY IMPORTANT)
  • Do not share razor blades
  • Do not share personal belongings
  • Protecting any existing wounds or open sores on the skin surface
  • Keep any existing wounds sanitized; wash hands after any contact with them
  • Pay attention to dental and gingival health
  • During showering, pay special attention to hands and feet, groin area, rectal area.  Consider using soap and a brush on nail beds to get under nails. 
  • Avoid synthetic fingernail attachments
  • Clean common area surfaces (i.e. counter tops, handles, door knobs, etc.) and gym equipment with appropriate cleansers
  • Avoid wearing shoes barefoot in sweaty conditions and alternate casual and athletic shoes (don't wear the same shoes everyday)

Although there is no one concrete way to prevent an infection completely, maintaining good hygiene will help minimize the risk of contracting it. 

Article by: Asha Ayyagari