According to a team of leading researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, household surfaces may be spreading the superbug methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) among families.
MRSA is a major cause for concern, as doctors cannot treat it with common antibiotics. In the past, the superbug has made itself at home in health care settings such as nursing homes and hospitals, but more recently it has been festering on household surfaces such as television remote controls and bed linens. When healthy people pick up MRSA outside of a hospital setting, doctors refer to their infection as a community-associated MRSA infection. Anyone can develop one of these; however, outbreaks are most common among people who reside in overcrowded settings and/or share contaminated items with others.
To determine the prevalence of MRSA in households, researchers enlisted the help of 50 children who were suffering from, or had recently recovered from, a community-associated MRSA infection. They took swabs from the groin, armpits and nostrils of each of child, and 21 household surfaces, to establish whether the superbug was present. This revealed MRSA in almost half of the 50 households they examined. The most commonly contaminated surfaces were bed linens, hand towels and television remotes.
The frequency with which the parents of the child participants cleaned their household surfaces did not affect the chances of finding MRSA, but the researchers noted that the parents might not have answered truthfully when questioned about cleaning frequency. As a result, they could not determine whether the targeted disinfecting of household surfaces would be effective in reducing the spread of MRSA infection.
According to Dr. Aaron Milstone of Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore, research findings reveal an indisputable link between the infections kids suffer and the germs in their surroundings. However, while the researchers continue to explore the link between cleaning and MRSA infection prevention, everyone needs to adopt these simple hygiene measures to help prevent the spread of MRSA around the home:
- Washing hands with hot water and soap or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer after coming into contact with commonly touched surfaces that may be unclean
- Avoiding sharing products and personal items that make contact with the skin, such as cosmetics, razors, toothbrushes and soaps
- Avoiding sharing towels
- Covering skin infections to avoid passing them onto others
- Regularly disinfecting commonly used objects, such as telephone handsets and television remotes
As the television remote is one of the leading carriers of MRSA, the importance of cleaning this much-used device cannot be overstated. Germs can stay on television remotes for over 24 hours, and all it takes to spread these germs is for someone to touch a dirty remote and then touch their face with their unwashed hands. However, cleaning a remote can pose a challenge; germs can easily fit into the many nooks and crannies and most chemical based cleaning products only destroy some, but not all, germs.
With CleanremoteUV, however, homeowners can simply place their remote inside the cradle and the CleanremoteUV will “sense” the remote (or any other device that will fit), close the chamber, the device is exposed to UV light, effectively killing all the germs on the surface of the remote without harming the device itself. It works with 99% of remotes, and is therefore the most effective way to prevent the spread of MRSA around the home.