MRSA Killer Bug?

21 08 2009

MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) is often referred to as a killer, or super bug that is resistant to many antibiotics.  This bacterial bug is most appropriately referred to as a super bug because of Oxacillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (ORSA).  This is a MRSA strain that is resistant to many types of antibiotics, to include penicillin’s and cephalosporins.  This bug is of great concern to those who need surgery, or nursing care services where the patient age 65 and older are four times more prone to contracting MRSA.  The term killer bug stems from the fact that in 2005, “More than 18,000 Deaths and 94,000 life-threatening cases occurred.   The bug frequently enters the body in a sterile health care facility or hospitals where patients are in a weakened immune state.  Most bacterial spread occurs due to unsterile dialysis, catheters, or surgical procedures (Medical cleanliness standards have greatly improved since 2005).  This does not mean a healthy individual cannot obtain this bug.  Patients can be exposed to a Community Associated (CA)-MRSA infection.  CA infections are common among homosexuals, athletes, prisoners and soldiers.

Since MRSA bacterium is often found in the noses and skin of healthy people, we are all susceptible during a weakened immune state to activate the MRSA bacteria.  In most cases, this activation is prominent after surgeries, can form around malignancies as boils and abscesses to include other pus-type lesions.  Most that contract MRSA are not considered infected; instead the organism is colonized on the skin, in the nose, or throat without infection.  However, if one also has fever like symptoms then they would be considered infectious.  One should not fear MRSA, or methincillin-sensitive S type (difficult to treat with anti-biotic) as a general threat to the public.  MRSA does not typically present a threat to health care providers, or family members that provide the care unless they are suffering from debilitating disease.  One should not be discouraged from social contact.
 
Recommendations, If Diagnosed with MRSA, or Require a Medical Procedure
1.        Inquire how often staff is required to wash hands (before & after MRSA patient handling, or procedures).  Frequent cleanliness practice prevents spread of MRSA.
2.      Patients room doors should remain closed, records clearly labeled where regularly damp dusting occurs, and nursed in wards not placed with non-infected patients.
3.      Treatment – Antibiotics through the nose and special bathing procedures to ensure there is no possibility of spreading the bug in a facility, or home care facility. 
4.      After patient discharge it is very important the medical facility disinfects the room and clothes bagged for special treatment so the next patient is not exposed to MRSA.
5.      Ensure your physician and care handlers refer to past MRSA susceptibility, separation and isolate immediately should you require future hospitalization, or medical care.

References,
Association of Medical Microbiologists, worldwide Internet………………http://www.amm.co.uk/files/factsabout/fa_mrsa.html
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention………………………………………http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dhqp/ar_mrsa.html
Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MRSA
Web MD, http://www.webmd.com/news/20071016/more-us-deaths-from-mrsa-than-aids

Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET.  2009 Copyright, All rights reserved.  Mirror Athlete Enterprises Publishing @: www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for your free eNewsletter.





Is Bottled Water Safer Than Tap Water?

18 07 2008

I decided to do a little research regarding bottled water to determine if it was safer, or better for your health.   Not only does my family drink bottled water but also many of my friends and family feel that bottled water is better than their own tap water.  I on the other hand am always under argument that our tap water is safe and most likely better quality than what’s purchased in the bottles.  I also can’t see spending an additional cost for bottled water when our municipality provides safe drinking water at our residential tap.  As a Californian I understand that regardless of what impression others may have about our water municipalities… California’s EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) is one of the most stringent in the country when it pertains to tap water supply purity guidelines.  

    “Bottled Water Statistics: 1) More than one-fifth of tested brands contained levels of bacteria or cancer-causing compounds that exceeded the California limit.  2)  Seventeen percent of tested brands contained more bacteria than allowed under purity guidelines.  3)  Thirteen states have dedicated no staff or resources to regulating bottled water.  4)  In a four-year study of 103 brands of bottled water, one-third contained levels of bacteria or carcinogens and exceeded purity guidelines according to NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) reports.  While many people believe that bottled water contains no chlorine or harmful chemicals, the study found that fluoride, phthalate [recall I wrote an article “Are Leaching Plastics Killing Us?  Phthalates a known carcinogenic in poly plastics from the plastic bottle leaches into consumable liquids.  See Mirror Athlete Enterprises health repository for review of this article”], trihalomethanes and arsenic, a known carcinogen, can be found in some bottled waters.  5)  25 and 40 percent of bottled waters are re-packaged municipal tap water which may or may not have been subject to additional treatment.  6)  Bottled water is required to be tested less frequently than city tap water for bacteria and chemical contaminants.  Just because you buy your water in a bottle doesn’t mean it is any safer, purer or better than water that comes out of your tap.”  7) Some “designer” waters may even pose a health threat to vulnerable people, according to the national study from an environmental watchdog group (http://www.drblank.com/hnbottle.htm).” 

There are basically two reasons one should consider bottled water 1) Your tap water has contaminants that are greater than the EPA – tap water supply) and FDA (Federal Drug Administration – bottled water) accepted MCL (Maximum Contaminant Level) standards.  2)  Your water has a strange taste or smell “(http://extoxnet.orst.edu/faqs/safedrink/bottled.htm).” 

Recommendations
 -Buy filters certified by NSF International, change filters per manufacturer recommendations.
-Check the bottle label – If it says municipal or community source, it comes from tap water.
-Save money by drinking and bottling your tap water if it meets MCL standards.
-Due to bacteria possibilities, bottled water should not be consumed by infants and elderly.
-For FDA Standards on bottled water:  http://www.fda.gov (FederalDrugAdministration).
-For more information about bottled water: http://www.wqu.org (WaterQualityAssociation).
-For more information write to Standards and Practices of bottled water companies: International Bottled Water Association, 113 N. Henry St. Alexandria, VA 22314-2973.

Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET.  2008 Copyright.  All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing, www.mirrorathlete.com,  Sign up for FREE Monthly eNewsletter.