Think of it as decontaminating you. One study reveals that hospitalized patients who harbor some superbugs can reduce their risk of getting a full-blown infection if they rub their noses with a medicated goo and they use a special soap and mouthwash during six months.
This is a low-tech approach to a big problem: about 5% of patients have MRSA – an antibiotic-resistant Staph bacteria – that is hidden on their skin or in their nose, putting them at high risk of contracting an infection. when operation. These can affect the skin, heart, brain, lungs, bones and joints, and most of them bring people to the hospital.
The hygiene measures tested by the researchers have reduced this risk by almost a third.
"It's a very simple solution.You do not need to swallow a medication, you just have to clean the outside of your body a little bit," said Dr. Susan Huang of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of California at Irvine. She led the federally funded study, published Wednesday by the New England Journal of Medicine.
Much has been done to reduce infections in hospitals and attention is focused on what happens after patients leave. Nine states – California, Washington, Nevada, Minnesota, Illinois, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Maine and New Jersey – require hospitals to refer the most vulnerable patients, such as those in intensive care, to MRSA screening. Many other places do it willingly.
The study involved more than 2,000 patients in Southern California hospitals, carriers of the MRSA bacterium, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. All received information on ways to prevent infection, and half also received special products – mouthwash, liquid soap containing antiseptic and antibiotic ointment to dab in the nose. They were told to use these drugs Monday through Friday, every two weeks for six months.
One year later, 6% of people in the deep cleansing group had developed MRSA, compared to 9% of others. They also had fewer infections with other germs. Doctors estimated that 25 to 30 people should be treated to prevent a case.
There were no serious side effects; 44 people had dry or irritated skin and most continued to use the products despite this.
Heather Avizius was one. The 41-year-old nanny has had previous MRSA infections and entered the study after serious complications of Crohn's disease landed her at the St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton, California. eight years ago.
"I took the diet very, very seriously" and did not have MRSA since, she said. "I felt cleaner and safer" and less concerned about spreading germs to her children, she said.
Nearly half left the study early or could not be traced.
"Many people may think," I feel good, I do not really need to do that, "said Dr. John Jernigan of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But "the risk does not end once you get home."
Federal grants paid for products. They would cost between $ 150 and $ 200 for six months if not, Huang said. Antiseptic soap was a 4% solution of chlorhexidine sold in many pharmacies.
Other soaps, even labeled as antibacterial, "might not contain the active ingredients to eliminate MRSA," said Dr. Robert Weinstein, another study leader and infection specialist at Cook County Health and at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.
It is worthwhile that patients do everything they can to prevent MRSA infection, he said.
"You left the hospital, you do not want to go back."