Over-the-counter hand sanitizer is not effective in killing or preventing MRSA. Various marketing companies are making false claims and the FDA has issued letters to these companies and also advice the general public not to misled by such unproven claims.

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Does Hand Sanitizer Kill MRSA?

One of the most important steps to stay away from MRSA infection is to follow strict hygienic procedures. One step under consideration is to keep your hands clean as these are the organs that are in continuous touch with the people such as while handshaking and is often in contact with the objects such as light switches, door knobs, mobiles, and other objects; risk of infection further increases when a person eats his food with the same dirty hands.

The best option to prevent bacterial infection is to wash hands with soap and water. The soap should, preferably, contain disinfectants to kill pathogens. Further, the soap-foam should be kept on the hand and rubbed at least for 25 seconds before washing off.

Various hand sanitizers in the market claim to kill MRSA. But these claims are not substantiated and backed up by original research data. USFDA has issued a notification to make aware the general public that currently available hand sanitizers with 60% alcohol content is not effective in killing MRSA. The research also shows that sanitizers with 60% alcohol concentration are not able to kill bacteria while 80% alcohol solution inhibits MRSA. Thus, it is advised to the patients that they should not get misled by such false and unproven claims and follow healthy hygiene.

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Why MRSA Is Difficult To Treat?

Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus is an aggressive pathogen and is resistant to standard antibiotics. Rampant use of antibiotics and patient’s non-compliance to treatment regimen are the important reasons why not only MRSA, but other drug-resistant bacteria are evolving. Various mechanisms are developed by the MRSA bacteria to get evade from the harmful effects of antibiotics. Although the disease-causing ability and mechanism of MRSA are similar to normal Staphylococcus aureus, the significant difference exists in the way both respond to standard antibiotics. While standard antibiotics such as cephalosporins kill or inhibit the growth of normal Staphylococcus, MRSA found a way to counter the toxic effect of antibiotics. This allows MRSA to survive even in the presence of antibiotics.

The resistance is acquired by MRSA through changes in the genetic mechanism which provided an alternate mechanism to the pathogen to perform vital functions, which are not affected by antibiotics.

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Diagnosis Of MRSA

Various diagnostic methods are available to diagnose a bacterial infection. However, the conclusive result may be obtained through bacterial culture. Following are the general diagnostic methods:

Physical Evaluation. Healthcare professional evaluate the physical symptoms of the patients such as fever, muscle pain, fatigue, cough and chest congestion. On the basis of general symptoms that may be due to infection, the doctor may advise blood tests. On the basis of reports of blood tests, the physicians may be able to suspect infection at a preliminary level.

Bacterial Culture. After the infection has been diagnosed, the next step is to identify the type of bacteria causing the infection so that a rationale treatment may be started as soon as possible. The nasal secretion or a tissue sample is sent to the laboratory for testing. The bacteria are grown o a culture medium. It takes almost 48 hours for the bacteria to grow. After the growth, bacteria are evaluated under the microscope or MRSA can also be identified through monoclonal antibody technique.

Imaging Techniques. Imaging techniques does not diagnose MRSA directly but helps evaluate the extent of infection. X-ray is used to diagnose chest infection.

Staph DNA Testing. This is a fast method to diagnose MRSA; in this method the genetic evaluation of the MRSA id done.

Conclusion

MRSA is a highly resistant and aggressive pathogen and is not killed or inhibited by the commonly available over-the-counter hand sanitizers.

References:

https://www.cdc.gov/mrsa/community/environment/index.html

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: April 3, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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