(BPT) - In the winter, we tend to be in closer quarters indoors and constantly around friends and family. It is important to be conscious of infectious diseases, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which are spreading rapidly among public places like gyms and schools. MRSA prevention should continue at home, especially for groups at higher risk, like student athletes.
Taking simple measures at home and on-the-go can help you to protect and safeguard your health, environment and family from dangerous bacteria and viruses, including MRSA, this season. Clorox teamed up with Jeanine Thomas, MRSA survivor and founder of MRSA Survivors Network; former NFL player Brandon Noble, who has been personally affected by MRSA; and Saskia v. Popescu, hospital epidemiologist and infection preventionist, to share the following expert tips:
1. Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 15 seconds — the time it takes to sing "Happy Birthday" twice — or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. “Winter is a prime season for stomach bugs and diarrheal illness, so it’s important to stay vigilant with hand hygiene,” said Popescu. Be extra cautious in public settings like gyms, locker rooms, households and schools, where these viruses are increasingly spreading.
2. Keep to yourself and do not share personal items, such as towels or razors, which contact bare skin. MRSA is easily spread by skin-to-skin contact or touching contaminated items or surfaces. It is also resistant to many antibiotics, making it difficult to treat.
3. Act fast and take care of cuts and open wounds by covering them up with a clean, dry bandage until healed. Seek a medical professional if the wound worsens or doesn’t heal quickly. “When I contracted MRSA, it changed my life. I had no idea such a disease existed and would pose as a threat to my career, health and overall well-being,” said Noble.
4. Use a barrier, such as a towel or clothing, between skin and shared equipment at the gym. MRSA prevention should continue at home, especially for groups at higher risk like student athletes, as MRSA bacteria can remain on surfaces after someone touches them, making it possible for someone else to pick them up.
5. Regularly clean countertops and other surfaces in your home. “Keeping your germs at bay in the kitchen is easy,” said Thomas. “Just mix 1/2 cup bleach with one gallon of water, wipe surfaces and leave solution on for 5 minutes and then rinse.” The CDC recommends disinfecting surfaces which are likely to contact skin with an EPA-registered disinfectant, like Clorox Regular Bleach with Cloromax.
MRSA is one common superbug that can be potentially deadly. Caused by a type of staph bacteria often found on the skin and in the nose, MRSA is easily spread by skin-to-skin contact or touching contaminated items or surfaces. It is also resistant to many antibiotics, making it difficult to treat. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that there are 72,444 infections and 9,194 MRSA-related deaths each year in the U.S alone.
“In 2000, I had ankle surgery and ended up infected with the antibiotic-resistant bacteria MRSA. The infection spread to my bone marrow and bloodstream and required many surgeries and rehabilitation,” said Thomas. “Since then I have been dedicated to advocating for patients and families to help inform them and bring awareness of the disease and prevention measures to the general public.”
“I wish I had known the simple ways to prevent the spread of this disease, like I do now, as that could have made all the difference,” said Noble. As germs and illnesses spread quickly, especially in close-proximity areas, taking proactive steps to prevent common viruses and bacteria from spreading in the home, at schools and in locker rooms is more important than ever. Learn more on how to prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria, such as MRSA, at Clorox.com.
(BPT) - Despite recent news that Aedes aegypti, the mosquito that can carry Zika, chikungunya and other viruses has spread to 30 states, the majority of Americans have yet to embrace basic recommendations to help reduce the mosquito population at their own homes.
That's the result of a new survey fielded by TNS Global detailing homeowners' knowledge of steps to reduce mosquitoes in their yards. According to The Mosquito Squad Fight the Bite Report, nearly three quarters of Americans (74 percent) do not plan to modify their time outside this year, yet less than half (49 percent) follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendation to use mosquito repellent and just a third (36 percent) remove standing water, a simple task also recommended by the CDC, to reduce mosquito breeding.
"Unlike chikungunya and West Nile virus, Zika has been identified as a world health crisis and we must work together on personal, local and global levels to fight mosquitoes," says Scott Zide, a founder and president of Mosquito Squad, the largest and most experienced home and commercial mosquito control firm in the country. "Removal of standing water is the most essential tactic in mosquito elimination, yet homeowners aren't actively removing it, which is surprising given that mosquito concerns are so high."
According to Zide, just as surprising was the finding that 46 percent of homeowners surveyed said they did not plan to do anything different in their yards, despite recent news of Zika virus. Findings from the survey show:
* Only 36 percent of Americans turn over toys or items in their yards that contain water.
* Less than half (44 percent) throw out lawn debris, under which mosquitoes can breed.
* Just a quarter of Americans (25 percent) shake out tarps, including barbecue and fire pit covers, to remove water that accumulates.
* Less than 27 percent make sure their gutters are clean.
* More than a quarter (27 percent) walk their yard regularly to remove items that can harbor mosquitoes.
To help homeowners take control of their yard, Mosquito Squad experts urge customers to take an active role in mosquito control with the following tips:
Tip over anything that holds or collects water. A bottle cap filled with water holds enough water for mosquitoes to breed. Since mosquitoes breed in standing water, the elimination of standing water decreases a mosquito's breeding ground. Mosquito Squad technicians report that yards with bird baths, play sets with tire swings, tree houses, portable fireplaces and pits and catch basins are the biggest offenders.
Toss any yard trash including clippings, leaves and twigs. Even the smallest items can provide a haven for mosquitoes and increase the population.
Turn over items that could hold water and trash. Look for children's portable sandboxes, slides or plastic toys; underneath and around downspouts; in plant saucers, empty pots, light fixtures and dog water bowls. Eliminate these items or keep them turned over until used.
Remove tarps that can catch water. Many homeowners have tarps or covers on items residing in their outdoor spaces. If not stretched taut, they are holding water. Check tarps over firewood piles, portable fire places, recycling cans, boats, sports equipment and grills. Mosquito Squad suggests using bungee cords to secure tarps in the yard.
Take care of your home. Proper maintenance can be a deciding factor in property values and mosquito bites. Regularly clean out gutters and make sure the downspout is attached properly. Mosquito Squad recommends re-grading areas where water stands more than a few hours, and to regularly check irrigation systems to ensure that they aren't leaking and causing a breeding haven. Keep lawn height low and areas weed-free.
Team up with neighbors. Despite taking all precautions in your own home, talking with neighbors is a key component to mosquito control. Townhomes and homes with little space between lots mean that mosquitoes can breed at a neighbor's home, and affect your property.
Treat your yard and yourself. Utilize a professional mosquito elimination barrier treatment around the home and yard. Using a barrier treatment at home reduces the need for using DEET-containing bug spray on the body.
Individuals who want a more comprehensive mosquito control treatment can utilize Mosquito Squad, which uses the latest EPA-registered mosquito control barrier treatments, larvicide and all-natural substances to eliminate mosquitoes from yards and outdoor spaces. For more information, visit www.MosquitoSquad.com.
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