Something I’ve shared for many years is the risk of airborne transmission of bacteria, especially MRSA. Several studies have shown that MRSA and related bacteria can travel through the air systems in hospitals. Now, a new study from Leads University shows that patients with MRSA can spread the bacteria into the air inside their rooms.
The study used a heated mannequin inside a controlled chamber to simulate an infected patient in a hospital room. Staph bacteria were released from the mannequin and were detected up to 11 feet away inside the chamber.
So what are the real risks? And how can you stay safe?
Increased Risk when Sharing or Visiting Hospital Rooms
The results highlight the potential risk of catching MRSA in two-bed hospital rooms. If one of the patients in a room has MRSA, the other patient could come into contact the bacteria through the air. The same risks apply to visitors or anyone else in the room. What’s more, the risk comes from the air itself, without direct contact with the infected patient or contaminated surfaces or objects.
While airborne MRSA is a risk in hospitals, the highest risk is still from direct person to person contact, or from touching contaminated surfaces or objects. So good hand washing and personal hygiene are still your best line of defense when visiting a hospital. Getting enough sleep, managing your stress as best possible and taking other steps to keep up your immunity are also very important. But to protect yourself as good as possible, you should also be aware of the risk of bacteria in the air and what you can do about it.
Staying Safe in Hospitals
One of the best preventative measures for air bacteria is for hospitals to isolate patients with MRSA to reduce the risk of the infection spreading. While many hospitals do this, unfortunately, many others do not. Find out about the hospitals policy on sharing rooms with others and find out if you can move into another room.
Also, staying clear of uncovered infections, such as when dressings are being replaced, is a good idea. According to studies and Weber State University and at Wythenshawe Hospital, another way to reduce the risk from airborne bacteria is to diffuse essential oils. This method has shown many great study results in reducing many types of bacteria in the air and is one of my favorites to use.
To your best health,
Microbiologist and Natural Health Expert