On last nights Grey’s Anatomy Episode (titled “The Sleeping Monster”) the main theme was around the devastating impact a MRSA Infection can have on the carrier and those around her. The episode concentrated on surgically acquired MRSA Infections, how the CDC can get involved, and what it can do to those impacted by the situation. It’s not every day that they cover this story, or write in multiple deaths, so needless to say it was probably one of the more notable episodes they’ve filmed.
What’s interesting is that without even knowing it, we had written and released this post a few days ago, well before the episode even aired.
This uncomfortable topic is important to talk about but it’s not part of most peoples “everyday conversation”. That’s where this article comes in. I want to arm you with the knowledge and tools you need to reduce the risk of surgical infections and complications.
As scary as MRSA can be, I want you to enjoy LIFE and not live in fear of this silent monster. It’s important to move beyond the fears and simply build awareness and take steps to prevent these infections and minimize the risks.
If you are a Grey’s Anatomy fan, if you know someone who is about to have surgery, or if you have a friend or family member who’s a MRSA Carrier, we sincerely appreciate you sharing this and passing this information on.
SIDENOTE: the risk of MRSA Infections goes far beyond surgical rooms and hospitals. This infection is found on some of the most common surfaces you might come in contact with in the community. If you are seeking general prevention tips for Staph Infections or MRSA, then be sure to check out our summer safety tips here: https://www.staph-infection-resources.com/prevention/summer-safety-tips/.
The real risks or surgical infection
Sometimes TV does match reality. Having a surgical procedure IS one of the easiest ways to catch a an infection. If you must have a surgery, there are important precautions to reduce the risk of infection and improve the outcome of your surgery.
There are obviously times when surgery is necessary and life-saving. But such invasive procedures are very hard on the body and should not be taken lightly. Surgeries provide easy entry for infection bacteria like MRSA, Staph and others to enter the body, so extra care should be taken to minimize these risks. Complications are also common and it’s important to know what they are before committing to surgery.
Do you really need surgery?
In many cases, a close examination of the risks versus the potential benefits will reveal that surgery is not the best option. This is especially the case with elective surgery.
One of the best ways to protect yourself from unneeded infection and other surgical risks is to simply avoid invasive procedures if you don’t need them. In some cases, if the surgery is not needed immediately, you may have time to address the problem holistically and naturally, keeping surgery as a last resort or a backup option.
To make an informed decision about having a surgery or not, it’s important to find out as much about the surgery as you can. Key things to research and talk with the surgeon about include potential complications, required medications, the surgeon’s success rate with the procedure, the hospital’s rating on acquired infections, plus what type of rehabilitation to expect. Another important step is to get a second opinion if you have any doubts whatsoever after doing your research.
If you decide to go ahead with surgery, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of infection and speed your recovery.
- Find the best surgeon you can. You are paying the hospital and your surgeon to provide a service, and it’s a very important service to you. So find the best and most experienced surgeon that you can and one that you feel good about and get along with well.
- Be in control. Being your own health advocate and being informed are crucial to success with surgery (or any other health challenge). Find out all the details about the procedure and the risks and ask lots of questions. Keep an eye out for medical mistakes, errors and lapses in hygiene. The more you know about what’s happening to you, the better you can plan ahead, reduce the risks and improve the outcome.
- Prepare your immune system. Surgery is rough on the body and on your immune system. It takes a lot of energy for your body to recover and rebuild from invasive procedure. So well before you enter the hospital and well after you leave, be sure to take steps to strengthen and support your body’s defenses.
- Prepare your skin. Daily use of natural products that support tissue regeneration and attack infectious bacteria is a good idea. Medicinal quality lavender and tea tree essential oils are good choices. This helps prepare the skin for incision and infection control.
- Insist on good hygiene. While at the hospital, keep close tabs on nurses, doctors and visitors and politely request that they wash their hands or change gloves before coming into your room. This is especially crucial if you have a compromised immune system, or if you have a history or infections. Follow other steps to minimize the risk of infection in your hospital room.
- Antibiotics. Antibiotics put a strain on your natural defenses and can cause secondary infections like C. difficile in your intestines. If taking an antibiotic, make sure it’s the right one. Was the drug selected based on a bacterial sensitivity test? If not, and you have a history of MRSA, then taking the wrong drug could make your condition worse.
Make every effort to leave the hospital as quickly as possible. Statistics show that the longer you are in a hospital, the greater the chance of infection. And once at home, you can take added steps to support your recovery that can be more challenging in a hospital.
After you come home, you want to support your body in recuperating from the surgery. First and foremost, keep maintaining your immune system with good diet, probiotics (especially if you’ve taken antibiotics) and proper supplementation, especially vitamin D and C. Also watch for any signs of infection at the site of the operation and take immediate steps if you suspect an infection. And keep up with infection preventatives such as medicinal essential oils and herbs or other remedies for infection.
Keep in mind that operations are a big stress on your body as well as your mind. Recovery can take a while, so be patient. Committing yourself to healing process by keeping a schedule for rehab, supplements and other recovery steps will be a big help. Also hold in your mind what life will be like once you’re fully recovered, and use that for energy to get you through the recovery process.
To your best health,