While the academic year may be drawing to a close for some, others are already up to their noses in preparing for the next school year. As we look back on the past year to learn from any mistakes and continue with any successes, one thing to keep at the top of the list is to ensure we are providing a healthy environment for our students. Schools are a place where students form friendships, conquer challenges, acquire knowledge and – quite honestly – germs. Without the proper precautions, we could be breeding some pretty nasty bacterial infections on our school grounds.
Besides the obvious spread of cold and flu symptoms, staph infections are becoming increasingly common in school settings. Most staph bacteria do not cause illnesses unless they enter the skin through an open wound. While most staph infections can be treated through thorough cleaning with antibacterial soap, topical antibiotics, prescriptions and/or covering the affected area with a sterilized bandage, some strains such as MRSA do not respond to traditional antibiotics and can be far more dangerous.
According to the CDC, “Americans make 12 million visits to doctors each year for skin infections caused by staph. More than half of those patients are diagnosed with MRSA.“
In order to prevent the spread of staph infections such as MRSA, we should first understand how MRSA is spread. MRSA spreads through direct contact with another person’s infection, whether that be through sharing personal items such as towels that have touched infected skin or touching surfaces contaminated with MRSA. While MRSA can be found anywhere, the CDC has created a list called the “5Cs” which showcases five factors that increase the possibility of MRSA transmission.
The 5Cs that contribute to an increased risk of MRSA are:
- frequent skin-to-skin Contact
- Compromised skin
- Contaminated items and surfaces
- lack of Cleanliness
Notice something about these 5Cs? Each of these are present in schools. As planning begins for the next school year, the facility’s management team needs to be prepared to prevent possible MRSA outbreaks. Staph infections can happen in any room in a school building, however gym and locker rooms are the most susceptible.
So what can we do about it? How can we protect our students and our facility from a MRSA outbreak?
Proper hand washing and sanitizing is key to reducing the risk of a MRSA outbreak.
Summer break is the perfect time to disinfect throughout the entire school building as well as educate personnel on ways to prevent the spread of infectious bacteria. However, the best method of protection is to encourage proper hand hygiene. Providing hand soaps, hand sanitizers and even surface sanitizers for the use of students and staff members throughout their daily school routine will encourage proper hand hygiene and keep your facility more sanitary.
If you are looking to add a safer, more hygienic system for hand washing in your educational facility, we recommend checking out Workplace Essentials. They offer an Auto Foam Hand Soap Service and Auto Foam Hand Sanitizer Service while also providing for sanitizing surfaces with their Auto Foam Surface Sanitizer Service and Surface Sanitizing Wipes Service.
The Foam Hand Soap Service provides a luxurious lather that will thoroughly clean while leaving hands moisturized. The foam soap is available in a no-touch automatic dispensing system to reduce the risk of cross-contamination and the formula has been Green Seal Certified to address the green initiative.
The Foam Hand Sanitizer Service is perfect for spaces where a complete hand washing may not be possible while still providing the sanitizing experience needed. Available in alcohol and non-alcohol based formulas, the Auto Foam Hand Sanitizer meets FDA guidelines for persistent germ kill (99.99%) in 15 seconds or less. The non-alcohol formula meets E2-USDA standards for repeated use in food service.
The Foam Surface Sanitizer Service extends protection beyond hand washing and adds peace of mind in areas where germs are more of a concern to some. Users simply grab a fresh paper towel or tissue from nearby and the dispenser will produce a measured amount of sanitizing foam to wipe down any areas desired. The Foam Surface Sanitizer also kills HIV-1, Hepatitis B & C, and drug-resistant bacterial strains.
The Surface Sanitizing Wipes Service gives users the all-in-one surface sanitizing solution. The large capacity dispenser holds an 800-count roll of wipes, delivering one at a time to reduce waste and minimize the risk of cross-contamination. These wipes are alcohol- and bleach-free, pre-saturated and non-abrasive to safely clean and disinfect non-porous surfaces. The Surface Sanitizing Wipes are EPA registered and meet CDC guidelines.
For more information about MRSA and how to handle an outbreak should one occur, visit www.cdc.gov/mrsa/ .