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MSRA safety in the salon..
Many of you I know are Estheticians and might have already seen this, but I think it is so important and very relevant to us here that I condensed it and am posting not only here but on the nailtech list also.. I will probably add it to the articles area too..
If you have questions or comments go ahead and post here I know Janet will reply.. and I can get Nadine in here to with anything you might have to ask her specifically

A good morning to you all from Key West~

This is a long post, so grab a cookie and a cup of coffee and settle in....

I expect that everyone has seen or heard about the 'superbug' MRSA that is being covered by the media lately. I am here to tell you that it is extremely dangerous and widespread and that you need to be on the lookout for it on your clients!

Since December 2006 until October 2007 I have seen 11 cases of MRSA in my practice. Most clients come in thinking they have a 'mutant' blemish. Oh, no, my friends...this is MRSA! What is it and how does it affect us....I will tell you~

MRSA is Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus. It's a strain of Staphylococcus aureus that is resistant to anti-infective agents whose action is based on blocking penicillinase (an enzyme that inactivates penicillin).

There is a new strain called VRSA, Vancomycin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus which is proving to be a more serious threat than MRSA.

Staphylococcus aureus or Staph are anarobes (organisms that die in the presence of oxygen) that are commonly present on skin and mucous membranes, especially those of the nose and mouth. They are characterized by production of a golden-yellow pigment. Staph causes conditions such as boils, carbuncles and internal abscesses in humans. Various strains produce toxins including those that cause food poisoning, staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome and toxic shock syndrome. There is even a new staph strain that causes urinary tract watch out brazilian waxers!

The "common" form of MRSA has been seen in hospital settings especially post-surgery, but new "community" strains are becoming more prevalent among the general population. Staph and MRSA, especially, are opportunistic bacteria. They seek out cuts and abrasions and those with compromised immune systems are especially susceptible (which is why children and older adults are susceptible to severe infections that can cause death!) Have you taken a lot of antibiotics throughout your life, have you had a cold or flu recently or are you just under daily stress...then you qualify as having a compromised immune system. That means that just about every single person is susceptible to MRSA.

So what does this mean to us? We're not doctors, right, so why should this affect us? Well, let's face it, clients often come to us before seeking medical advice because we are less intimidating and frankly, cheaper than a doctor's visit. We know skin, so if a client sees something 'funky' on their skin, they're going to come to their all-knowing esthetician! So, Mrs Jones comes to you with what looks like the biggest cystic blemish you have ever seen on her jaw line...but there aren't any others, just the one and it's HUGE! This is probably a MRSA infection. Most of the ones that I have seen are along the jaw (but not limited to there) and look like someone cut a golf ball in half and inserted it under the skin. They are red and mean looking and often look like they have a head....DO NOT EXTRACT!!! These are VERY VERY VERY DANGEROUS AND CONTAGIOUS!!!! If you see one of these, send your client immediately to your favorite dermatologist or plastic surgeon.

Why not send them to their regular MD or the ER? Well, it seems that most docs and ERs do not watch TV or evidently, read (insert sarcasm here) many are prescribing the wrong antibiotics and sending people home. The Staph then spreads internally and can cause sepsis and ultimately, death. Our ER told the first client I saw with MRSA that he had a simple ingrown hair on his groin area, that I was wrong, it wasn't MRSA (they hadn't even done a culture yet, but the doc there just KNEW it wasn't MRSA)...gave him an antibiotic ointment and sent him home. 3 days later he went back to the ER with flu-like symptoms and his lymph nodes around his groin area fully inflamed. He had sepsis and if he had waited one more day he would have died of blood poisoning. He spent 2 months in the hospital. Nice. SOOOO...send them to an expert. Tell them not to make and appointment, just go. The doctor will ALWAYS take them if they say they suspect Staph.

Guys, please take extreme care when doing client intake and analysis. I got a staph infection (thankfully, NOT MRSA!) because a client did not disclose that she had a MRSA lesion on the back of her neck. I didn't see it when I did my analysis and didn't come across it until I did my facial massage. Uh-oh! 3 days later I had staphylococcal scalded skin looked like blisters all over the left side of my body, nasty....and I had to take a few days off from my crazy busy practice in case I was contagious all because this lovely lady failed to disclose! Not cool.

We are the front line, gang...we see anomalies on people's skin. MRSA and VRSA are the new boogiemen of the skin care industry. Protect yourself and your clients. Make sure that your treatment room, tools and equipment is sanitized property. Wear gloves. This is simple stuff, guys, but it could save a life...yours. Dramatic? Probably....but 11 cases in less than a year on a 2 mile by 5 mile island is no joke. I'm OCD anyway when it comes to cleaning my hands but now I use Betadine (povidone-iodine) scrub to wash before and after clients. It's a bit extreme, but I am completely on top of things since I contracted Staph. BTW... Betadine is used throughout Europe to treat MRSA although US docs will say it doesn't work...they love the antibiotics~ I can tell you personally, it does work, I took zero antibiotics (haven't had any in yrs) and the Staph cleared up in about a week.

If you want more info on MRSA or Staph in general, I will be happy to provide all I can to you...including websites where you can learn more about it.

Be well and stay safe~
All the best from Key West~

All About You Day Spa and Wellness Centre
1712-1714 N Roosevelt Blvd
Key West, FL 33040
(305) 292-0818
(888) 710-4300 toll free
(305) 292-9504 fax

That is about the best explanation I have read on the subject. Thank you very much for taking the time to tell us about the newer strain. This is all over the news now.
buenos dias,


I have been researching this bug (and others) since discussing this with Nadine, and am writing an article on it for the trades and 'preaching' it in my classes. Just maybe, and from what I have seen it is a big one, this will cause estheticians to begin using gloves....



I have taken wearing gloves one step further. Are you using it just for personal protection or for Professional protection? Being a professional is more than just wearing the gloves it is disinfecting the bottles after each client and changing the paper towel/cloth on the trolley so you will not be cross contaminating. Yes, we should 100% all the time wear gloves but if the bottles are dirty you will still be transferring and cross contaminating! Nadine, Great info and I made copies for my students! THANK YOU!!!

Look forward to seeing you in January!
Denise R. Fuller

A good morning to all of you~

Denise is absolutely right...gloves are sooo important but keeping your treatment room clean is also a must(beating this into my students heads...they are completely sick of me preaching about MRSA every night~)'s funny that Denise mentioned cleaning your bottles after clients... just yesterday afternoon I purchased a roll of clear laminating vinyl. I plan to cover my bottles with it for easier cleaning and this way I wont lose the name of the product, ingredient listing, etc from scrubbing them down so often.

Other cleaning note about your treatment dear ole Dad was a hospital administrator at St Agnes Burn Center in Philly once-upon-a-time and he said that every flat surface (walls, picture frames, crown molding, baseboards, door jams) should be cleaned at least once a month as well (preferably every week!), especially since we are dealing with removal of dead skin cells.

I know it sounds so alarmist when you first read all of this stuff, but gang, if you see just one client with MRSA or God-forbid get Staph yourself, then no precaution becomes to small to take. Since I see so many clients with MRSA and clearly, we have a growing problem here in the tropics, I have gone to extremes by getting an anti-microbial mattress cover (twin size) for my facial table. When changing my linens after each client I was spraying the table surface with Lysol (this needs to stay wet for 10 min in order to kill the nasty little buggers) but it was often inconvenient to do when I have 10-12 facials or waxings in a the new mattress cover will serve that purpose nicely and I can still spray the table down at the end of my day.

If you have any suggestions on how you keep your treatment room clean or products you use to sanitize your equipment or room, please share with us!

OK, stepping down off my soapbox for well everyone! ( students can't wait for your January class! Will have a number for you by early December~)

All the best from Key West~

All About You Day Spa and Wellness Centre
1712-1714 N Roosevelt Blvd
Key West, FL 33040
(305) 292-0818
(888) 710-4300 toll free
(305) 292-9504 fax


I am a former RN turned Esthetician--and I am SO thankful you sent this wake up call out. So often when we hear things on the news, we really don't take the time to think of the possible ways that it could effect us and our business/clients/and co workers. These new 'bugs' are very drug resistant and can truly be life threatening.
You have done a great service by posting this heads up for us--and we should each take on the responsibility to pass it along to anyone we know who could be involved--they are not all readers/studiers like we are
Sandy Feldblum---Naples, FL
Debbie webmaster - admin Feed Your Nail Addiction shop smart, brand name professional products for professional results

just thought I'd add some information for you which isn't quite as fear mongering.

What you should know about Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus
What is Staphylococcus Aureus?

Staphylococcus aureus (SA) is a very common bacteria that can be found in about 3 out of 10 healthy people. Most of the time, it lives harmlessly in the nose or in other warm, moist areas on the body. Most people don't know that they are carrying it and are usually completely healthy. In certain circumstances, SA can cause infections.

What is Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA)?

Methicillin refers to a group of antibiotics that are usually used to treat SA. Some SA bacteria are no longer killed by these antibiotics and are called methicillin resistant. Over the past 30 years, more types of bacteria have become resistant to commonly used antibiotics. This makes infections caused by these germs more difficult to treat. MRSA is often referred to as a 'super bug', but that is a false name because we still have antibiotics that can be used to treat it.

All bacteria are able to learn how to resist antibiotics. As we use antibiotics more and more, the bacteria are becoming more resistant. This is an ongoing battle, and the battle will continue.

The good news is that even when the bacteria are able to resist some of the antibiotics, there is no reason to believe that they are more likely to cause infection. We live in harmony with most bacteria, and we live with them all the time. Good hand washing and other basic hygiene practices help us keep problematic bacteria in check.

Who gets MRSA?

Persons who are patients in acute care hospitals and residents of long-term care facilities, who have open wounds, catheters or tubes, and those who are very ill, are most likely to get MRSA.

How is MRSA spread?

The most common way MRSA spreads from person to person is by direct contact with a person that is carrying (or colonized) with this bacteria , usually with their hands. A much less common way of MRSA being spread is by direct contact with surfaces like railings, faucets, or handles that may have been contaminated by an 'colonized person' hands. Spreading through the air is very uncommon.

What is The Ottawa Hospital doing to stop the spread of MRSA?

When patients with MRSA are identified, the hospital tries to prevent the bacteria from spreading to other patients. Patients, who may be at risk for MRSA, are screened when they are admitted to the hospital. The patients who are found to carry the bacteria, are separated from other patients by placing them either in a single room, or in a room with another patient who already is known to have this bacteria.

Staff and family members who come in contact with them must follow strict rules such as washing their hands frequently and wearing a mask, gown and gloves in the room Meanwhile, antibiotics may be given to them to try to kill the bacteria if this is determined to be the best approach. These patients will continue to be screened regularly. Precautions will stop if the patient is found to be MSRA free for more than three weeks. However, testing for it will continue to make sure that the bacteria does not come back.

How can you prevent MRSA infections?

The best way to prevent infections of all kinds is good personal hygiene:

wash hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water for 10-15 seconds or use alcohol based gel;
avoid sharing personal articles such as cups, towels and toothbrushes;
clean and protect wounds promptly; and
cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing.
What should you do if MRSA is found in your nose or on your skin?

You should talk with your family doctor. If you feel healthy, you may not need any treatment. You do not pose a health risk to your family, co-workers, or the general public and you should continue with your normal activities. It is important for you to wash your hands regularly. Using an antibacterial hand soap or alcohol based gel may help stop you from spreading MRSA when touching surfaces with your hands.

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