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Basic hygiene guidelines to prevent staph infections in schools

Wed August 10, 2011

DUPAGE COUNTY-The DuPage County Health Department has suggestions for students, parents and faculty on how to prevent staph infections, including MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), as the new school year begins.

Knowing the proper technique for hand washing (including the importance of washing hands before eating or preparing food) after touching any wounds and after using the toilet, can prevent staph infections.

Here are some general hygiene tips:

  • Keep your hands clean by washing thoroughly with soap and water. Use an alcohol hand gel when soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid sharing eating and drinking utensils.
  • Avoid sharing unwashed towels, washcloths, clothing or uniforms.
  • Avoid sharing personal items (e.g., deodorant, razors).
  • Change socks and underwear daily.
  • Wash bed linens and pajamas regularly, at least once a week if feasible.
  • Wash soiled bed linens and clothes with hot water and laundry detergent. Drying clothes in a hot dryer, rather than air-drying, also helps kill bacteria in clothes.
  • Bathe or shower with soap each day.
  • Bathe or shower with soap after every sports practice or competition.
  • Keep cuts and abrasions clean and covered with clean, dry bandages until healed.
  • Follow your health care provider's instructions on proper care of wounds.
  • Avoid contact with other people's wounds or material contaminated by wounds.

In addition to these tips, students participating in sports should remember these recommendations:

  • Do not share towels, clothing or uniforms.
  • Don't store wet, dirty clothing in lockers.
  • Avoid sharing personal equipment.
  • Keep equipment clean. Follow coach's directions about cleaning the equipment.
  • Keep cuts, abrasions and wounds covered with clean, dry bandages. Persons with draining wounds or infections are not allowed to participate in practices or games until the wound has stopped draining.
  • Report any cuts, abrasions or wounds to the coach and school nurse.

Also, if parents need immunizations for their children, those services are available at the Public Health Centers in Lombard, Westmont and Wheaton. A wide range of childhood and adult immunizations are available for a fee.  Childhood immunizations may be available through the Vaccines For Children (VFC) program for children who do not have insurance or have insurance that does not cover immunizations. Parents should contact the Health Department to check the eligibility of their children for VFC.

For more information on the DuPage County Health Department, follow us on Twitter @DuPageHD or become a fan on Facebook. 

Click here to print a copy of this press release:

Basic hygiene guidelines to prevent staph infections in schools



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