Without a doubt, staph infections are a serious matter. Fortunately, they can be prevented as long as certain precautions are taken. The most effective methods include:1,2
• Proper Hygiene
One of the most common ways bacteria can infect your skin is infrequent and improper washing of hands. As you come into contact with surfaces out in the public and then touch your body, you can infect a hair follicle or oil gland. If you rub your eyes, pink eye may develop. It’s important to wash your hands regularly to eliminate any bacteria, and shower regularly as well.
• Cover and Clean Wounds Immediately
If you happen to get a cut or a wound, it’s important to clean and cover it immediately to prevent it from becoming infected. Keep the wound dry to allow the skin to repair.
• Don’t Share Clothes and Personal Hygiene Items
Shirts, jackets, towels, sheets and other fabrics that you regularly use should not be shared with others, as they can become infected with bacteria when they are returned to you.
• Wash Fabrics in Warm Water
Relative to the previous point, it’s important to wash clothing and other fabrics (beddings, pillow cases) in warm water to help kill any form of bacteria.
• For Women, Change Tampons Regularly
Women who use tampons during menstruation need to change them every four to eight hours to help prevent toxic shock syndrome from happening. Prolonged use of tampons can breed staph bacteria, which can directly enter your bloodstream and cause life-threatening symptoms.
Remember the ‘4 Cs’ to Prevent Food Poisoning
There are four “Cs” to remember when it comes to preventing food poisoning — Cleaning, Cooking, Chilling and Cross-contamination.3
To prevent the spread of staph bacteria, it’s important to implement effective sanitation practices on your cooking and eating utensils. This means keeping items such as spoons, forks, spatulas and pans in a clean place all the time. Before cooking, it may help to wash the utensils again to make sure that any bacteria you have missed don’t get into your food.
Before handling food, especially raw ingredients, it’s important that you wash your hands. After cooking, you should wash your hands before you touch anything of importance.
Cooking helps eliminate the bacteria present in the ingredient used in the dish. Make sure you cook your food thoroughly. But there are some exceptions to this rule, such as steak. If you enjoy your steak medium rare, that’s OK as long as the outside is properly cooked.
Storing food properly helps keep it fresh and prevents bacteria from multiplying before it is eaten. To store your food at the right temperature and location, follow the instructions indicated on the label. Keep in mind that if the temperature of your refrigerator is not cold enough, bacteria may spread, so always make sure the refrigerator is at the right temperature (40 degrees F or 4 degrees C).
Cross-contamination occurs when bacteria from one food transfers to another food. There are several ways on how this can happen, such as juice dripping from infected meat to other ingredients, or using infected utensils that can spread the bacteria around. Sometimes, it can be as simple as touching raw food with your hands, then touching other ingredients again. Here are some methods you can follow to help prevent cross-contamination in your food:
◦ Wash hands after touching raw food or ingredients.
◦ Store raw meats in sealable containers so their juices don’t drip into other foods.
◦ Use separate chopping boards for raw food and ready-to-eat food, or wash one thoroughly before reusing.
◦ Clean cooking utensils thoroughly after slicing raw meat.
◦ It’s recommended that you don’t wash raw meat. The water splashes may spread bacteria around. Cooking the meat will take care of the bacteria.