Those health experts are now taking a hard look at how to prevent the spread of that potentially deadly infection. The bacterial infection is known as "MRSA.” It has grown resistant to some antibiotics and stronger strains of it are turning up in more public places.
Shaking hands is just part of business for car salesman Dale Gravelle.
"Nine out of 10 times, I’ll be back at the washroom, washing my hands," said Gravelle.
Hand-washing is part of his doctor's recommendations following his near-deadly battle with MRSA.
"My heart and lungs were peppered with all these lesions from this MRSA and I ended up at Penrose Main in intensive care," he said.
The staph bacteria is now claiming up to 18,000 lives a year. Once predominantly contracted in hospitals, it has been showing up in schools, day-care facilities and locker-rooms.
"Where there is a lot of contact like wrestling, even football players including professional football teams have had outbreaks of MRSA," said Dr. David Talan, of the Olive View, UCLA Medical Center.
Health experts are making a list of the most effective antibiotics to use. They're also encouraging doctor's to avoid over-prescribing those drugs, because the staph has grown resistant to some forms of the medications.
"Many patients with simple skin abscesses will not need antibiotics. All they may require is drainage of the abscess,” Talan said.
To prevent at home, doctors encourage everyone to avoid sharing personal items like a toothbrush or razor.
"I wash my hands a lot, I'm surprised I have skin on my hands," Gravelle said. Doctors also recommend keeping hands, as well as cuts and scrapes, clean.
MRSA skin infections are sometimes mistaken for spider bites and account for 60 percent of all skin infections seen in emergency rooms.
A spokesperson from memorial hospital told 11 News their doctors see three to four cases of community acquired MRSA per day. They suggest carrying anti-bacterial hand-wipes, and using them at places like grocery stores and health clubs to wipe down carts or equipment that gets touched often.
For more information about MRSA, click the link below.
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