Spread of MRSA when shaving prevented by eliminating infection source

July 1, 2010

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) colonization has become an increasingly common occurrence. Most people with frequent MRSA infections harbor the organism in their nose, developing skin infections when the organism is placed into open wounds. The best way to prevent the spread of MRSA when shaving is to eradicate the source of the infection.

Key Points

Q: How do you prevent the spread of MRSA when shaving?

The best way to prevent the spread of MRSA when shaving is to eradicate the source of the infection. This can be done by administering a 30-day course of oral Septra DS (sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim, King) twice daily accompanied by the twice-daily application of Altabax (retapamulin, GlaxoSmithKline) into both nostrils. Nasal recolonization is common, so patients should continue to apply the Altabax to both nostrils each night before bed.

Sometimes it is necessary to prevent MRSA infection in patients who are undergoing treatment for infections at other sites, or in patients who have another family member who is infected. Shaving results in the production of numerous macroscopic and microscopic facial wounds, which could get infected with MRSA or other pathogenic organisms.

One of the best ways to minimize the chance of infection is to apply topical clindamycin solution 10 minutes before shaving to remove pathogenic organisms from the biofilm. This removes the organism before the injury occurs. This approach can be used in both men and women for all body areas that may require hair removal.

Q: What is the inflammatory theory of aging?

A: The inflammatory theory of aging proposed by Matteo Cesari in 2005 holds that the overproduction of reactive oxygen species causes tissue inflammation. This tissue inflammation is cumulative with time and damages the ability of the body to respond to insults. It is very similar to the free radical theory of aging, introduced by Denham Harman in 1957, but the free radical theory states that the accumulation of endogenous oxygen radicals causes aging.

The two theories are similar because the accumulation of endogenous oxygen radicals is the primary cause of inflammation. These theories form the basis for the oral and topical use of antioxidants for aging prevention.

Zoe Diana Draelos, M.D., is a Dermatology Times editorial adviser and consulting professor of dermatology, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, N.C. Questions may be submitted via e-mail to zdraelos@northstate.net
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