Sunday, September 18, 2011

mrsa - antibiotic resistance and soap

image courtesy of 
Ever since my leg wound which developed back in April after a fall, read here  and my diagnosis of MRSA some time later I have a healthy respect for germs. Bacteria are not our friends although there are some good bacteria; staff is not one of them - believe me. I spent an entire four and a half month period fighting it and months keeping my wound clean and covered so that I wouldn't spread my germs to any of my friends, loved ones and my cats.

What I didn't know was that I needed to be concerned with infecting myself; due to colonization. Meaning the bacteria of my wound may have spread to my skin or nose resulting in me reinfecting myself whenever I have an open cut or scratch.

If you've been following my MRSA leg wound adventure it did come back read here a time or two in the original wound so my wound doctor speculated to me that I may be colonized and that I may have reinfected myself. I can be tested in a few months to find out once the medication has cleared my system. Just a quick swab of my nose that can be sent in for testing will give me the answer, the alternative is that the antibiotics didn't work, I find that just as likely a scenario. ( I was on oral and or IV antibiotics for about eleven weeks total since late April until the present day )

Now that my wound is healed my doctor has suggested as a precaution that I use an antibacterial soap while bathing. I usually don't use antibacterial soaps since they kill the good bacteria on the skin but for the time being I need to be on the safe side. The three active ingredients in this type of soap are triclosan and triclocarbon and chloroxylenol; the latter is the one used in most hospital soaps. He also suggested that I regularly change soaps so the germs my body may be harboring don't build a resistance to any one soap. I've also decided to use a tea tree soap which has natural properties that kill bacteria as well, and it adds another way to deal with my supposed bacteria difficulty.

The newest research says that unless you need to use antibacterial soap to kill germs specifically you should use regular soap. Overuse of antibacterial soaps causes bacteria to form resistance, regular soap really is more than sufficient for cleaning. And believe me bacteria like MRSA are resistant regardless of whether you have a personal history of over use of antibiotics; which I didn't. Plus in addition to soap, others over using antibiotics- doctor's over prescribing, consuming meat that has been shot up with antibiotics; all contribute to drug resistant bacteria problem. Something I never thought would touch my world much less eat a hole in my leg!

Soap is only one piece of the puzzle, but its something to think about!

What do you use in your house regular soap or antibacterial?. Now that you've heard my story do you feel OK using  regular soap or are you more concerned about killing germs? I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts.


  1. I'm a nurse so I refuse to use antibacterial soap for that exact reason...we are creating super bigs because everything is antibacterial this and that. Germs are becoming resistant...even because of doctors who over prescribe antibitotics.
    Bit in your case I would totally use it. Because your safety is definitely a concern.
    I'm so sorry that you had to go through all of this.

  2. Kimberly,
    I never did either for the same reason, and it just didn't seem necessary to get clean.

    I bet if I put a picture of the hole in my leg on this blog and show how that MRSA literally ate my flesh they'd think twice!

  3. Good old ivory soap is okay by me. Why change a good thing? And I don't think I smell bad either.

  4. I'm your newest follower from the hop:) Check me out at whenever u can.

  5. Glad to have you; welcome! Can't wait to learn about eco issues on your blog :)

  6. Mark- That's exactly what Bill used before this whole bacteria thing invaded our lives. Now he's on the antibacterial soap too just in case. It's the best stuff for kids too since it floats!

  7. The most important thing about hand-washing is, apparently, not the temperature of the water or the soap used - but the action of rubbing the skin of one hand against that of the other. In other words - technique. And thorough drying is important too.

    (Stuff I learned in my professional life)


  8. True FW,
    Great info! There are still a lot of people who don't wash or wash long enough.

    I even changed from hand towels for my own personal use to paper towels to be on the safe side- cross contamination and all!

  9. It's so frustrating how what "they" think changes every other week! It sounds like you've been through one heck of a time. Here's to good health this year!


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