Here’s a surprising fact: 25% of people carry Staphylococcus, a bacteria that can lead to a staph infection. Common areas where the bacteria live include your genitals and your mouth. And while millions of people have the staph bacteria on their skin, most people don’t get infected. Unless, that is, they cut or nick their skin and the bacteria infect the area.
Staph infections are extremely serious and often involves hospitalization. If you want to minimize your risks of letting the bacteria infect you, take the following precautions.
1. Practice Good Hygiene
The staph bacteria is very common in the genital and anal area. Practice good hygiene and wash your hands thoroughly after using the bathroom. Use warm water and soap and wash for a minimum of 30 seconds, and don’t forget to clean under your fingernails. If you’re in a public bathroom, protect yourself from bacteria by using a paper towel to turn off the faucet, another towel to dry your hands and a third towel to open the bathroom door.
2. Wash Sheets Regularly
Clean your bedsheets regularly because you or your loved ones might already be carrying the staph bacteria. Your sheets can harbor the bacteria because of your long contact with the bedding while you sleep. Wash your bedding at least once a week and use hot water to help get rid of the bacteria. You might also want to consider using bleach to clean your bedding, which helps sterilize and destroy any remnants of staph.
3. Keep Your Sores and Wounds Covered
An open cut or scrape allows the staph bacteria to penetrate your skin barrier and infect you. Keep any sores clean and covered to help protect yourself from staph infections.
4. Avoid Sharing Personal Items
From bedsheets to toiletry items like toothbrushes, avoid sharing personal items. The staph bacteria can live for a long time on personal objects, and sharing them can spread the bacteria from person to person and increase your risks of getting infected.