Approximately 30% of the population carry the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus in their noses. The Staph aureus residing in these nasal reservoirs can be a source for hospital acquired infections (HAIs). While Staph is not normally a problem in healthy individuals, those who are in hospitals are at a higher risk of acquiring a serious or even fatal Staph aureus infection. Patients with open wounds, weakened immune systems and with chronic conditions like diabetes, cancer, vascular disease, eczema, and lung disease are particularly vulnerable to Staph infections.
These infections may be spread by touch: skin to skin contact, hand to wound contact. Even healthcare workers who have followed protocol with hand sanitizers and hand washing may re-contaminate from hand to nose to hand and then to patient. For convenient access, see list of important links below related to the topic of Staph aureus and HAIs.
Recently, Marshall Medical Center, a nonprofit, independent health provider in El Dorado County, California, has adopted Nozin® Nasal Sanitizer® antiseptic to reduce the risk of infection while improving quality of care, increasing patient satisfaction and eliminating a major category of costly contact precautions.
Nina Deatherage, RN, BSN and Infection Control Lead at Marshall, explains the reason for adopting Nozin, “The use of the Nozin product with our MRSA colonized patients enables us to actively reduce the bacterial carriage of those who might be contributing to transmission and to lessen the environmental burden of potential pathogens.”
Contact precautions, especially for MRSA colonization, contribute significantly to infection control cost. This expense can include 60 to 70 gowns and gloves per day/per isolated patient. The reduction of contact precautions not only saves money but can significantly improve quality of care, responsiveness and overall patient satisfaction. “Our nurses like the program because, without having to gown and glove each time that they enter a room, they can provide more responsive care, ” says Brian Kendler, RN, Infection Preventionist on the Marshall infection control team. “Our patients seem to really like the Nozin product as evidenced by both use compliance and the increased satisfaction verbalized since implementation. It’s been a true win-win.” Deatherage also notes, “When we looked at the numbers and the cost savings, including medical waste disposal, we estimated that we will have saved $73,000 in direct costs within a year of implementing the program using Nozin. “
A major concern is that Staph aureus can also become antibiotic resistant and develop into Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), as well as other resistances. The buildup of antibiotic resistance in pathogens due to the overuse of antibiotic drugs is also a consideration for infection control measures. Kendler states, “As an antiseptic and not an antibiotic, the Nozin product conforms to the goal of our antibiotic stewardship directives. The Nozin non-antibiotic approach to reducing nasal colonization makes a lot of sense to me.”
More resources for Hospital Acquired Infections: