For the better part of 40 years, medical science has been combating a kind of bacteria that does not respond well to typical antibiotics. Known as methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), the bacteria come in many different strains. It can be acquired in a hospital setting (HA-MRSA), in a community setting (CA-MRSA), and from exposure to animals.
Community acquired MRSA can usually be traced back to some sort of non-medical setting in which close contact between people is normal. For example, a day spa’s massage room is a perfect environment. Skin-to-skin contact between massage therapist and client makes the spread of CA-MRSA very possible if certain precautions are not taken.
The point of this post is to talk about the role of hygienically clean linens in the massage room as a means of helping to prevent the spread of CA-MRSA. Needless to say that hygienically clean linens are a major step in the right direction for every massage room operator.
About the MRSA Bacteria
What people do not know about MRSA is often what gets them into trouble. For example, are you aware that MRSA can live on the surface of an inanimate object for several days? That means a client with MRSA-related boils could leave bacteria behind on a massage table not covered with linens. If that table is not properly cleaned, the bacteria can linger long enough to find a new host in a future client.
People also do not realize that the longer bacteria remains on a person’s skin, the greater the chances it will spread. This is why experts are so fervent about regular hand washing. The best way to prevent bacteria from spreading is to get rid of it, and a good way to get rid of it is to wash the hands.
The Role of Hygienically Clean Linens
Knowing what we know about CA-MRSA, it’s worth asking the question of whether or not massage room operators should use linens to cover their tables. In a word, yes. Linens prevent direct contact between guest and massage table, greatly reducing the chances that said table will become laden with bacteria.
However, linens alone are not good enough to stop the spread of CA-MRSA. Those linens need to be clean. Sheets should be changed at the conclusion of every session, and massage room operators who choose to do their own laundry in-house are advised to wash soiled sheets in hot water and bleach.
Alsco, a Utah provider of hygienically clean linens to the hospital industry, says there’s a better way to handle linens. Rather than washing them in-house, massage room operators could and should send their laundry out to a facility certified as a provider of hygienically clean linens. Alsco is one such provider.
What Certification Means
Being certified as a provider of hygienically clean linens means that a laundry facility meets extremely rigorous standards for laundry washing, clean linen processing, operations, and more. Certified hygienically clean linen is guaranteed to be bacteria free upon delivery.
Data shows that the rate of CA-MRSA has declined over the last decade. However, the rate of decline has slowed measurably. Experts warn that now is not the time to stop paying attention to the MRSA threat. Rather, efforts to combat the spread of MRSA are still important to the future of human health.
In the massage room setting, CA-MRSA can be spread quickly and with very little effort. The key to preventing it is cleanliness. To that end, hygienically clean linens can play a vital role in preventing infections among both guests and therapists alike.