Preoperative Preparation for MSSA or MRSA Carriers
What is MSSA?
MSSA is the short name for
Methicillin Sensitive Staphylococcus
aureus. MSSA is a type of bacteria
(germ) that lives on the skin and in
the nose of some people. It rarely
causes any problems. All humans
carry bacteria on our skin, in our nose,
and inside our digestive tract. In most
cases, they do not harm us and are
often very helpful. But if bacteria get
into a part of our body where they
don’t belong, they can cause problems
and lead to infections.
What is MRSA?
MRSA is the short name for
Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus
aureus. It is a germ that can be very
hard to treat with medicine when an
infection occurs. Some people carry
this type of germ on their bodies or in
their noses without any problems or
infections. But if MRSA gets into a
part of the body where it doesn’t
belong, it can cause problems and
lead to an infection that is hard to
MRSA and Isolation Precautions
If you are found to carry MRSA,
special safety measures will need to
be followed. This prevents the spread
of MRSA to other patients. These
safety measures are called contact
isolation precautions. To prevent
the spread of MRSA, your visitors
and health care workers will follow
directions outlined in a sign placed on
your door while you are in the
hospital or clinic.
Health care workers and visitors will
Clean hands and wear gloves
and gown when going into your
Put used gloves in trash and
gowns in hamper. Then clean
hands again before leaving your
You will be asked to
Talk with your nurse about
what you need to do to prevent
the spread of germs.
Cover your mouth and nose
when sneezing or coughing. If
you use a tissue or your hands,
clean your hands when you are
Clean your hands before
leaving your room.
Put on a clean robe (may use a
second gown worn like a robe)
before leaving your room.
Keep the robe on while outside
Stay in your room except when
you need to go for a test or
Avoid contact with other
If you are found to carry MRSA, UW
Health requires you to be in contact
isolation for your entire hospital stay.
You will be in contact isolation every
time you are a patient in a UW Health
hospital or clinic at the hospital.
Having MRSA in your nose or on
your skin should not be a problem in
your daily life. The best way to
prevent the spread of MRSA at home
and in public is to wash your hands
often. You should also wash objects
often that you touch a lot and clean
objects such as towels, clothes, and
exercise equipment before you share
What can be done to prevent an
infection at my surgical site if I am
found to carry MSSA or MRSA?
If you are found to carry MSSA or
MRSA, you will be asked to follow
the directions below which may help
to reduce your risk of an infection at
your surgical site.
1. Apply an antibiotic ointment to
your nose twice per day for the
5 days before your surgery.
2. Wash with CHG soap daily for
the 5 days before your
surgery.* On the day before
surgery, wash with CHG soap
in the evening. Also wash with
CHG soap on the morning of
your surgery before you leave
3. If you are found to carry
MRSA, an additional antibiotic
will be given to you before
your surgery that works against
Special preoperative directions can
be found on the next page. You
must follow these. Contact your
doctor if you have questions.
The Spanish version of this Health Facts for You is #7221.
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright ©1/2017. University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7218.
Preparing Your Skin before Surgery –MSSA/MRSA
Name__________________________ Surgery Date___________
Complete the following steps daily for 5 days prior to surgery:
1. Shower or bathe using your usual soap and shampoo, then rinse off completely. Do NOT
2. Turn off or step out of the water stream.
3. Apply CHG soap to a clean, wet washcloth. Wash your skin from neck to toes, making
sure to cover all skin areas once. Do NOT apply the soap directly to your face, head or
4. Repeat step 3, covering all skin areas a second time. You should use half of the volume in
5. Leave CHG soap on your skin for 1 minute (sing happy birthday two times slowly). This
helps it absorb into the skin.
6. Rinse your skin with warm water. Do not scrub.
7. Minimal contact to the genital area during rinsing is fine.
8. Blot your skin dry with a clean towel.
1. Apply Mupirocin two times daily after washing your face in the morning and evening.
2. Apply Mupirocin to a clean cotton swab and insert 1-2 cm into each nostril. Rotate swabs
against the inside of the nostril for 3 seconds while applying pressure with a finger to the
outside of the nose.
3. Do NOT use Mupirocin the morning of surgery.
The Night Before and Morning of Surgery
Shower using CHG soap the night before AND morning of surgery as instructed above.
Do not use lotions, creams, powder, perfume or makeup after your shower or bath.
Wear clean pajamas and sleep on clean sheets.
Do NOT use Mupirocin the morning of surgery.
*Hibiclens® is for skin use only. Do not use if you are allergic to chlorhexidine gluconate
(CHG). Do not use on your head or face. Do not use on deep wounds. CHG may cause skin
irritation such as itching or redness. This is more likely when it is applied to sensitive skin right
after taking a shower or shaving. If itching or redness persists, rinse the affected areas. Stop
using the Hibiclens®. Contact your surgeon’s office.