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Care of a Staphylococcus aureus Infection - Minnesota Dept. of Health

Care of a Staphylococcus aureus Infection

On this page:
Caring for yourself
In your home

Take care of infections!

  • Pus or drainage from wounds is very infectious.

Caring for yourself

Clean your hands

  • Clean your hands frequently with an antibacterial soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub, especially after changing your bandages or touching the drainage.

  • It matters how you wash your hands.
    • When using soap and water, you have to rub your hands for at least 20 seconds to get rid of the bacteria.
    • When using alcohol-based hand sanitizer, use enough to cover all the surfaces of your hands.

  • Clean Your Hands! Poster
    This 11x17 poster shows the six steps for washing hands with soap and water or two for cleaning with alcohol-based hand sanitizers.

Showering and personal care

  • Take a bath or shower often, be sure to use soap to clean your body while showering or bathing.

  • Do not share towels, wash cloths, razors, or other personal items.

Caring for your sore

  • If you get a cut or scrape on your skin, clean it with soap and water and then cover it with a bandage.

  • Do not touch sores; if you do touch a sore, clean your hands right away.

  • Keep the infected area covered with clean, dry bandages.

  • Cover any infected sores with a bandage and clean your hands right away after putting on the bandage.

  • Wear clothes that cover your bandages and sores, if possible.

  • Throw used dressings away promptly.

Changing Bandages

Sports and the gym

  • Do not participate in contact sports until your sores have healed.
  • Do not go to a public gym, sauna, hot tub or pool until sores have healed.

In your home


You need to be careful when you do laundry. Dirty clothes and bedding can spread staph or MRSA bacteria.

  • When touching your laundry or changing your sheets, hold the dirty laundry away from your body and clothes to prevent bacteria from getting on your clothes.

  • Wear disposable gloves to touch laundry that is soiled with body fluids, like drainage from a sore, urine or feces.

  • Immediately put the laundry into the washer or into a plastic bag until it can be washed.

  • Wash your laundry with warm or hot water, use bleach if possible.

  • Dry in a warm or hot dryer and make sure the clothes are completely dry.

  • Clean your hands after touching dirty sheets or clothing and before touching clean laundry, even if you have been wearing gloves.

  • Throw gloves away after taking them off (do not reuse them) and clean your hands.

Clothes and bedding

  • Change your sheets and towels at least once a week.

  • Change your clothes daily.

  • Do not put dirty clothes or clothes you have just worn back in your closet or drawers until they have been washed.

Cleaning your house

  • Clean frequently used areas of your home (bathrooms, countertops, etc.) daily with a household disinfectant or bleach solution.

  • Pay attention to items that are frequently touched - light switches, doorknobs, phones, toilets, sinks, tubs and showers and kitchen counters.

  • Wipe the surface or object with the disinfectant and let it dry.

Disinfectants to use:

  • You can use any cleaner you buy at the grocery store that has the word “disinfectant” on it, remember to read the label and follow the directions
  • Make your own solution of bleach and water:
    • Mix two teaspoons bleach into one quart of water in a spray bottle and label it “bleach solution”
    • Make it fresh each time you plan to clean because the bleach evaporates out of the water making it less effective
    • Never mix bleach with other cleaners, especially ammonia
    • Keep the bleach solution away from children and don’t put it in bottles that could be mistaken for something to drink.

  • It is important that you clean daily. Especially items or surfaces you touch often.
Updated Friday, 14-Oct-2022 18:17:46 CDT