Earlier this month, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteria (MRSA) was propelled into the media spotlight when 17-year-old Ashton Bonds of Moneta, Va. died after contracting the infection. Since then, reports of staph infections across the country combined with the release of a new government study have raised questions about the actual rate and danger of staph infections in the United States.
MRSA is a type of bacteria that is resistant to certain antibiotics, including methicillin, oxacillin, penicillin and amoxicillin, which can make it difficult to treat. Its symptoms include red, pimple-like pustules that may ooze pus.
The bacteria can be carried by healthy people, living on their skin or in their noses, without their knowledge. However, when the bacteria moves below the surface skin level, infection occurs. Most drug-resistant staph cases are mild skin infections, but more severe infections can enter the bloodstream or destroy flesh and become deadly. The recently released government study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that 94,000 cases of MRSA occurred in the U.S. in 2005, with a related death rate of 18,500—a rate higher than HIV/AIDS.
For a salon owner or operator, the recent buzz regarding staph infections is a reminder of how important it is to maintain strict cleaning and disinfecting regulations in a salon. Simply wiping down the bed with a dry towel to remove moisture and lotion is not enough to eliminate the risk of a disease being spread through the use of tanning equipment. It is crucial to thoroughly sanitize equipment and eyewear to protect customers from spreading or contracting germs, viruses or bacteria like MRSA.
Overall, each piece of equipment and eyewear must be cleaned after each use.
Most equipment is supplied with manuals on how to effectively maintain and clean the equipment. (Note: If a salon doesn’t have a manual for a piece of equipment, the owner should request one from the manufacturer, and the manual should be used as a guide to train new employees. This will help ensure that beds are maintained and sterilized with proper disinfecting materials.)
Eyewear should be soaked in disinfectant for the manufacturer’s recommended time, then rinsed and wiped clean to remove visible deposits.
For one disinfectant that can safely be used on both equipment and eyewear, try LUCASOL™ ONE STEP™ Disinfectant from Lucas Products, Corp. This hospital-grade solution promises to kill disease-causing single-cell organisms including MRSA, strep, hepatitis-B, hepatitis-C, herpes and HIV.