Staphylococcus aureus (Staph aureus, S. aureus, or SA) is a common bacteria (a type of germ) found in the nose and on the skin of people. It is often resistant to several types of antibiotic treatments.
About one out of every three people (33%) are estimated to carry staph in their nose, usually without any illness. About two in 100 (2%) carry MRSA. Both adults and children may have MRSA.
A question that could be asked for any client having services in your spa:
Have you ever had a MRSA infection, or are you a carrier? The client really should be telling us that they have had the infection or they are a carrier. This may require the therapist wash their hands, wear gloves, wear a mask, however, it is not advisable to touch and work on infected skin and you must otherwise take precautions. Educate clients by sharing pertinent information like this. When a client knows that they have an infection and they don’t disclose it, you need to let them know that if they infect you or another spa professional, this person may also get very sick to the point they may no longer be able to practice.
Working with people in a spa/salon or clinic we are at higher risk for getting sick. Shifting from hands on services to other modalities where you are providing services with less skin contact will dramatically reduce the exposure. Of course, the service will not have that spa like experience but some can be just as relaxing.
Most community-acquired MRSA infections look like a large pimple or boil: a large red pustule develops in the skin, often where an open sore or lesion provided a portal of entry. It is hot and painful and may drain some fluid. Many people assume that the lesion is a spider bite. Left untreated, the bacteria may invade into deeper tissues and even set up infections in the lungs (causing an extremely aggressive form of pneumonia) or the bloodstream (causing life-threatening sepsis).
An in vitro study on the inhibition of MRSA by essential oil diffusion found that 72 of 91 investigated essential oils exhibited zones of inhibition in soy agar plates streaked with MRSA (strain ATCC 700699). The most effective being lemongrass oil (Cymbopogon flexuosus), lemon myrtle oil (Backhousia citriodora), mountain savory oil (Satureja montana), cinnamon oil (Cinnamomum verum), and melissa oil (Melissa officinalis) essential oils. Of these, lemongrass essential oil was the most effective, completely inhibiting all MRSA colony growth. Tea tree oil also kills all MRSA strains that have been tested. A diffuser with any of the above essential oils would be very beneficial in the work environment.