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Can a hospital patient with MRSA infection have visitors?

Yes. If you’re in hospital with an MRSA infection, you can still have visitors. However, it's a good idea to warn vulnerable people at risk of MRSA, so they can take special precautions.

Visitors at risk of MRSA

MRSA does not usually affect healthy people, including pregnant women, children and babies.

Some visitors, however, are more at risk of MRSA. This includes people with:

  • serious health problems
  • long-term skin conditions, such as eczema
  • open wounds

Read more about the people most at risk from MRSA infection.

How is MRSA spread?

If you have MRSA, it can be spread to a visitor if you have contact with their skin, especially if it's sore or broken, or if they handle personal items you have used, such as towels, bandages or razors. Visitors can also catch MRSA from contaminated surfaces or hospital devices or items.

Read more about how MRSA is spread.

How to stop visitors catching MRSA

Visitors can reduce the risk of catching MRSA from a hospital patient they are visiting (and the other way around) by:

  • not sitting on the patient’s bed
  • cleaning their hands just before and just after touching the patient
  • cleaning their hands before entering and after leaving the ward

Remind your visitors to clean their hands with soap and water or alcohol gel. Alcohol gel or hand rub dispensers are often placed near hospital beds and at the entrances to wards and bays or near lifts. Visitors can pick up organisms from the environment around you without even touching you.

If visitors have breaks in their skin, such as a sore or cut, they should keep them covered with a dressing to limit the risk of the MRSA getting into their body.

Read more about preventing the spread of MRSA.

Get advice before visiting other hospital patients

If you have an MRSA infection, get advice from hospital staff before visiting other patients in the hospital.

Read the answers to more questions about infections.

Further information:

 

MRSA

Find out how MRSA is caught, what happens when you have it, and how hospital staff and visitors can help prevent infection.

Media last reviewed: 27/04/2015

Next review due: 27/04/2017

Page last reviewed: 25/09/2015

Next review due: 25/09/2017