ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture Cuts Dry Mouth in Cancer Patients
The Zen Way to Pain Relief
Insight on Herbals Eludes Doctors, Patients Alike
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Safe Toys for Dogs
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
A Winning Strategy to Beat Spring Sporting Injuries
Most Kids With Type 1 Diabetes Lack Vitamin D
CANCER
Mineral May Reduce High-Risk Bladder Disease
Higher Vitamin D Intake Could Cut Cancer Risk
Exercise Cuts Lung Cancer Risk in Ex-Smokers by 45%
CAREGIVING
Early Exercise Boosts Outcomes for ICU Patients
Coordination Has Led to Quicker Heart Treatment
Undoing the 'Big Baby' Trend
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Bye, Bye Back Fat?
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
Drink a Little Wine, Live a Little Longer
COSMETIC
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
DENTAL, ORAL
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
Most Insured Adults Worry About Health Care Costs: Poll
Gummy Bears Join Cavity Fight
DIABETES
Diabetes Linked to Cognitive Problems
Out-of-Control Blood Sugar May Affect Memory
'Standard' Glucose Test May Be Wrong One for Obese Children
DIET, NUTRITION
Olive Oil May Be Key to Mediterranean Diet's Benefits
Eating Healthy : You Can Live Longer
Fatty Acid in Olive Oil Wards Off Hunger
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Golf Course Insecticides Pose Little Danger to Players
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
Disinfectants Can Boost Bacteria's Resistance to Treatment
EYE CARE, VISION
Retinal Gene Is Linked to Childhood Blindness
Eye Care Checkups Tied to Insurance Status
Eye Problems, Hearing Loss May Be Linked
FITNESS
School Phys. Ed. Injuries Up 150 Percent
Yoga Can Ease Lower Back Pain
Exercise Key Player in Knee Replacement Recovery
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
GENERAL HEALTH
Diet, Exercise May Slow Kidney Disease Progression
Play Creatively as a Kid, Be a Healthier Adult
To Quit Smoking, Try Logging On
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Man's Best Friend Helps Mend Broken Hearts
Rheumatoid Arthritis a Threat to the Heart
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Teen Stress May Have Roots in First Three Years of Life
Safety Should Be Priority for Those Involved in Kids' Sports
6 Million U.S. Kids Lack Enough Vitamin D
MEN'S HEALTH
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
Have a Goal in Life? You Might Live Longer
Using the Mind to Heal the Heart
Mind Exercise Might Help Stroke Patients
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
SENIORS
Any Old Cane Won't Do
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Money May Matter, Health-Wise, in Old Age
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Natural Oils Help Lower Body Fat For Some
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
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MRSA Infections Can Bug Fitness Buffs

WEDNESDAY, July 2 (HealthDay News) -- Before heading to the gym, you should brush up on how to protect yourself from a potentially deadly superbug, say doctors from Loyola University.

While infections from methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) usually occur in hospitals and health-care settings, they are on the rise in community locales, according to Jorge Parada, director of the infection control program at Loyola University Hospital in Maywood.

"There is no doubt that MRSA and other infections can be transmitted without direct person-to-person contact," Parada said in a prepared statement. "Although it's low, it is possible to catch MRSA by using shared gym equipment like free weights or exercise cycles. The first step in preventing the spread of any type of infection is awareness of the possibility."

Generally, 5 percent to 10 percent of people are infected with MRSA. The superbug can survive for hours, even days, on the surface of gym equipment and other inanimate objects, Parada said.

"If we were dealing with something that virtually nobody had, then it wouldn't be a big deal," Parada said. "The problem with the MRSA epidemic in the community is you don't know when you're going to touch something that somebody with MRSA touched."

The benefits of exercise outweigh the risks of catching MRSA, so Parada suggests taking these precautions:

* Use clothing or a towel as a barrier between your skin and shared equipment, such as weight-training machines, wrestling or yoga mats, and sauna and locker room benches.
* Insist your gym have antiseptic wipes readily available to clean equipment before and after each use.
* Cover any open wounds or sores with a bandage before working out. Keep the area clean.
* Never share personal items such as towels, clothing, swim wear, combs, soap, shampoo or shaving gear.
* Inquire how high-touch areas and equipment are being cleaned, how often and what type of cleanser is being used. If the gym provides towels, customers need to know if the gym washes and dries them in temperatures high enough to kill MRSA.

Finally, practice good personal hygiene in and out of the gym.

"Washing your hands a number of times a day is the best defense we have against MRSA infections. That simple act trumps everything else that you can do," Alex Tomich, an infection control practitioner at Loyola University Medical Center, said in a prepared statement. "And you should always make sure to shower after every workout."

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about MRSA.



-- Kevin McKeever



SOURCE: Loyola University Health System, news release, June 11, 2008

Last Updated: July 02, 2008

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