ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Health Tip: Anticipating Acupuncture
Cranberries May Help Prevent Urinary Tract Infections
Pain-Relieving Powers of Acupuncture Unclear
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Bone Density Predicts Chances of Breast Cancer
Too Few Screened for Abdominal Aneurysm, Study Says
Almost Half of Adults Will Develop Knee Osteoarthritis by 85
CANCER
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
CAREGIVING
Diabetes Epidemic Now Poses Challenges for Nursing Homes
TV Watching Doesn't Fast-Track Baby's Skills
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Obesity Linked to Heart Failure Risk
Firefighters Have Narrower-Than-Normal Arteries, Study Finds
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
COSMETIC
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Amino Acid May Be Key to Strong Teeth
Periodontal Disease Impacts Whole Health
Scientists Find Gene for Tooth Enamel
DIABETES
Findings Challenge Tight Glucose Control for Critically Ill Patients
Study Shows Turmeric May Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Abnormal Heart Rhythm Boosts Death Risk for Diabetics
DIET, NUTRITION
Soluble Fiber, But Not Bran, Soothes Irritable Bowel
Trans-Fat Ban In New York City Is Proving successful
Asparagus May Ease Hangover
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Prenatal Exposure to Traffic Pollution May Lead to Asthma
1976 Italian Dioxin Release Damaged Babies' Thyroids
Hurricane Threats: Time to Batten Down the Hatches
EYE CARE, VISION
Clues Found to Brain Mechanism Behind Migraines
Music Can Help Restore Stroke Patients' Sight
Half of U.S. Adults Lack 20/20 Vision
FITNESS
As Temperature Plummets, It's Still Safe to Exercise
Simple Steps Get Walkers Moving
Study Shows Exercise Shields Against Osteoporosis
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
GENERAL HEALTH
'Soda Tax' Wins Health Experts' Support
Household Insecticides May Be Linked to Autoimmune Diseases
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Lack of Vitamin D Linked to High Blood Pressure
How Weight Loss Can Help the Heart
Too Much Red Meat May Shorten Life Span
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Daily Exercise at School Yields Rewards
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
Childhood Dairy Intake Boosts Bone Health Later On
MEN'S HEALTH
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
Brain Scans Show How Humans 'Hear' Emotion
Optimism May Boost Immune System
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
For Baby and Mom Alike, Breast-Feeding May Be Best
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
SENIORS
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
Any Old Cane Won't Do
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Smoking Ups Risk of Second Breast Cancer
Active Young Women Need Calcium, Vitamin D
Vitamin D Good for Breast Cancer Patients
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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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