ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Birds Don't Miss a Beat
Quit Smoking the Holistic Way
Massage Fosters Healing in Bereaved Relatives
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Pain More a Cause of Arthritis Than a Symptom
A Little Drink May Be Good for Your Bones
Too Few Screened for Abdominal Aneurysm, Study Says
CANCER
More Americans Urged to Get Cancer Screenings
Supplements Might Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
Lifting Weights Can Ease Arm Swelling in Breast Cancer Survivors
CAREGIVING
Omega-3 Fatty Acid May Help 'Preemie' Girls' Brains
Babies Born in High Pollen Months at Wheezing Risk
Injected Medication Errors a Major Problem
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
COSMETIC
Health Tip: After Liposuction
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
Gummy Bears Join Cavity Fight
Health Tip: At Risk for Gingivitis
DIABETES
24 Million Americans Had Diabetes in 2007
Laughter May Lower Heart Attack Risk in Diabetics
Chamomile Tea May Ward Off Diabetes Damage
DIET, NUTRITION
HELP TO LOSE WEIGHT ON A LOW CAL BUDGET
Even in 'Last Supper,' Portion Sizes Have Grown
More Calcium And Dairy Products in Childhood Could Mean Longer Life
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Meat-Eating Dinosaurs Used Legs and Arms Like Birds
Air Pollution Exposure May Slow Fetal Growth
Short-Term Air Pollution Exposure May Damage DNA
EYE CARE, VISION
'Blind' Man Navigates Obstacle Course Without Error
Vision Test for Young Children Called Unreliable
Stem Cells Repair Damaged Corneas in Mice
FITNESS
FDA Mandates New Warnings for Botox
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Research Confirms How Valuable A Healthy Lifestyle Can Be
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
GENERAL HEALTH
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Eating More Soy May Be Good For Your Lung Function
Keep Fire Safety in Mind as You Celebrate
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Polyunsaturated Fats Really May Lower Heart Risk
Chinese Red Yeast Rice May Prevent Heart Attack
Walk Long, Slow and Often to Help the Heart
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Too Many Infants Short on Vitamin D
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Meaningful Conversations Boost Kids' Language Skills
MEN'S HEALTH
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
MENTAL HEALTH
Optimism May Boost Immune System
Eight Spiritual Universal Principles in the Art of Practice
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
SENIORS
Rapid Weight Loss in Seniors Signals Higher Dementia Risk
Video Gaming Just Might Fight Aging
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Natural Therapies for Menopause
For Women, Moderate Midlife Drinking Linked to Healthier Old Age
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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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