ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Holistic Treatment for Candida Infection
Music Therapy For Prehistoric Man?
Regular Yoga May Improve Eating Habits
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Safe Toys for Dogs
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Autumn Sees More Women With Bunion Problems
Heart Failure Raises Risk of Fractures
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
CANCER
Steady Weight Gain Boosts Late-Life Breast Cancer Risk
Many Ignore Symptoms of Bladder Trouble
Supplement Hampers Thyroid Cancer Treatment
CAREGIVING
Newborn Screenings Now Required Across U.S.
Timing May Matter in Organ Donation Decisions
New Guidelines for Treating Heart Failure
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Bye, Bye Back Fat?
Grapefruit-Heavy Diet Helped Spur Dangerous Clot
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
COSMETIC
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
DENTAL, ORAL
Dental Implants Need More Work Than Root Canals
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
DIABETES
Saliva Test Could Monitor Type 2 Diabetes
Fish Twice a Week Cuts Diabetics' Kidney Risks
24 Million Americans Had Diabetes in 2007
DIET, NUTRITION
Herb Shows Potential for Rheumatoid Arthriti
Many Kids Don't Need the Vitamins They're Taking
Trans-Fat Ban In New York City Is Proving successful
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Global Warming Biggest Health Threat of 21st Century, Experts Say
Is It Safe to Go in the Gulf Coast's Water?
Meat-Eating Dinosaurs Used Legs and Arms Like Birds
EYE CARE, VISION
Sports Eye Injuries Leading Cause of Blindness in Youths
Florida Vision Test Law: Fewer Traffic Deaths Among Elderly
When Gauging Age, the Eyes Have It
FITNESS
Exercise Keeps the Brain Young
Maximize Your Run
Avoiding a Holiday Season of Discontent
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
GENERAL HEALTH
The Yearly Flu Shot Debate
Internet Program Helps Problem Drinkers
New Options Offered for Sleep Apnea
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
A Little Chocolate May Do the Heart Good
Women Who Run May Benefit From Extra Folic Acid
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Scorpion Anti-Venom Speeds Children's Recovery
Pool Chemicals Raise Kids Allergy, Asthma Risk
Babies Who Eat Fish Lower Eczema Risk
MEN'S HEALTH
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
MENTAL HEALTH
Shop 'Til You Drop: You May Feel Better
Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Breast-Feeding Benefits Moms and Babies
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
SENIORS
The Healthy Habits of Centenarians
For a Healthier Retirement, Work a Little
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Health Tip: Be More Comfortable During Childbirth
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Exercise During Pregnancy Keeps Newborn Size Normal
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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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