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Staph Infections Hit Professional Football Hard

Thursday, December 11, 2008 General News J E 4
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NORCROSS, Ga., Dec. 10 Joe Jurevicius, Tom Brady, PeytonManning, Kellen Winslow. Unfortunately, during the past few months the listof top professional football players affected by Staphylococcus Aureus,commonly called staph, seems to read as a who's who of the National FootballLeague (NFL). Whether the source of these infections is healthcare facilitieswhere athletes are undergoing surgeries, locker rooms, or turf on the playingfields, staph and its close relative Methicillin-Resistant StaphylococcusAureus or MRSA, have reared their ugly heads in the NFL again.

Although not a new trend, it is an alarming one as more and more athletesmiss multiple games due to these infections. As the number of cases of MRSA,a type of staph infection that is resistant to many common antibiotics, hasincreased in the community versus hospital settings, so have contactsports-related infections. This is mostly due to how the infection is spread.

Staph and MRSA are usually spread from person-to-person through directskin contact or contact with shared items or surfaces such as towels, usedbandages, hot and cold tubs, or weight-training equipment surfaces that havetouched a person's infection. MRSA infections in the community are usuallymanifested as skin infections, such as pimples and boils that are red, swollenand painful. MRSA can be life threatening when it enters the body throughscrapes and scratches, potentially leading to blood and joint infections, andpneumonia. In hospital-acquired MRSA, the infection usually enters the bodyduring a surgery or other open-wound procedure.

"All of us in the sports medicine profession know that protecting ourplayers from infections such as staph or MRSA are priorities," said DeanKleinschmidt, coordinator of athletic medicine/athletic trainer for theDetroit Lions. "To do this, many of us have started very strict facilitycleaning procedures and provided our players with educational materials andworkshops that show them how they can also prevent it."

The NFL Players Association (NFLPA) recently posted information to its website about staph infections and MRSA provided by NFLPA Medical Director Dr.Thom Mayer. This includes how players can lower their chances of contractingstaph such as:

-- Players need to have effective hygiene with equipment, which meanswiping down a training bench or table.

-- Make sure the trainer uses a germicidal foam and wipes down the tablebetween players.

-- Showering following whirlpool treatments.

-- The single most important thing for prevention is hand-washing withsoap and water, or if MRSA is known to be present, with chlorhexidene(Hibiclens).

In addition to several other measures aimed at reducing the risk ofinfection, cleansers with chlorhexidene gluconate (CHG) have been recommendedby medical organizations to be used prior to surgeries as a bathing agent,specifically 4 percent CHG since it is more effective than iodine or plainsoap. The Centers for Disease Control also recommends that hospitals requirepatients to shower or bathe with an antiseptic agent at least the night beforethe operative day.

"Cleansers with 4 percent CHG cleanse the skin, but also add a barrier forhours of protection," said Jack Doornbos, executive director, Molnlycke HealthCare, maker of Hibiclens(R) skin cleanser. "CHG has been used in hospitalsand operating rooms for decades to prevent the spread of infection. But now,with MRSA and other resistant infections becoming more common in the communityand sports, it's been even more important to add protection, while not leavinga residue that affects sports performance."

Infection risk can be even higher among amateur and recreation-levelathletes. This is due to the fact that many athletes at an amateur leveldon't shower immediately after activities. For them, washing with a CHGproduct such as Hibiclens, especially the hands and arms, before an activitycan dramatically reduce the risk of infection.

Hibiclens is an antimicrobial/antiseptic cleanser that kills germs oncontact and bonds with the skin to keep killing microorganisms for up to sixhours without leaving a residue. The same cleanser with alcohol is availablein convenient towelettes called Hibistat(R). Both are available at drugstores and pharmacies in the first aid section. For more information aboutHibiclens, Hibistat or CHG, visit www.hibigeebies.com.

About Molnlycke Health Care US, LLC

Molnlycke Health Care US, LLC, consists of two divisions - Surgical andWound Care. Focusing on prevention of surgically-related infections for bothpatients and healthcare workers, the Surgical Division (formerly RegentMedical Americas, LLC) encompasses the world's leading manufacturer andsupplier of powder-free surgical gloves (Biogel(R) surgical gloves); thenumber one supplier (by value) of skin cleanser (Hibiclens(R) and Hibistat(R)antiseptics); and BARRIER(R) protective clothing. A leader in trauma and painmanagement, the Wound Care Division's market dynamics are driven by an agingpopulation, higher incidence of pressure ulcers and increased home treatment.

SOURCE Molnlycke Health Care US, LLC
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