Newsletter Index -- January 1, 2008
Did you know
heart disease is the number 1 killer of women?
And that more women die each year of heart disease than men do?
Heart disease is not just a man’s disease!
Come to our free
informational talk and learn if you are at risk of heart disease and what you
can do to reduce your risk. This is
the third in our series of educational talks for women presented by Women
Physicians Ob-Gyn at our office. Dr.
Sutherland will be speaking and encourages you to bring your questions.
January 30, 2008, Wednesday
6:30 PM — 7:30 PM
2485 Hospital Drive, Suite 221, Mountain View, 94040
If you would like to know more about heart
disease in women but cannot make it to the WPMG talk, Dr. Sutherland will also
be talking on Heart Health for Women at the Elephant Pharmacy in Los Altos on
February 9th, 2008, Saturday, at 1:00 PM.
We, at Women
Physicians, as well as the rest of the medical community, are recognizing an
increased number of infections that are antibiotic resistant.
One such infection, community acquired methicillin resistent
staphylococcus aureus, is on the rise, and therefore has been in the news
lately. We hope this newsletter can
help to answer some of your questions and help in the goal of prevention.
bacteria are also becoming increasingly resistant.
We can no longer count on all UTI’s to respond to our first choice of
antibiotic. It is important to do
cultures before treating many infections. Also,
avoid use of antibiotics unless they are clearly indicated and properly
prescribed by your doctor.
· What is Staphylococcus aureus (staph)?
often referred to simply as "staph," are bacteria commonly carried on
the skin or in the nose of healthy people. Approximately 25% to 30% of the
population is colonized (when bacteria are present, but not causing an
infection) in the nose with staph bacteria. Sometimes, staph can cause an
infection. Staph bacteria are one of the most common causes of skin infections
in the United States. Most of these skin infections are minor (such as pimples
and boils) and can be treated without antibiotics (also known as antimicrobials
or antibacterials). However, staph bacteria also can cause serious infections
(such as surgical wound infections, bloodstream infections, and pneumonia).
· What is MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus)?
Some staph bacteria are resistant to antibiotics. MRSA is
a type of staph that is resistant to antibiotics called beta-lactams. Beta-lactam
antibiotics include methicillin and other more common antibiotics such as
oxacillin, penicillin and amoxicillin. While 25% to 30% of the population is
colonized with staph, approximately 1% is colonized with MRSA.
· Who gets staph or MRSA infections?
Staph infections, including MRSA, occur most frequently
among persons in hospitals and healthcare facilities (such as nursing homes and
dialysis centers) who have weakened immune systems. These healthcare-associated
staph infections include surgical wound infections, urinary tract infections,
bloodstream infections, and pneumonia.
· What is community-associated MRSA (CA-MRSA)?
Staph and MRSA can also cause illness in persons outside
of hospitals and healthcare facilities. MRSA infections that are acquired by
persons who have not been recently
(within the past year) hospitalized or had a medical procedure (such as
dialysis, surgery, catheters) are know as CA-MRSA infections. Staph or MRSA
infections in the community are usually manifested as skin infections, such as
pimples and boils, and occur in otherwise healthy people.
· How common are staph and MRSA infections?
Staph bacteria are one of the most common causes of skin
infection in the United States and are a common cause of pneumonia, surgical
wound infections, and bloodstream infections. The majority of MRSA infections
occur among patients in hospitals or other healthcare settings; however, it is
becoming more common in the community setting. Data from a prospective study in
2003, suggests that 12% of clinical MRSA infections are community-associated,
but this varies by geographic region and population.
· What does a staph or MRSA infection look like?
Staph bacteria, including MRSA, can cause skin infections
that may look like a pimple or boil and can be red, swollen, painful, or have
pus or other drainage. Many people
think it is a spider bite. More
serious infections may cause pneumonia, bloodstream infections, or surgical
· Are certain people at increased risk for
community-associated staph or MRSA infections?
(Center for Disease Control) has investigated clusters of CA-MRSA skin
infections among athletes, military recruits, children, Pacific Islanders,
Alaskan Natives, Native Americans, men who have sex with men, and prisoners.
· How can I prevent staph or MRSA skin
Practice good hygiene:
your hands clean by washing thoroughly with soap and water or using an
alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
cuts and scrapes clean and covered with a bandage until healed.
contact with other people’s wounds or bandages.
sharing personal items such as towels or razors.
· Can I get a staph or MRSA infection at my
In the outbreaks of MRSA, the environment has not played a
significant role in the transmission of MRSA. MRSA is transmitted most
frequently by direct skin-to-skin contact. You can protect yourself from
infections by practicing good hygiene (e.g., keeping your hands clean by washing
with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand rub and showering after
working out); covering any open skin area such as abrasions or cuts with a clean
dry bandage; avoiding sharing personal items such as towels or razors; using a
barrier (e.g., clothing or a towel) between your skin and shared equipment; and
wiping surfaces of equipment before and after use.
· What should I do if I think I have a staph or
Make an appointment at Women Physicians.
It is important to be diagnosed and treated appropriately.
· Are staph and MRSA infections treatable?
Yes. Most staph and MRSA infections are treatable with
antibiotics. If you are given an antibiotic, take all of the doses, even if the
infection is getting better, unless your doctor tells you to stop taking it. Do
not share antibiotics with other people or save unfinished antibiotics to use at
However, many staph skin infections may be treated by
draining the abscess or boil and may not require antibiotics. Drainage of skin
boils or abscesses should only be done by a healthcare provider.
If after visiting your healthcare provider the infection
is not getting better after a few days, contact them again. If other people you
know or live with get the same infection tell them to go to their healthcare
· Is it possible that my staph or MRSA skin
infection will come back after it is cured?
Yes. It is possible to have a staph or MRSA skin infection
come back (recur) after it is cured. To prevent this from happening, follow your
healthcare provider’s directions while you have the infection, and follow the prevention
steps after the
infection is gone.
· If I have a staph, or MRSA skin infection,
what can I do to prevent others from getting infected?
You can prevent spreading staph or MRSA skin infections to
others by following these steps:
1. Cover your wound.
Keep wounds that are draining or have pus covered with clean, dry bandages.
Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions on proper care of the wound.
Pus from infected wounds can contain staph and MRSA, so keeping the infection
covered will help prevent the spread to others. Bandages or tape can be
discarded with the regular trash.
2. Clean your hands. You, your family, and
others in close contact should wash their hands frequently with soap and warm
water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially after changing the
bandage or touching the infected wound.
3. Do not share personal items. Avoid
sharing personal items such as towels, washcloths, razors, clothing, or uniforms
that may have had contact with the infected wound or bandage. Wash sheets,
towels, and clothes that become soiled with water and laundry detergent. Drying
clothes in a hot dryer, rather than air-drying, also helps kill bacteria in
Talk to your doctor. Tell any healthcare providers who treat you that you have or had a staph or MRSA skin infection.
The internet is an incredible boon to all of us.
In fact, most of you are reading this newsletter via the internet.
When it comes to health information, googling your favorite search engine
may produce thousands of results. How
can you tell which are reliable sources of information and which may be
unscientific and untrustworthy? Fortunately
the National Institute of Health and the National Library have provided
consumers with some excellent guidelines. We
at Women Physicians urge you to take the tutorial or read through the
recommendations the next time you have a health topic you would like to
The following suggestions
come from the Medical Library Association:
familiar with the general health information finding tools such as MEDLINEPIus
(http://www.medlineplus.gov), produced by the National Library of Medicine, or Healthfinder ®
(http://www.healthfinder.gov) from the US Department of Health and Human
Services, which can get you started by pointing you to good, credible health
information quickly. The Medical Library Association's "Top Ten" list
(see their website) is another device to help you start your search with a
highly selective list of quality health information sites trusted by medical
· When you have found sites that look relevant,
use the guidelines below to help you decide whether the information is as
credible, timely, and useful as it looks.
you easily identify the site sponsor? Sponsorship is important because it helps
establish the site as respected and dependable. Does the site list advisory
board members or consultants? This may give you further insights on the
credibility of information published on the site.
Web address itself can provide additional information about the nature of the
site and the sponsor's intent. A
government agency has .gov
in the address.
An educational institution is indicated by .edu
in the address. A professional
organization such as a scientific or research society will be identified as
.org. For example, the American Cancer Society's Website is http://www.cancer.org/. Commercial
sites identified by .com will most often identify the sponsor as a company, for
example Merck & Co., the pharmaceutical firm.
should you know about .com health sites? Commercial sites may represent a
specific company or be sponsored by a company using the Web for commercial
reasons—to sell products. At the same time, many commercial Websites have
valuable and credible information. Many hospitals have .com in their address.
The site should fully disclose the sponsor of the site, including the identities
of commercial and noncommercial organizations that have contributed funding,
services, or material to the site.
site should be updated frequently. Health information changes constantly as new
information is learned about diseases and treatments through research and
patient care. Websites should reflect the most up-to-date information..
The Website should have the date of the latest revision clearly posted.
This usually appears at the bottom of the page.
should be presented in a clear manner. It should be factual (not opinion) and
capable of being verified from a primary information source such as the
professional literature, abstracts, or links to other Web pages.
Information represented as an opinion should be clearly stated and the
source should be identified as a qualified professional or organization.
should clearly state whether the information is intended for the consumer or the
health professional. Many health
information Websites have two different areas - one for consumers, one for
professionals. The design of the site should make selection of one area over the
other clear to the user.
Information on this website is for educational and reference purposes only and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice.
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Women Physicians Gyn Medical Group