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June 2008 Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource Highlights Shingles Vaccine for Pain Prevention, Tips to Avoid Antibiotic Resistant Infections, and Benefits of Broad Genetic Testing
Date:6/24/2008

nd those with allergies to gelatin, the antibiotic neomycin or any component of the shingles vaccine. The vaccine is an option for people who've had shingles and at least one year has passed since the last episode.

The vaccine costs can range from $150 to $300. Private insurance coverage varies. The vaccine is covered under the Medicare Part D drug benefit.

Nasty Superbugs

Tips to avoid antibiotic-resistant infections

Superbugs -- bacteria that are resistant to many commonly used antibiotics -- can seem scary. Antibiotic resistance means illnesses last longer, and the risk of complications and death increases.

Many factors have contributed to the emergence of superbugs, including overuse and misuse of antibiotics. One superbug, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), has been a problem in health care settings for years. In this environment, the bacteria is spread from one patient to another via the hands of care providers or by contaminated equipment.

Increasingly, MRSA is appearing outside of hospitals and is a growing threat. It can cause serious skin and soft tissue infections and a form of pneumonia. Clusters of MRSA skin infections have surfaced in certain groups of people, including athletes, children and members of the military. Risk factors in these groups include close contact, shared equipment that isn't cleaned, cuts on the skin, crowded living conditions, contaminated clothes or towels, and poor hygiene.

The June issue of Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource offers tips to avoid superbugs:

Wash your hands: This simple procedure, done properly, remains the best defense. Carry alcohol-based hand sanitizers for times when hand washing isn't possible.

Keep personal items personal: Don't share towels, soap, sheets, razors, clothing or athletic equipment.

Sanitize linens: If you have a cut or abrasion, wash towels and sheets with hot water and added bleach. Wash gym and athletic clot
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SOURCE Mayo Clinic
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