(BPT) - In the winter, we tend to be in closer quarters indoors and constantly around friends and family. It is important to be conscious of infectious diseases, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which are spreading rapidly among public places like gyms and schools. MRSA prevention should continue at home, especially for groups at higher risk, like student athletes.
Taking simple measures at home and on-the-go can help you to protect and safeguard your health, environment and family from dangerous bacteria and viruses, including MRSA, this season. Clorox teamed up with Jeanine Thomas, MRSA survivor and founder of MRSA Survivors Network; former NFL player Brandon Noble, who has been personally affected by MRSA; and Saskia v. Popescu, hospital epidemiologist and infection preventionist, to share the following expert tips:
1. Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 15 seconds — the time it takes to sing "Happy Birthday" twice — or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. “Winter is a prime season for stomach bugs and diarrheal illness, so it’s important to stay vigilant with hand hygiene,” said Popescu. Be extra cautious in public settings like gyms, locker rooms, households and schools, where these viruses are increasingly spreading.
2. Keep to yourself and do not share personal items, such as towels or razors, which contact bare skin. MRSA is easily spread by skin-to-skin contact or touching contaminated items or surfaces. It is also resistant to many antibiotics, making it difficult to treat.
3. Act fast and take care of cuts and open wounds by covering them up with a clean, dry bandage until healed. Seek a medical professional if the wound worsens or doesn’t heal quickly. “When I contracted MRSA, it changed my life. I had no idea such a disease existed and would pose as a threat to my career, health and overall well-being,” said Noble.
4. Use a barrier, such as a towel or clothing, between skin and shared equipment at the gym. MRSA prevention should continue at home, especially for groups at higher risk like student athletes, as MRSA bacteria can remain on surfaces after someone touches them, making it possible for someone else to pick them up.
5. Regularly clean countertops and other surfaces in your home. “Keeping your germs at bay in the kitchen is easy,” said Thomas. “Just mix 1/2 cup bleach with one gallon of water, wipe surfaces and leave solution on for 5 minutes and then rinse.” The CDC recommends disinfecting surfaces which are likely to contact skin with an EPA-registered disinfectant, like Clorox Regular Bleach with Cloromax.
MRSA is one common superbug that can be potentially deadly. Caused by a type of staph bacteria often found on the skin and in the nose, MRSA is easily spread by skin-to-skin contact or touching contaminated items or surfaces. It is also resistant to many antibiotics, making it difficult to treat. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that there are 72,444 infections and 9,194 MRSA-related deaths each year in the U.S alone.
“In 2000, I had ankle surgery and ended up infected with the antibiotic-resistant bacteria MRSA. The infection spread to my bone marrow and bloodstream and required many surgeries and rehabilitation,” said Thomas. “Since then I have been dedicated to advocating for patients and families to help inform them and bring awareness of the disease and prevention measures to the general public.”
“I wish I had known the simple ways to prevent the spread of this disease, like I do now, as that could have made all the difference,” said Noble. As germs and illnesses spread quickly, especially in close-proximity areas, taking proactive steps to prevent common viruses and bacteria from spreading in the home, at schools and in locker rooms is more important than ever. Learn more on how to prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria, such as MRSA, at Clorox.com.
Bacterial Vaginosis: One in Three U.S. Women Have Been Affected by This Vaginal Infection That Can Have Serious Health Risks If Left Untreated
(BPT) - Over the course of their lives, many women experience symptoms of a vaginal infection, which can often be uncomfortable and confusing. What they may not know is that what they’re experiencing could be symptoms of bacterial vaginosis (BV) – one of the most prevalent gynecologic infections in the U.S., affecting 21 million women ages 14 to 49 annually.  It’s important for women to educate themselves about BV so they can best protect themselves from the associated health risks.
Caused by changes in the amount of certain types of bacteria in your vagina, BV can develop when your vagina has more harmful bacteria than good bacteria.  Common signs and symptoms associated with BV include unusual vaginal discharge that can be white or gray; watery; or have a strong fish-like odor.  These symptoms can easily be confused with those of a yeast infection. While discharge from a yeast infection may also be white or gray, it can look like cottage cheese, which is a key differentiator. 
“About thirty percent of reproductive age women have or have had BV. Left untreated, BV can have an impact on quality of life and increases the potential for other more serious health problems,” said Paul Nyirjesy, MD, Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, PA and an investigator in the Solosec™ clinical trials.
Who Does BV Affect?
One in three women have been affected by BV, impacting more than 21 million in the U.S. each year, but only four million are treated annually. BV is most common among women ages 14 to 49; however, women of any age can get BV, even if they have never had sex. That said, having a new sex partner or multiple sex partners can upset the balance of bacteria in the vagina and this places a woman at an increased risk. Pregnant women are also susceptible to BV and it’s especially important that they receive treatment for the safety of their unborn baby. [1,2]
What Are the Risks?
According to the Centers for Disease and Control (CDC), if BV is left untreated, women are at risk for serious health concerns, including an increased risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, trichomaniasis and HIV; an increased risk of pre-term birth or low birth weight for pregnant women; and pelvic inflammatory disease. If you think you have BV, be sure to visit your healthcare provider to get tested and treated, as BV can only be treated with a prescription antibiotic. It’s important to take all the medicine prescribed to you, even if your symptoms go away. 
A New Treatment Option
Currently, the most commonly prescribed oral BV treatment regimen requires twice-a-day dosing for seven days and adherence with the leading therapies has been shown to be only approximately 50 percent.  Additionally, 60 percent of women treated for BV will likely have a recurrence within 12 months. 
Recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Solosec™ (secnidazole) 2g oral granules is the first and only single-dose oral therapy for BV in adult women. It offers women a one-time treatment option that can be taken any time of the day, with or without a meal. Solosec™ is clinically proven to normalize BV symptoms, odor and discharge, without the use of creams or week-long oral regimens. In clinical studies, the most common adverse events were (incidence ≥ 2%) yeast infection, headache, nausea, altered taste, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and vaginal itching. 
To learn more about this new treatment option, visit www.solosec.com.
What is SOLOSEC?
SOLOSEC™ (secnidazole) 2g oral granules is a prescription medicine used to treat bacterial vaginosis in adult women.
Important Safety Information
Please click here for full Prescribing Information.
1. Koumans E.H., Sternberg M, Bruce C, et al. (2007): “The Prevalence of Bacterial Vaginosis in the United States, 2001-2004: Associations with Symptoms, Sexual Behaviors, and Reproductive Health.” Sex Transm Dis. 34(11): 864-869.
3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Genital / Vulvovaginal Candidiasis (VVC) – Fungal Diseases. 2014.
4. IMS Health, 2014.
5. Bilardi J.E., Walker S, Temple-Smith M, et al. (2013): “The Burden of Bacterial Vaginosis: Women’s Experience of the Physical, Emotional, Sexual and Social Impact of Living with Recurrent Bacterial Vaginosis.” PLoS ONE. 8(9): 1-11.
6. Solosec [Package Insert]. Newark, NJ: Symbiomix Therapeutics, LLC.
IMAGE CAPTIONS: ------------------------------------------- Caption 1: One in three women have been affected by BV, impacting more than 21 million in the U.S. each year. 
(BPT) - Val Bias' entire life changed when he heard the loud noise come from the bathroom. The year was 1988, but Bias remembers the moment like it was yesterday. He ran to the bathroom and found the door blocked. He pushed and finally forced the door open. Inside he found Katie, his wife, lying on the floor. She had suffered a seizure, so Bias picked her up and took her to the hospital.
That day, Katie was diagnosed with a tumor. She was given six months to live.
As tragic as this turn of events was for the couple, it was only the beginning. When doctors rushed to remove the tumor, Katie’s immune system flattened out. That’s when they learned the tumor was only one of the medical challenges she faced. Katie also had HIV, a disease she had gotten from her husband.
A life with hemophilia
For his entire life, Bias has lived with hemophilia. At the time of his birth, every male member of his family with hemophilia had already died. He remembers being in fourth grade and finding the hemophilia section in his new text book. As he read the text, he learned that the average life expectancy for someone with hemophilia was 20 years. At age 10, Bias realized he had already lived half of his life.
More than three million Americans have a bleeding disorder, such as hemophilia, von Willebrand disease or rare factor deficiencies. These diseases prevent the blood from clotting normally, can result in extended bleeding after injury, surgery or trauma, and can be fatal if not treated effectively. Because of this, people with hemophilia depend heavily on clotting factor replacement therapy derived from either human blood or made in the lab. It was through an infusion of clotting factor concentrate derived from human plasma that Bias contracted HIV and hepatitis C.
From the late 1970s to the mid-1980s – prior to more stringent blood safety measures and more sensitive tests – HIV (and hepatitis C and hepatitis B) from infected blood donors made its way into blood products. As a result, nearly half of all people with hemophilia became infected with HIV, many developed AIDS and thousands died. An unknown number of their partners contracted HIV, as well. People like Katie.
When doctors discovered Katie’s tumor, they gave her six months to live. She held on another four years, passing away in April, 1992. She declined day-by-day, and when she became too weak to continue her work in advertising, her coworkers assumed she had cancer. Learning of this misconception, Katie returned to tell them the truth.
“That’s true courage,” Bias remembers. “I’d like to say I had that same courage at the time, but that wouldn’t be true. I was running a large before- and after-school program at the local YMCA and was concerned that, if I revealed my diagnosis, I might lose my job. We needed my income, so I remained silent.”
Katie however did not. She demanded Bias never blame himself for what happened to her and in her final days, she placed three expectations on him. “She said, ’Remarry, have kids and fight to live your life.'”
Bias heeded her advice. He married a wonderful woman named Robin and together they adopted a boy named Langston. And he began to fight.
Taking the Red Tie Challenge
The year Katie died, Bias attended the National Hemophilia Foundation’s (NHF) annual meeting and was elected chairman of the board. “We began a crusade to help people who developed HIV from tainted blood products,” he remembers. The work culminated in the passage of the Ricky Ray Hemophilia Relief Act of 1998. Ten years later, in 2008, Bias became NHF's CEO.
"In recent years, under NHF's leadership, great strides have been made in treatment, public policy and advocacy for the bleeding disorders community," says Bias. "So to ensure that momentum continues, NHF has created the Red Tie Challenge. It's fun—because it lets you be creative and silly—and it's important—because, by donating to NHF or to our chapters, you become part of the fight against bleeding disorders."
According to Bias, the red tie is the community's symbol and the Red Tie Challenge challenges you to get creative in wearing a red tie in three, easy steps: (1) Make a donation at www.RedTieChallenge.org; (2) Get a red tie, then record and share your best red tie style with #RedTieChallenge; and (3) Challenge your friends to join you in the fight.
To learn more, visit www.RedTieChallenge.com.
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