Health Buzz: Dogs May Spread MRSA and Other Health News

Making snacks part of a healthful diet, and keeping kids out of the ER this "trauma season"

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MRSA Infections May Spread From Man to Man's Best Friendand Back Again

Bacteria known as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus , or MRSA, can cause painful skin infections in people. And increasingly, MRSA is showing up in pets, too, BBC News reports. A review of studies in July's Lancet Infectious Diseases showed that humans carrying the bacteria can spread it to a dog, cat, or even horse. MRSA skin infections could then be transmitted from pets to other people. One expert who spoke to the news organization said animal bites are a likelier cause of MRSA infections in people. Even an uninfected animal could cause an infection in a person, because MRSA bacteria can be present on the skin of healthy people and could get into and infect a bite wound. 

MRSA infections among children are on the rise, according to research released in January. The increasing threat to children compounds a trend toward more community-based MRSA infections; MRSA was previously observed primarily among prisoners, nursing home residents, and chronically ill patients, the researchers noted. Here's how to reduce the risk of MRSA infections in kids

Can Snacks Be Part of a Healthful Diet?

If you're trying to lose or maintain weight, should you snack or not? Snacking appears to be neither significantly better nor worse for you, biologically speaking, than not eating between meals, U.S. News's Katherine Hobson reports. While eating more meals per day may have a favorable impact on blood glucose and insulin levels, the effect isn't strong enough to promote weight control, says one expert. But most people may be better off eating more often, like every three to four hours. Snacks may even lower the chances dieters will feel deprived and, in turn, lower their chances of overeating.

The key is that snacks have to be appropriately sized, Hobson reports. An appropriate snack in a typical 2,000-calorie-a-day diet is about 150 to 200 calories. For tips on how to snack and what to eat, Hobson lists 10 healthful snacks that won't break the calorie bank. She also discusses why you should consider eating smaller meals.

Summer Safety: 8 Reasons Kids End up in the ERand How to Prevent It

Summer is known in the medical business as "trauma season." Because of unintentional injuries, U.S. children ages 14 and under made more than 2.4 million emergency room visits in the summer of 2004, the latest summer for which data are available. Those injuries resulted in 2,143 deaths, according to a report by Safe Kids Worldwide. There are distinct patterns to summer accidents, and many could be easily prevented, U.S. News's Sarah Baldauf reports. After talking to experts, she has compiled a list of some common trauma-season causes of unintentional injury to kids that include drowning, bike accidents, and trampoline injuries—along with simple ways to avert such disasters.

Study findings released earlier this month showed that one third of children in the United States live more than an hour away by ground or air transport from a pediatric trauma center, an amount of time that could prove deadly in the event of a serious injury. Learn these leading causes of summertime head injuries and ways to prevent them. And consider how swimming lessons keep toddlers from drowning.

Megan Johnson

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