Tips to Help Athletes Avoid Commonly Spread Infections


Athletes FootInfections can be minimized and avoided altogether if you take preventative action before problems start or get out of hand. One infection that often affects athletes is methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Athletes wind up with MRSA more often than non-athletes because they routinely have skin-to-skin contact with each other and get cuts and abrasions that allow the infection to invade their bloodstream. Individuals who play high-contact sports, such as rugby, football, and wrestling, are the ones who most often end up with this infection and others. If you play any contact sports, heed these tips to protect your health.

Pay Attention

You can nip infections in the bud if you pay attention when trouble is brewing. For example, notice these red flags:

  • Swelling
  • Pus
  • Redness
  • Warmth
  • Pain near cuts, abrasions, or sores

Don’t Touch

If you do notice any of the above, hands off! Do not try to resolve it by:

  • Popping the sore
  • Picking at it

Instead, cover the area with a bandage until you can see a nurse, physician, or athletic trainer.

Establish Good Personal Hygiene Habits

By establishing good personal hygiene habits, many germs can be snuffed out before they have a chance to take hold. Establish these routines:

  • Wash Hands: Use a good defense antibacterial soap with water to thoroughly scrub hands before and after an event. These soaps come in gels, bars, and barrier foams.
  • Use Wipes: For quick cleanups when water is not available, defense soap wipes can do the trick. These are convenient to carry in sports bags and keep in lockers.
  • Substitute Rubs and Sanitizers: If neither soap-and-water nor wipes are available, alcohol-based products with at least 60% alcohol can suffice.
  • Shower: After exercise, shower right away.
  • Launder Uniforms: It’s important to regularly launder uniforms, or they can become breeding grounds for contaminants. Using a dryer will further eradicate germs.

Don’t Share

It is important not to share personal hygiene products and linens that come into contact with your skin. For example, don’t share:

  • Soaps
  • Washcloths
  • Towels
  • Razors
  • Ointments
  • Clothing

If, despite all of your precautions, you still end up with an infection, it’s important to seek medical care as soon as possible. Treating infections yourself is not a good idea. Your doctor will be able to cure your malady, but in the meantime, remember to cover your wounds with bandages until they’re healed. Because the pus from open wounds can spread infections, properly dispose of bandages in the trash and thoroughly wash your hands as often as possible. By following these tips, you’ll be a healthier athlete.

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