MRSA in Athletes
Prevention is Key
The following steps and action should be taken to avoid MRSA infections and outbreaks in athletes, private and school gyms and fitness centers.
All athletes should be informed about the risk of contracting a MRSA skin infection and what the signs are: swollen, painful or red bumps; it make look in the beginning like a bug bite or infected area of the skin. Athletes should clean the area, cover it with a dry bandage and seek a healthcare professional.
- The first line of defense is good hand hygiene; washing hands frequently with warm soapy water is best (it rinses off the spores) or using an alcohol-based hand gel or sanitizers, before and after workouts or practice.
- Do not share personal items such as soap, towels, razors, etc. and shower immediately after a practice or work out.
- It is advised not to touch the face during workouts or practice.
- Wash workout clothes or uniforms after each use in hot water (adding bleach) and preferably use a dryer.
- Athletes with skin-to-skin contact are at risk the most for MRSA infections. A minor cut, scrape, abrasion, etc. should be cleaned and covered immediately until it is healed. At-risk athletes in contact sports such as; football, basketball, wrestling, soccer, baseball, martial arts, etc. have a higher incident of MRSA infections.
- If the gym has alcohol-based or spray cleansers, wipe down the surface of area to be touched, i.e. seat, handlebars, levers, etc. before touching them and wipe down after use .
- When working out in the fitness center, do not put your towel, water bottle, cell phone, etc. on surfaces or equipment.
- When leaving a gym or fitness center clean your hands and do not touch any surface while leaving the gym or fitness center. Shower immediately when you reach home.