Increased Skin Infections in Team Sports

There is a heightened risk of spreading methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in team sports, according to a recent report by Dermatology Times. Also known as golden staph, MRSA is the most common cause of staph infections. It is a spherical bacterium, frequently living on the skin or in the nose of a person and can cause a range of illnesses from minor skin infections, such as pimples, impetigo, boils, cellulitis folliculitis, furuncles, carbuncles, scalded skin syndrome and abscesses, to life-threatening diseases such as pneumonia, meningitis, osteomyelitis endocarditis, toxic shock syndrome and septicemia.

According to the report, team sports present an increased risk for developing skin conditions in contrast to sports that are more individualistic. Athletes participating in team sports, therefore, should be closely monitored. Should those athletes present with acne, cold sores, etc., they should be checked for staph. In addition to monitoring the skin conditions of athletes, equipment must also be closely monitored and well-sanitized.

Other sanitary precautions must be taken by team managers, according to the report, including mandatory post-practice showering, wearing open-toe shoes, frequent changing of socks and regular cleaning of clothes.These steps are said to minimize the potential to spread fungi and other diseases. Should athletes present with a secondary infection, the report recommends that the athletes not practice for fear of transferring the infection to other places. The report points out that careful attention should be paid to athletes who present with atopic dermatitis. Their skin dries out easily, fissures and cracks, making them more susceptible to ringworm and other skin infections.

-Adapted from Dermatology Times

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