Skin infections and damage can have profound effects on the health of student athletes.
Open wounds, poor hygiene practices, close physical contact, and the sharing of towels and equipment commonly lead to the presence and spread of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, commonly referred to as MRSA, a bacterial infection that can be resistant to commonly used antibiotics.
Routine outdoor practices and competitions also expose student-athletes to intense sunlight, which can lead to eye damage, immune system suppression and skin cancer.
By raising awareness of the risks and taking proper precautions, we can reduce student-athletes’ risks of exposure skin issues.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is MRSA?
MRSA is methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a potentially dangerous type of staph bacteria that is resistant to certain antibiotics and may cause serious skin and other infections.
How do skin infections (MRSA) spread?
MRSA is spread by: having direct contact with another person’s infection; sharing personal items, such as towels or razors, that have touched infected skin; touching surfaces or items, such as used bandages and equipment, contaminated with MRSA.
What are the signs and symptoms of a staph (MRSA) skin infection?
Most staph skin infections, including MRSA, appear as a bump or infected area on the skin that may be: red; swollen; painful; warm to the touch; full of pus or other drainage; accompanied by a fever.
How can I prevent an infection?
If you see a spot, check the spot.
Know the signs of MRSA and get it treated early.
Keep cuts and scrapes clean and covered.
Encourage good hygiene such as cleaning hands regularly, regular showers, wash clothing and equipment.
Discourage sharing of personal items such as towels, razors, equipment.
What steps can I take to protect myself from sun exposure?
Apply a broad spectrum (UVA and UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher before going outdoors and reapply often.
Do not use tanning beds or other artificial sources of UV light.
Stay in the shade whenever possible and choose locations with shade for outdoor activities.
Wear protective clothing when outside.
Last Updated: January 17, 2014