Q. I am concerned about my son, a wrestler, possibly getting a Staph infection from other athletes. How does someone catch it?
A. Staphylococcus Aureus (Staph) is a bacteria commonly carried on the skin or in the nose of healthy people. Methicillin-resistant Staph Aureus or MRSA is a type of Staph that is resistant to some of the antibiotics frequently used to treat infections. Sometimes Staph causes skin infections in healthy people which present as a pimple or boil. These areas appear red, swollen, may be painful and may be draining.
These infections are spread through direct contact with the lesion or contact with contaminated surfaces. People with breaks in the skin or skin conditions such as eczema, burns or scratches, and abrasions are more susceptible to infections.
Good personal hygiene goes a long way to prevent infection. Frequent proper hand washing or hand hygiene with a waterless product is still the single most effective way to stop the spread of infection. Cover any skin abrasions or wounds. Do not touch someone’s wounds or bandages.
In addition, teach teens not to share personal items such as towels or razors. Use barriers between your skin and gym equipment whenever possible and clean equipment before each use.