Football season brings with it an excitement that’s contagious–the cheering crowds, an excuse to savor a good old fashioned hot dog, crisp fall evenings, and for young players and their families, the thrill of the game…And, unfortunately, a few health-related risks that come along with it. Fortunately for young athletes, the sports community has become better educated about long-term injury risks. You’ve probably read extensively about how to prevent head injuries since they’ve made headlines.
Another type of football injury needs attention, too: Injuries to skin. Any trauma to skin can be a gateway to infection. At CLn Skin Care, one of our focuses is giving parents the tools they need to prevent unfortunate skin infections athletes are prone to, such as athlete’s foot, ringworm, jock itch and less common but more serious infections like staph and MRSA.
The great news is that these infections are preventable with the right defense strategy. Here’s what you need to know:
Strategy #1: Shower Smart
Shower within one hour of football or other strenuous activities. Use a high-performance cleanser like CLn SportWash. It is designed for skin that encounters abrasions, skin-to-skin contact on the field, weights and other equipment in the gym where microbes can spread, and locker room showers.
Going barefoot in the locker room is a major no-no. So sandals are essential for keeping athlete’s foot at bay. CLn Hand & FootWash can also be used for feet prone to infection.
Strategy #2: Clean Equipment Effectively
To prevent your kid’s sports gear from becoming a breeding ground for bacteria, use this checklist:
Keep it Dry.
Make sure equipment doesn’t get thrown in the back of a closet or locker. Let it dry out where the air is well-circulated indoors or on a clothes line.
Keep it Clean.
Sportswear that can be washed in the machine should be. Turn it inside out and wash on the delicate cycle, then let it hang dry.
Keep it Sanitary.
For equipment that can’t be tossed into the machine, use an anti-odor spray that is also (this is important) a disinfectant. For equipment like cleats and helmets that get heavy wear but can’t be washed, consider investing in two sets so that one set can thoroughly dry out between practices and games.
Keep it to Yourself.
Never, ever let your kids share equipment. You cannot guarantee the cleanliness of another person’s pads, helmet, or towels. Every individual has a unique microbiome, and sharing supplies allows harmful bacteria to spread.
Strategy #3: Know the Signs of Skin Infections
If infection sneaks in despite your best efforts, act quickly. Also, do not hesitate to seek medical attention on the weekends or late at night; waiting too long in the face of an advancing infection can lead to very serious problems. Acne, folliculitis, ringworm, jock itch and athlete’s foot warrant an appointment with your doctor. If skin feels hot, shows signs of boils or red streaks, seek immediate care. Such symptoms are not common, but can signify significant infection. As a case-in-point–the Rams had a MRSA outbreak back in 2003. They quickly addressed the outbreak and informational posters (along with extensive fumigation) have helped keep the team infection-free for over a decade. Images of infection are not pleasant to see, but knowing what to look for could save you a lot of pain.
Strategy #4: Be a Team Player
Becoming a strong team player is an important skill that has lifelong benefits. For football players, this skill can mean so much more than learning to solve problems with others or handling success and loss well. Teaching your kids to protect their own skin can also help protect the skin of their fellow teammates. This strategy is one that can prevent an outbreak of an entire team and will allow everyone to focus on what they want—winning the game.
Disclaimer: The contents of this website are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice. The information, graphics, and images on this website are not intended to substitute diagnosis and/or treatment by a medical professional. These products have been clinically tested and proven to be safe for intended use. Always seek the advice of a physician with any questions you may have regarding a specific medical condition.