Skin Infections - Minnesota Dept. of Health

Skin Infections

The three most important skin infections in athletes are:

  • Staphylococcus aureus “Staph”
    Staphylococcus aureus is a bacteria. Sometimes it is resistant to certain types of antibiotics and is called MRSA. Staph typically causes one or more painful sores, with pus surrounded by redness, sometimes associated with fever.
    • MRSA in Schools
      CDC, along with parents and school officials, wants to do everything possible to protect students from MRSA skin infections. These are commonly asked questions that will help parents and school officials prevent the spread of MRSA in schools. Attention: Non-MDH link
    • A Good Offense is Still the Best Defense!
      Staph prevention poster for athletes.
    • MRSA: Information for Coaches and Athletes
      Fact sheet with frequently asked questions about CA-MRSA for athletes and coaches.

  • Herpes gladiatorum
    Herpes is the same virus that causes cold sores in the mouth. Typically it causes one or more painful blisters with clear fluid surrounded by redness.

  • Tinea “Ringworm”
    Ringworm is a fungus on the skin. Typically it causes itchy, dry, red, circular patches. Attention: Non-MDH link

These infections can lead to:

  • Lost playing time
  • Wounds or rashes that keep coming back
  • Hair loss
  • Scarring, sometimes on face
  • Rarely, serious life-threatening infections if not treated quickly

Get it checked out. Don’t wait.

  • Report any skin problems to your athletic trainer, school nurse, coach, or health care provider.
  • Tell your health care provider you participate in competitive sports.
  • Check with league rules if you have questions about participation.

What are the risk factors for passing skin infections from one person to another?

  • Skin-to-skin contact
    • Wrestling and football are the sports with the most number of outbreaks.
    • Outbreaks have been reported among participants in many other sports .
  • Inadequate hand washing .
  • Sharing sweaty or dirty clothes, towels, or equipment.
  • Breaks in the skin, sores, or open wounds particularly if they are draining fluid and are not covered by a bandage that covers the entire wound.
  • Not showering after every practice or game.


Updated Wednesday, 15-Nov-2017 09:09:48 CST