Skin Infections: Information for Athletes and Families

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Skin infections can be passed between athletes by:

  • Direct skin-to-skin contact
  • Sharing sports equipment, clothes, and towels

The three most important skin infections are:

  • Staphylococcus aureus “Staph”
    Caused by: bacteria
    Typically: one or more painful sores, with pus surrounded by redness, sometimes associated with fever

  • Herpes
    Caused by: virus, the same virus that causes cold sores in the mouth
    Typically: one or more painful blisters  with clear fluid surrounded by redness

  • Tinea “Ringworm”
    Caused by
    : fungus
    Typically: itchy, dry, red, circular patches

Skin infections can lead to:

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

Prevent skin infections:

Wash hands:

  • Clean hands often with soap and water. Use alcohol hand rub if soap is not available and hands do not look dirty.

Shower:

  • Shower on site immediately after every practice and game. Use soap and warm water. Do not share towels.

Cover wounds:

  • Cover all breaks in skin with a water proof bandage. Change the bandage if it gets wet.

Wash clothes:

  • Wash clothes and towels after every practice and game. Use detergent and dry thoroughly.

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

Updated Wednesday, November 17, 2010 at 02:03PM