Ohio's Mercy Health shares what you need to know about staph infection

Paul Krasinic

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Lorain, OH - Fall is coming and that means the sports season is near. For weeks, if not months, plenty of student-athletes have been grinding in the field. They have been honing their skills and physique to make sure everyone is in top condition when it’s game day.

However, not many people know that there might be something waiting in the locker room that can create a health risk.

According to Gil Palmer, MD, MBS, a chief clinical officer at Mercy Health – Lorain, Staph is actually very commonly transmitted day-to-day in the gym, locker room scenarios, or sporting events.

Gyms and locker rooms are two of the busiest places with a lot of individuals leaving bodily fluids behind. As a result, these areas are a hotspot for staph infections.

Staphylococcus bacteria produce staph infections. Hand-to-hand and skin-to-skin contact, as well as touching contaminated objects like a football or free weight, can transmit them about.

Staph bacteria come in a variety of strains, ranging from simple skin infections to more dangerous kinds such as MRSA, which are antibiotic-resistant. These infections are most typically reported among athletes in activities with a lot of physical contacts, such as wrestling or football, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Dr. Palmer stated that the most common thing we'll see will be an abscess or boil on the skin, maybe with some redness or swelling, when that happens, that’s when we need to go see the doctor and get on some antibiotics potentially.

Dr. Palmer, also advises that if a staph infection isn't treated and spreads to other parts of the body, it can lead to catastrophic consequences.

Although it may be hard to maintain all locker rooms spotless, there are numerous techniques to prevent staph infections from spreading. Effective personal hygiene such as showering after exercise, handwashing regularly, and washing your uniform after each game can help prevent staph infection according to CDC. It's also crucial to take care of any cuts or scratches by sterilizing and covering them so that they don't become staph entry spots.

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