NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — With fall sports like football and wrestling in full swing, there’s a wake up call for schools and parents on preventing superbug infections in student athletes.
The nation’s pediatricians have issued new guidelines to help keep players safe.
As CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez reported, it used to be that we only saw antibiotic resistant germs in hospitals and nursing homes.
Now, those infections have spread to households, childcare centers, and especially school athletic facilities.
Superbugs, commonly referred to as MRSA, and other infectious agents love warm, sweaty locker rooms and athletic equipment.
Athletic trainer Anais Mixson makes sure the mats at Neptune High School are wiped clean with antibacterial solution every night. She knows it’s a vital step in preventing potentially life-threatening infections.
“If we don’t take the proper precautions, if we skip steps, that’s where we’re going to see athletes who will have infections that could possibly last them the rest of their life,” she said. “Infections diseases that we can never see, including MRSA, herpes, athlete’s foot.”
Now, a report from the American Academy of Pediatrics offers new guidelines to prevent the spread of infectious diseases among student athletes and treat them appropriately.
“We want to bring focus to the doctor in the office, the athlete and the parent and tot he people who are running sporting events,” Dr. Stephen Rice, Director of Sports Medicine at Jersey Shore Medical Center said.
Infections are especially common in close contact sports such as football and wrestling.
Experts say student athletes need to learn proper personal hygiene, should wipe down equipment before and after every use, and never share personal items like towels or equipment that’s been in contact with skin.
From the gym, to the weight room, to the locker room, Neptune High is doing all it can to keep germs at bay.
“If they’re not going home and showering after practice, or they’re not washing their workout clothes, then those are things that are going to spread infections,” Mixson said.
Roughly 10 to 15 percent of injuries that sideline college athletes are related to infectious disease.
The guidelines also cover less deadly problems like athlete’s foot and jock itch, and also means having vaccinations up to date.
It’s also important to clean and bandage daily any cuts or scrapes. Any wound that gets red, swollen, or hot should be seen by a doctor immediately.