Dojo:   Amity Harbor   Yin yang dojo b   Mt. Kisco

Infection Prevention in the Dojo

by Jeannine Sesack

What is MRSA?

MRSA is methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a potentially dangerous type of staph bacteria that is resistant to certain antibiotics and may cause skin and other infection. As with all regular staph infections, recognizing the signs and receiving treatment for MRSA skin infections in the early stages reduces the chances of the infection becoming severe. MRSA is spread by:

  • Having direct contact with another person’s infection
  • Sharing personal items, such as towels or razors that have touched infected skin
  • Touching surfaces or items, such as used bandages, contaminated with MRSA

What are the signs and symptoms of MRSA?

Most staph infections, including MRSA, appear as a bump or infected area on the skin that may be:

  • Red
  • Swollen
  • Painful
  • Warm to the touch
  • Full of pus or other drainage
  • Accompanied by a fever

How are MRSA skin infections treated?

Treatment for MRSA skin infections may include having a healthcare professional drain the infection and, in some cases, prescribe antibiotic. Do not attempt to drain the infection yourself- doing so could worsen or spread it to others. If you are given an antibiotic, be sure to take all of the doses (even if the infection is getting better), unless your healthcare provider tells you to stop taking it.

How to prevent spreading MRSA if you have MRSA?

  • Get medical care for your infection. Do not try to treat it yourself.
  • Cover your wounds. Keep wounds covered with clean, dry bandages until healed. Follow your healthcare provider's instructions on proper care of the wound. Pus from infected wounds can contain MRSA so keeping the infection covered will help prevent the spread to others. Bandages and tape can be thrown away with the regular trash.
  • Clean your hands often. You, your family, and others in close contact should wash their hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand rub, especially after changing the bandage or touching the infected wound.
  • Do not share personal items. Personal items include towels, washcloths, razors, clothing, and uniforms. Wash used sheets, towels, and clothes with water and laundry detergent. Use a dryer to dry clothes completely.

Why is MRSA is spread among athletes?

In athletes, MRSA might spread more easily because they:

  • Have repeated skin-to-skin contact.
  • Get breaks in the skin such as cuts and abrasions that if left uncovered allow MRSA to enter and cause infection.
  • Share items and surfaces that come into direct skin contact.
  • Have inadequate access to hygiene measures.

Athletes most at risk

Skin infections including MRSA have been reported in athletes mostly in high-physical-contact sports such as wrestling, football, and rugby. However, MRSA infections have been reported among athletes in other sports such as soccer, basketball, field hockey, volleyball, rowing, martial arts, fencing, and baseball. Even though little physical contact occurs in some sports during participation, skin contact or activities that may lead to spread of MRSA skin infections may take place before or after participation, such as in the locker room. Therefore, anyone participating in organized or recreational sports should be aware of the signs of possible skin infections and follow prevention measures.

For more information, please call 1-800-CDC-INFO or visit www.cdc.gov/MRSA.

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