The CDC has specific guidelines for athletic facilities to reduce the chance of MRSA infection and promote proper hygiene. Along with personal hygiene, cleaning commonly touched surfaces and areas that come into direct contact with skin, sweat, or blood is imperative. Any shared equipment that comes into direct skin contact should be disinfected after each use.
Just as I promised, here are the infection control tips for athletes. These tips can be practiced in a sports locker room but are also useful for anyone.
- Pack a separate bag for the locker room with extra clothes, a plastic bag, flip flops for showering, your own personal toiletries, and towel.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water and/or use an alcohol based hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol, as recommended by the CDC.
- Keep all cuts and scrapes clean and covered with a bandage until healed.
- Avoid all contact with other people’s sweat, blood, wounds, and bandages.
- Wipe down facility equipment before and after use and avoid sharing any personal items or towels.
- Shower immediately after training and use your own toiletries and towels. If showering is not an option then change clothes and place training gear in a separate plastic bag ready for immediate wash.
- Wash and dry all training clothes after each session.
Tips for Proper Hand Hygiene
The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology and the Mayo Clinic have recommended very detailed hand washing protocols to eliminate germs and bacteria on hands.
- Wet your hands with running water and apply liquid pump soap. Lather your hands well by vigorously rubbing them together.
- Rub your hands together for at least 15 to 20 seconds.
- Inspect surfaces of hands and nails including the back of your hands, wrists, between your fingers, and under your fingernails.
- Rinse hands well.
- Dry your hands using a disposable paper towel or air blower.
- Use a disposable paper towel to turn off the faucet and open bathroom door.
- If no hand washing facilities are available use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, rubbing your hands together, covering all surfaces of your hands, including the back of your hands for at least 10 to 30 seconds.
Source: “MRSA Infections: Prevent Transmission in Your Gym” by Mindith Rahmat