(Article contributed to LaxBuzz by Maria Dennis)
What is a staph or MRSA infection?
cause skin infections. The real danger happens if the staph bacteria have grown resistant to antibiotics. This type of staph is called “MRSA,” which stands for “Methicillan-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus.” Most manifest as pimples, rashes, or boils (accompanied by redness, swelling, pain, or pus-like drainage); however, pneumonia or bloodstream infections may occur. Because it is resistant to common antibiotics, MRSA can go one step further and cause even more serious illness, or even death. MRSA is becoming more common, especially in athletics and schools and, in fact, MRSA kills more people in this country than AIDS – a scary statistic!are bacteria commonly found on many healthy people’s skin without doing any harm, but sometimes the bacteria can make people sick or
How can you protect yourself from MRSA? The easiest way to prevent MRSA infections is to practice good sports hygiene. Super Clean, a Southern California sports equipment cleaning company, has designed a public awareness campaign to educate the athletic community about MRSA. Maria Dennis, co-owner of Super Clean and creator of the health campaign, felt that in order to prevent children from falling victim to a senseless and often brutal MRSA infection, people needed to be armed with information. “If you just follow these five simple rules as part of our ‘Hygiene Initiative For Sports’ or ‘H.I. Five Sports’ campaign, you will have taken important steps to safeguard yourself and those you love from MRSA,” Dennis states. The five rules are:
1. Wash your hands thoroughly and often.
2. Cover all scrapes, cuts or open wounds (so that bacteria cannot enter the body).
3. Do not share personal items (such as towels, bars of soap, razors).
4. Clean your protective equipment regularly (shoulder pads, gloves, helmets, arm pads, cleats).
5. Do not ignore the warning signs of illness (seek medical attention immediately).
“With regard to the fourth rule, we advise people to bring their gear to Super Clean (www.supercleangear.com) because we have convenient locations all over Southern California and our cleaning processes are proven to kill 99.9% of all bacteria, viruses, mold, and other pathogens that live in smelly lacrosse gear, but even if the athlete just airs out his gear, it is better than nothing because bacteria love to grow in dark, warm, moist places,” Dennis advises. And what about the smell? “When equipment smells, it means that bacteria have multiplied and are living inside and on the surface of the materials. That is your indicator that your gear needs to be disinfected.” For more information, visit http://www.supercleangear.com.
By educating yourself about MRSA and following the simple rules of “H.I. Five Sports”, you will be able to play and enjoy the great game of lacrosse without worrying about a staph or MRSA infection. For more information, please contact your healthcare professional.
Maria Dennis, a native of Connecticut, played varsity lacrosse in prep school at The Loomis Chaffee School in Windsor, CT and went on to play the sport for four years at Yale University. Dennis also played ice hockey and holds the all-time scoring record at Yale. While Dennis attended law school at Georgetown University, she won a Silver Medal as a member of the US women’s national ice hockey team which competed in the World Championships held in Ottawa, Ontario in 1990. She currently resides in Los Angeles, where she practices law, coaches youth sports, and operates Super Clean.