Welcome to Stay in the Game, a monthly blog where the team from The Queen's Health Systems share the latest tips on the treatment and prevention of sports injuries. We want to help you play hard and be well - a winning combination that will keep you in the game all season long.

Staph infections in sports

With the start of football and wrestling seasons comes increased risk of skin infections. One common type of infection is called a Staph infection. Learn more from Jonathan Rhine, MD, pediatric emergency medicine physician.

Staph infections are caused by a bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus) that can enter your body through breaks in the skin such as cuts, wounds, or hair follicles. Once inside, the bacteria spreads, causing pain, redness and drainage. These often need to be drained or treated with antibiotics. Certain Staph infections are resistant to common antibiotics and are termed MRSA. These require stronger antibiotics and can often return.

How do I get a staph infection?

Staph is spread through hand-to-hand contact or exposure to items that may have the bacteria on them. These can include improperly washed equipment/weights, used towels, razors, bars of soap, or other shared shower supplies. It can also be spread through unwashed gym bags or clothing. Open wounds or cuts increase the likelihood of infection.

How can I avoid staph infections?

Good hygiene is the key. Wash your hands well before and after games or practices. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers when soap is not available. Shower after games or practices. Do not share bars of soap, razors, or other shower supplies. Clean weights, equipment and clothes well prior to use. Clean and bandage wounds, and wash hands before and after changing bandages.

The After Hours Center at The Queen's Medical Center – West O'ahu provides Central and West O'ahu families with easy access to care for minor injuries and illnesses. The center is open daily and treats adults' and children's health conditions after their doctor's regular business hours. It's a convenient alternative to going to the Emergency Department for minor illnesses and injuries. Simply walk in, or call 808-691-3115 for more information.



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