As we watch the news and learn about the career-ending MRSA infection acquired by Daniel Fells of the NY Giants, it's scary to consider that your kid may be vulnerable to this potentially life-threatening bacteria. As a podiatrist who has treated many wounds and saved limbs, I wanted to let you know about the things you can do to keep your young athlete safe.
First, What Is MRSA?
MRSA stands for methicillin-resistant staph aureus. Methicillin was the antibiotic used to treat staph aureus in the past but now this new form is resistant to it making it much more difficult to treat and more dangerous to the person who gets it. MRSA is highly contagious and can be easily transmitted through body contact which is one of the reasons athletes in high contact sports such as football, basketball, and soccer need to be educated about it.
Fortunately, there are specific symptoms for young athletes and their parents to watch for and specific things that can be done to prevent it.
Symptoms of MRSA
The symptoms of MRSA include:
- Swollen, painful, red bumps
- Heat or warmth
- Pus or drainage from a wound
- More advanced signs are fever, chills, body aches, rash, or shortness of breath and can mean the infection has entered the bloodstream (be aware that some of these symptoms mimic the flu)
Prevention of MRSA in Young Athletes
- Good hand hygiene is extremely important. Kids should wash their hands before and after workouts and practice.
- Scrapes, cuts, and injuries should be washed thoroughly and bandaged.
- Kids should not share soap, towels, or razors.
- Athletes need to shower immediately after practice.
- Athletic equipment should be wiped down before and after use
If someone you know shows these signs and symptoms, contact your primary care physician immediately or call 911 if symptoms have advanced.
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