Two days after your last training session, you notice a small pimple-like lesion on your forearm. It’s just a small bump, you think. Two more days pass, and now you have more little bumps and your forearm is tender. You assume it’s just a rash, until six days later you find yourself in the emergency room with a Staph infection that now requires hospitalization.
Almost everyone involved in MMA knows someone who has been affected by Staph, but many people do not know how or why it happened. Staph (Staphylococcus Aureus) is a bacterial infection that enters the skin and starts to multiply, causing abscesses, severe inflammation, and even toxic shock. Sources for Staph include infected training partners or tainted contact surfaces, such as wrestling mats, dirty clothes, and locker rooms.
Although your body has defenses for infections, sometimes Staph spreads too rapidly, causing multiple lesions and boils. It also causes redness and tenderness (multiple exothermic and toxic reactions) . If Staph is not treated, the infection can move to other par ts of the body, including multiple skin areas, bones, or even the bloodstream, which results in sepsis and can cause death.
The major problem with Staph infections is that they tend to be very contagious and sometimes the infection may be resistant to some antibiotics, such as Methicillin Resistant Staph Aureus (MRSA). When this bacterium becomes resistant, conventional antibiotics do not work. MRSA require hospitalization and intravenous antibiotics.
PREVENTION: THE BEST MEDICINE
Most Staph infections can be reduced in duration and severity, or in the ideal scenario, prevented. The key is to take the proper precautions and be aware of early signs and symptoms. Remember to:
WEAR PROPER ATTIRE
Wear long-sleeve rash guards. With less exposed skin, the chance of infection lessens.
Be sure your gym has a regular cleaning schedules. Once a day is not enough.
Bathe with an antibacterial soap and hot water as soon as practice ends.
Look for any signs of lesions or areas of redness on yourself and your training partners.
TREAT SMALL CUTS
Topical antibiotics and antiseptics can help you heal quickly and reduce the chance that Staph enters your body.
SEE A DOCTOR
If you notice an unusual pimple, see your doctor immediately. The earlier your get proper treatment, the less complicated the infection will become and the less probable you will need hospitalization.