Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a superbug that is known to be antibiotic resistant and potentially fatal if left untreated. It was once associated with health care settings, but now it is in our communities. One of the main hot spots for MRSA is your local gym. Preventing MRSA transmissions in gyms is critical, and many times your only defense against MRSA is knowledge.
Surprisingly enough, MRSA is a common bacteria, but it is mutating into L-Forms which are much more difficult to treat and far more likely to cause a repeat infection. Staphylococcus aureus may also cause life threatening illnesses to occur. Internal organs can become infected, and death is possible.
With MRSA being so hard to treat, you really have to consistently boost your immune system and take extra precautions. Even healthy people can spread the bacterium. As a matter of fact around 30% of today’s population have colonized staf with around 3% of these unsuspecting hosts carrying MRSA either on their skin or in their nasal passages.
What the New Studies Suggest
When the 2005 studies were done all indications were a rise in MRSA and MRSA related deaths. The Journal of American Medical Association done a study showing there was a decline in MRSA related deaths and overall infections from 2005 to 2008. It showed almost a 30% drop on average in medical settings and almost 20% in the communities. However, this study was primarily targeting healthcare facilities. Communal transmissions are not clear as far as the numbers provided in the study. They were estimated, and these cases were not thoroughly studied as the health care setting cases were.
Athletes are at a Higher Risk for MRSA
Full contact sports put athletes at a much higher risk for MRSA than everyday people. Some of the sports where MRSA is found to be a common problem are martial arts, football, professional MMA fighting, wrestling, rugby, soccer and others like them. Skin to skin contact increases the dangers by far. Even in the locker rooms MRSA is a risk. Don’t be fooled though, even yoga had had reports of MRSA.
Preventative Tips for MRSA and the Gym
Always have an extra set of clean clothing in your gym bag. Make sure you have brought along flip flops for the shower and a plastic bag for your dirty laundry as well. Bring your own towels, wash cloths and toiletries.
Be consistent with hand washing. Use hot soapy water. Have a hand sanitizer that you can carry with you easily. You will want it to have at least a 60% alcohol content, and if you are prone to dry skin carry a food moisturizing lotion as well. Dry skin with cracks can allow MRSA to enter your system, and this is what you want to avoid at all costs. Make sure you are laundering the clothing that you have worked out in after every use with hot soapy water followed by a thorough hot dry. If you can use bleach, that is great.
Any opening, cut, scrape, wound and so forth no matter how trivial it may be should be cleaned and well covered until it is completely well.
You must avoid all contact with other peoples sweat, wounds, blood and bandages. Clean gym equipment before using it and the shower as well. Never share personal items, and do not let anyone use your phone while you are at the gym. It is vital that you understand that MRSA can be transmitted through an infected person touching your belongings.
The key to preventing MRSA transmissions in the gym starts with each person taking the necessary precautions to avoid it all together.