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Fighters Guide to Fitness Hygiene

 

Benjamin Franklin once said “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”. This is especially true when talking about fitness hygiene. Whether you are a fitness enthusiast, a competitive athlete or a weekend warrior, if you are training, and sweating you need to be aware of hygiene.

 

The last thing anyone wants or probably thinks about is getting sidelined with an infection, whether it be minor or life threatening, majority of incidents can be prevented from proper hygiene practices. Athletes that deal with contact sports such as football, rugby, combat sports, etc. have to be even more aware and active about cleanliness. However everyone that trains and sweats is vulnerable to infections. Making informed decisions when it comes to choosing facilities, clothing, cleaning products and even creating routines are crucial.

Lets start with facilities. Health facilities whether we are talking about traditional weight lifting gyms, specialty facilities or smaller studios, etc. the follow criteria should be analyzed.

 

Do they have bathrooms?

Do they have showers?

Is there a cleaning staff?

How often is the equipment and facilities cleaned?

What products are used?

If it is a martial arts facility, how strict are they with the no outside shoes on the mat policy? Do you see people stepping off the mat barefoot and stepping back on without cleaning feet?

 

Personal Hygiene is also a key factor that everyone can control.

 

What soap are you using?

What material are your clothes?

What kind of laundry detergent are you using?

Do you shower after workouts?

What do you do with your clothes after a workout?

How often do you do laundry?

 

DO NOT

Walk around barefoot, especially if you train at a martial arts facility.  The only time you should be barefoot is either on the mats, or in the shower.

Train with an infection

Train with an open wound

 

How it works

Staph Infection

MRSA Staph Infection

Impetigo

Ring Worm

Athletes Foot

Folliculitis

Plantar Warts

 

What is MRSA Staph Infection?

MRSAThe MRSA Staph Infection is a type of staph skin infection caused by the Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (or MRSA) bacteria. First noticed in 1961 the MRSA bacteria developed as the commonly found S. Aureus bacteria developed resistance to the antibiotic Methicillin.

Since then the MRSA bacteria has evolved and many of its strains have become resistant to several antibiotics like penicillin, oxacillin, amoxicillin (Amoxil, Dispermox, Trimox), tetracycline (Sumycin), erythromycin (E-Mycin, Eryc, Ery-Tab, PCE, Pediazole, Ilosone), and clindamycin (Cleocin). Because of its resistance to many antibiotics MRSA is also called as the Superbug.

What are the signs and symptoms of MRSA infection?

Like most Staph Infections, the symptoms of MRSA Infection vary from redness of the skin to swelling and collection of pus in the affected areas. This may be accompanied by pain and as the infection becomes severe the patient may suffer from fever.

The collection of pus may be in form of Boils (pus-filled infections of hair follicles), Cellulitis (serious infection of the fat and tissues that lie immediately beneath the skin, usually starting as small red bumps in the skin), Abscesses (collections of pus in under the skin), Sty (infection of eyelid gland), Carbuncles (infections larger than an abscess, usually with several openings to the skin) or Impetigo (a skin infection with pus-filled blisters)

How an MMA Athlete or Other Contact Sport Athlete Prevent MRSA Infections?

Due to the nature of the sport MMA Athletes become more prone to skin diseases including MRSA Staph Infection. Preventing MRSA may seem a daunting task but these simple precautions can help reduce the risk:

  • Avoid close contact with skin, clothing, and any items that come in contact with anyone known to have MRSA.
  • Cover any skin breaks with band-aids as soon as possible.
  • Use excellent hygiene practices
  • Hand washing with soap after personal contact or toilet use.
  • Wash equipment and clothes after each practice, match or bout.
  • Use wipes to both clean hands and surfaces that may contact MRSA.
  • Use clean razors.

Click For more on How to Prevent MRSA

MRSA Infection Prevention and Treatment with Defense Soap

As fighter you should never sanitize your skin with synthetic chemicals before you train. The bacterium on your skin is your natural protection when you are training. Using products that contain triclosan, alcohol or other chemicals before you train makes you more susceptible to skin infections by killing the protection that nature has provided for you.

The Defense Soap Advantage

Defense Soap does not contain synthetic chemicals. Instead, it is formulated with 100% natural essential oils. These essential oils are known to have very powerful antibacterial, antiviral properties. Yet, they do not destroy all of the skin’s natural bacteria, as chemicals will. The healthy bacteria left behind continue to flourish and allows the skin to continue to protect itself from harmful pathogens.

Secondly, using soap as the delivery method makes perfect sense. Soap can penetrate every part of your body easily, simply, quickly and economically.

Defense Soap also has a line of Defense Wipes that can be used effectively when washing with soap is not possible. Check out the complete range of Hygiene Products from Defense Soap

Methods for Preventing MRSA

•    Maintain good hygiene. Wash your hands often with soap and warm water. Wash your body after training, never right before.

•    Clean and cover all cuts scrapes burns and wounds until healed.

•    Don’t share personal items such as, mouthpieces, headgear, towels and razors, shoes, pillows etc.

•    Seek medical care if you think you might have an infection. The earlier the better.

Screening programs

Patient screening upon hospital admission with nasal culture prevents the cohabitation of MRSA carriers with non-carriers, and exposure to infected surfaces. It is essential for preventing MRSA. In the United States and Canada, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidelines on 19 October 2006, cited the need for additional research, but declined to recommend such screening.

A report in the journal “Pediatrics” says 2.4% of healthy children may be carrying the staph infection “MRSA” in their nasal passage.

Surface sanitizing

Alcohol has been proven to be an effective surface sanitizer against MRSA. Quaternary ammonium can be used in conjunction with alcohol to extend the longevity of the sanitizing action. The prevention of MRSA and other nosocomial infections involves routine and terminal cleaning. Non-flammable Alcohol Vapor in Carbon Dioxide systems (NAV-CO2) do not corrode metals or plastics used in medical environments and do not contribute to antibacterial resistance.

Good Hygiene Herpes

It’s been estimated that 65% of people will be infected with the “mat” herpes virus by the time you are in your 40s. Mat Herpes a.k.a. herpes gladiatorium a.k.a. herpes simplex virus are all different names for the same type of skin infection (HSV-1). Herpes is a serious and contagious skin infection extremely prevalent in combat sports like wrestling, American football, rugby, sumo, BJJ ect. “Mat” herpes is a viral infection that is spread by direct contact from any part of the body. Herpes is contracted through tiny breaks in the skin or through moist areas. Symptoms may not appear for up to a month or more after the initial infection. It was first thought that transmission of the virus took place only during an active outbreak. In the early 1980s, it was found that the virus is still contagious and “shed” from the skin even in the absence of symptoms. It is estimated that between 50% and 80% of new HSV-2 cases are from asymptomatic viral shedding. It’s important to note that there is no cure for the infection so prevention is the key to be herpes free.

 

What is Impetigo?

Impetigo is a highly contagious bacterial skin infection. It’s caused by the Staphylococcus Aureus bacteria. While an Impetigo skin infection is more common among children, skin-to-skin contact athletes, like wrestlers and BJJ artists, are also susceptible.

Impetigo emerges when the bacteria enters through breaks in the skin.

Examples of breaks in the skin include:

•    Cuts
•    Scrapes
•    Burns
•    Abrasions
•    Insect bites
•    Open wounds

In many cases it may also affect the healthy skin.
As the infection develops it causes red sores which develop into blisters. These red sores are commonly mistaken for pimples. If you think you may have a Impetigo infection we recommend that a dermatologists examine the sore(s) for a more precise diagnosis.

 

What are the symptoms of an Impetigo skin infection?

Impetigo generally has a few common symptoms.

•    First appears as a red spot or spots
•    Mature into blisters.
•    Blisters eventually break and oozing a clear or cloudy like fluid
•    Fluid dries into a yellow-brown crust.
•    Sores can be itchy and painful

Impetigo also causes flu-like symptoms that may cause:

•    Fatigue
•    Weakness of muscles
•    Headaches and vomiting.

What parts of the body are affected by Impetigo?

Impetigo can affect the skin anywhere on the body.
It generally appears on:

•    Face
•    Nose
•    Mouth
•    Hands
•    Forearms
•    Behind the knees

Are there different Types of Impetigo?

Yes, The three variations of the Impetigo infection is Impetigo Contagiosa, Bullous Impetigo and Ecthyma.

Impetigo Contagiosa.

The most common form of Impetigo usually begins as pimple-like lesion surrounded by reddened skin. These lesions get filled with pus, and then break down over 4–6 days and form a thick, honey-colored crust. People who suffer from cold sores have shown higher chances of suffering from impetigo. Those who normally suffer from cold sores should consult a doctor if normal treatment has no effect.

Bullous Impetigo

Bullous impetigo primarily affects infants and children younger than 2 years. It causes painless, fluid-filled blisters – usually on the trunk, arms and legs. The skin around the blister is usually red and itchy but not sore. The blisters, which break and scab over with a yellow-colored crust, may be large or small, and may last longer than sores from other types of impetigo

Ecthyma

Ecthyma is a more serious form of impetigo in which the infection penetrates deep into the skin’s second layer, the dermis. Signs and symptoms include:

Painful fluid- or pus-filled sores that turn into deep ulcers, usually on the legs and feet

A hard, thick, gray-yellow crust covering the sores

Swollen lymph glands in the affected area

Little holes the size of pinheads to the size of pennies appear after crust recedes

Scars that remain after the ulcers heal

How does Impetigo Spread?

Impetigo is highly contagious and can be transmitted through contact or by sharing personal items like towels, pillows, sheets, gloves, socks, clothing or other items that come in direct contact with the infected skin. Scratching can also spread the sores to other parts of the body. It is not common in most adults except the athletes participating in contact sports like MMA, Wrestling, BJJ and Rugby etc.

How to Prevent & Treat Impetigo?

Impetigo can be prevented by maintaining good body/hand hygiene and a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables. When washing your body opt to use an all-natural tea tree oil soap like Defense Soap rather than a chemically derived antibacterial soap that will likely do more harm than good. For more Information visit: Impetigo Prevention & Treatment

 

 

Ringworm Prevention

Ringworm is a type of skin infection, which is caused by a fungus. Fungi thrive in warm, moist areas, such as training facilities, dojos, gyms, wrestling rooms, locker room floors and even in folds of your skin. It’s possible that the fungus ringworm can be present without showing any symptoms.

Exposed to Ringworm How To Prevent?

Prevention of ringworm is easier than its treatment. Here are a few points of advice to prevent ringworm:

Avoid sharing clothing, towels, blankets and sports equipment.

Wash clothes in hot water with fungicidal soap after suspected exposure to ringworm.

Avoid walking barefoot and wear appropriate protective shoes like flip-flops to places like the beach, gyms and  locker rooms.

Do not touch your face in case of facial ringworm

After being exposed to places where the potential of being infected is high, one should wash with an antibacterial or antifungal soap, or one that contains Tea Tree Oil, which contains terpinen-4-ol. It is responsible for the antimicrobial activity, and has been noted for the successful treatment of fungal infections.

 

How to prevent ringworm after contact?

So, if you have already caught ringworm, do not waste time in getting yourself treated. This way you can contribute towards preventing ringworm from spreading. Also,
•    Cover your infected skin

•    Keep it dry and clean

Check, if your pet has ringworm. If yes, then take him to a vet immediately.

How long is ringworm contagious?

There are different types of ringworm and it remains contagious as long as there are lesions on the body and they are active. From the point a person catches the infection to the time it appears on the body, he is infected but doesn’t harm others. This implies that the infection is not contagious but has a great potential of spreading to others once it appears on the body. Unfortunately this time phase of being contagious can vary from a few days to years depending on how quickly it is treated and with the correct medication. According to the doctors, there is no need to isolate children, the fungi is no more contagious after 24 to 48 hours.
Hygiene plays a key role in restricting ringworm infection. One needs to be extra cautious around the infected people, doing so minimizes the chances of the infection spreading.

Ringworm Treatment Soap

Though it sounds overrated but the right kind of ringworm soaps can ensure that the infection leaves your body without causing much distress. Defense soap for ringworm, containing a full 2% of essential oils, is the best antifungal soap for ringworm. Not only this, there is Defense shower gel with coconut oil infused is an antifungal body wash for ringworm and other fungal infection, and you can get that right here.

 

Proper Hygiene for the Wrestler and MMA Athlete

Guidelines to Minimize Infectious Diseases
National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Sports Medicine Advisory Committee

Preparation for competition in any sport requires proper training and practice. Whether it
means preparing your body or maintaining your equipment, proper preparation is
necessary. Keeping your body and equipment clean is part of that process. Infectious
diseases do propagate and are easily transmitted in the sports environment. Contact sports
and those with heavy amounts of equipment are more prone than others, but needless to
say, proper hygiene is necessary for all athletes to reduce the potential of transmitting these
agents. The NFHS Sports Medicine Advisory Committee realizes these issues and has
helped establish guidelines to educate the sporting and medical community about their
presence and means to reduce transmission of sports related infectious diseases.

Proper Hygienic Practices

1. Shower immediately after each practice or competition. Use your own
bottled soap and towel and don’t share them with others, let alone other
toiletries. Studies have shown that transmission of infectious diseases can
occur when these items are shared with other athletes.

2. Don’t share water bottles. Viruses and bacterial infections can be easily
transmitted via a shared bottle.

3. Don’t perform cosmetic shaving. Needless shaving of the chest or legs or
genital areas have been associated with increased outbreaks of Methicillin-
Resistant Staphylococcal aureus (MRSA). Consider cropping or closely
trimming the areas if necessary.

4. Wash equipment on a routine basis including workout clothing after each practice.
Consider washing smaller pads (for knees or elbows) on a weekly basis or if
soiled with contaminated material, each day. Larger pads, such as those in
Hockey or Football, should be disinfected (1:100 solution of household
bleach and water) on a routine basis. More frequently if soiled with blood or
bodily fluids. Commercial equipment utilizing detergents or ozone for
decontamination could also be considered.

5. Don’t let abrasions or open sores go without evaluation by your coach or
Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC). Be sure to keep them clean and covered
with proper dressings.

6. Inform your coach or ATC about any suspicious lesion at the beginning of
practice. Consider withdrawal from practice or competition until the lesion
is evaluated by your Health Care Provider (HCP). If it is considered
infectious, wait to return to competition until it has cleared by your HCP.
Also have other team mates evaluated for such lesions and cared for in the
same manner.

7. Don’t use a whirlpool or cold tub with any open wounds, scrapes or
scratches.

8. Shower before using whirlpools or common tubs.

 

 

References:

Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center: http://www.mskcc.org/mskcc/html/69396.cfm

Aetna Intelihealth: http://www.intelihealth.com/IH/ihtIH/WSIHW000/8513/31402/405383.html?d=dmtContent

The Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/tea-tree-oil/NS_patient-teatreeoil

U.S. National Library of Medicine: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11482001?dopt=Abstract

The National Institute of Health: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2145499?dopt=Abstract

The American Cancer Society: http://www.cancer.org/docroot/ETO/content/ETO_5_3X_Tea_Tree_Oil.aspMedil-ine Plus: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/patient-teatreeoil.html

Natural Standards of Integrated Medicine: http://www.naturalstandard.com/index-abstract.asp?create-abstract=/monographs/herbssupplements/patient-teatreeoil.asp
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tea_tree_oil

Herbal Medicine for Acne Vugaris: Eric Yarnell, Kathy Abascal. Alternative and Complementary Therapies. December 1, 2006, 12(6): 303-309. doi:10.1089/act.2006.12.303.

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