How to Prevent Skin Abscess in Athletes
Skin abscesses are caused by bacteria that enter the skin, causing lesions and infection. The infection then forms pus pockets that worsen without treatment. Athletes are especially susceptible to skin abscesses because close contact with other athletes, profuse sweating, and rubbing of shoes and clothing provide many opportunities for bacteria to enter the skin. Close attention to skin care while participating in athletic activities is crucial to preventing painful skin abscesses.
Cleanse skin thoroughly after practice and sports activities to remove bacteria. Keeping the skin cleansed and dry will provide an unstable environment for bacteria. Frequent hand-washing is also important. When hand-washing isn't practical, alcohol-based hand sanitizers are acceptable, according to the New York State Department of Health. Also, avoid sharing towels with other athletes, as this can spread bacteria from one person to the next.
Examine your skin daily for any wounds or pimplelike bumps. At the first sign of skin injury, treat the area with an antibacterial ointment. Clean the affected site frequently, and cover it with a bandage to prevent bacterial invasion.
Clean all sports equipment after each use, using a disinfecting cleaning agent that kills bacteria. Also ensure that clothing is washed between uses with nonchlorine bleach for colors and chlorine bleach for whites. Bleach kills many strains of bacteria responsible for skin infections.
Report any skin anomalies such as bumps or lesions to your coach or trainer, who may be able to supply you with absorbent socks, shoes or bandages to avoid the spread of bacteria that can lead to abscesses.
Wear gloves when assisting other athletes with bandage changes or wound care. According to Gem City Bone and Joint, improper wound care can spread bacteria. Dispose of used bandages and gloves in a biohazard container, and wash your hands thoroughly with antibacterial soap after changing bandages on fellow athletes and yourself.
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