According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), cases of MRSA infections are very common in athletes playing high-contact sports such as wrestling, football, rugby, basketball, soccer, baseball, martial arts, and field hockey.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA is a type of staph bacteria that is resistant to a specific type of broad spectrum antibiotics known as beta-lactams, the most commonly prescribed type of drugs. These include:
MRSA infection, as with all staph infection, usually spreads from direct skin contact to an infected skin and personal items or any surface that have been touched by the MRSA virus. And because athletes are:
- Exposed to repeated physical contact with other athletes during games
- Spend much of their time in notorious MRSA breeding grounds like gyms and locker rooms
- Get cuts or scrapes in the skin, which can serve as a passage for MRSA
- Have limited access to proper hygiene measures…
…they are definitely at high risk for MRSA staph infection all the time.
MRSA symptoms vary depending on the type and the current stage of infection. It usually starts off as a harmless skin infection that resembles spider bites, which eventually progress to very painful, red, swollen, and pus-filled pustules and boils.
MRSA infection can also lead to more serious and potentially life-threatening consequences by infecting your bloodstream, heart valves, and lungs. This is very common with MRSA staph infections acquired in healthcare settings.
Strengthen Your Defense Against MRSA
People with weakened immune system or who are immunocompromised are very vulnerable not only to MRSA infection, but to a host of other diseases as well. This is why a robust immune system remains your best bet. These are two of the most radically important steps to take:
- Eat Well – Ideally, avoiding processed foods, grains, and sugar will go a long way toward strengthening your immune system. However, optimizing your diet by consuming foods specifically rich in immunity-building nutrients can take you even further.
Friendly bacteria, also known as probiotics, have a powerful, beneficial effect on your gut’s immune system, your first line of defense against pathogens, and aid in the production of antibodies.Traditionally fermented foods such as kefir, lassi, sauerkraut, natto, kimchi, tempeh, and miso are loaded with these types of beneficial bacteria.
- Get Plenty of Restful Sleep– Sleeping well is one of the cornerstones of optimal health. Without good sleep, optimal health may remain elusive, even if you eat well and exercise (although those factors will tend to improve your ability to sleep better).
Steps for Personal MRSA Prevention
As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. Regardless if you’re an athlete or not, doing the necessary steps to steer clear of this man-made plague is still the best way to go. Here are some tips:
- Make it a habit to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
- Do not use antibacterial soaps or sanitizers, which may only contribute to the drug resistance of MRSA.
- Shower immediately after playing sports or spending time in the gym or locker room.
- Never share or borrow personal items such as towels, uniforms, socks, slippers, shoes, and razor that come in contact with your skin.
- Never use bar soap or towels provided at the gym. Bring your own.
- Use towel or clothing as a barrier between your skin and potentially infected surfaces. These precautions are especially important in MRSA hotspots such as locker rooms, gyms, and health clubs.
- As much as possible, stay away from places that may be potentially infected with MRSA, such as hospitals, dialysis centers, prisons, and military barracks.
- Avoid taking antibiotics, unless absolutely necessary.
- Cover cuts or bruises to prevent them from being gateways to certain bacteria and viruses.
- Pay close attention to signs of skin infections.Seek expert medical advice immediately at the first sight of MRSA-like skin infection. Remember: MRSA is completely treatable if detected at an early stage.
Jessie Cavagnah has written various health and fitness content and has also transcribed many in-depth interviews of several experts in the field. She is currently writing a report about the treatment and prevention of MRSA infection. She is subscribed to natural health newsletters, such as the daily newsletters of Dr. Joseph Mercola.