How to prevent staph infections during sports and school

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – The athletic training staff at Myrtle Beach High School spent the day preparing for the long drive to Mount Pleasant Tuesday night.  While the football team faces off against Wando High School, the trainers will be trying to defeat a familiar opponent.

"The staph just finds a way into our body," explains Head Athletic Trainer Andrea Sulewski. 

The Seahawks will be the first team to play Wando, since the Warriors canceled practice last Wednesday because of staph infections.  Wando has since sterilized all facilities, so trainers believe tonight should just like any other game.

"We're going to do what we always do,"said Sulewski. "Make sure that our athletes or anybody with any open sore or cut is covered, because we don't want them to get it from anybody."

According to Sulewski, football isn't the only place where staph infections can start...in fact, staph bacteria is everywhere.  You can find it in School gyms, classrooms, even the inside of your nose.

"It's only as big a risk as you are uncleanly," laughed Sulewski.

While the bacteria may be everywhere, Andrea Sulewski says it's easy preventing dangerous infections. The simplest thing you can do is wash your hands often.

"Even something as simple as washing your hands before you touch the food that you're going to put in your mouth and ingest, can help prevent any of these infections."

She says staying hygienic in all other parts of life is important, too. Staph bacteria needs darkness, food, and moisture to grow, so things like dirty clothes in your child's gym locker at school can be a perfect habitat.

"You have given the bacteria everything it needs to grow, so when you put that on the next day, you're more likely then to have come in contact with it," said Sulewski.

She says if your child does get a staph infection, it's easy to treat if you take care of it right away. The child's doctor can provide an antibiotic that will make the infection no longer contagious after 24 hours.

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