Page 147 - Athletic Health Handbook
P. 147
MEDICAL CONDITIONS

SKIN CARE IN ATHLETES

ALEC A. MACAULAY SPORTS PROVIDE AN EXCELLENT environment for

WILLIAM N. LEVINE, MD the spread of infection. Athletes are in close contact on a regular basis and
The Center for Shoulder, Elbow and Sports Medicine often share equipment, water bottles, clothing, and towels. Cutaneous
The New York Orthopaedic Hospital infections represent the most commonly reported athletic-related
Columbia University College of Physicians infections.1 Direct contact, as well as indirect contact (sharing of
and Surgeons equipment, etc.), between athletes facilitates the transmission of
New York, New York cutaneous infections. Common sports-related trauma to the skin,
such as abrasions and lacerations, provide a pathway for infection.

Poor hygiene, which is the norm in many team locker rooms, allows
these infections to perpetuate and spread to others. Outbreaks of infections
have been reported on teams and at sport camps.2 Contact sports, such as
football, basketball, wrestling, and rugby, appear to be the most conducive
to these outbreaks.1-3

There are a number of simple, universal prevention tactics that can
be implemented to help protect athletes from the common cutaneous
infections. Hand hygiene, preferably with liquid anti-microbial soap and

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