In the last decade, mixed martial arts (MMA) has really taken hold in North America. MMA is a style of sport fighting that can trace its roots all the way back to the ancient Greek Olympics. The objective is simple; overpower and brutally beat your opponent into submission. That being said, injury is a common, and expected, part of the sport. However, there are some things that can be avoided, such as Staph infections.
The Low Down On Staph Infections
Staph bacteria comes in more than 30 different varieties and can lead to numerous infections and conditions. The bacteria oftentimes live harmlessly on the skin, yet once some type of open wound is created and the bacteria gets into the system, it is an entirely different story. The scary part is, since Staph bacteria can live on the skin, it is easily transferred from one person to the next by simple skin to skin contact. It can also be transferred by sharing equipment or towels when working out. If the Staph bacteria manages to enter the bloodstream, it can bring infections to multiple parts of the body including the:
- Central Nervous System
This is why the treatment of a Staph infection is taken so seriously by most MMA fighters. The chances of any MMA fighter, exiting a fight without any type of open wound is virtually impossible. However, it is not just the fight that puts fighters at risk for Staph infections. The mats, gloves, head gear, and even towels used during events and practice can harbor and spread the Staph bacteria. When a Staph infection occurs, it is either going to be treated aggressively with antibiotics, or in some cases, it is going to require surgery. The problem is, most MMA fighters, boxers and other professional athletes can confuse the early signs of a Staph infection with standard muscle aches and pains, or skin irritation due to sweating. If an MMA fighter requires surgery, they are looking at months, if not a full year, of being out of action. This can be crippling to an up and coming MMA fighter. It could also spell the end of the career to a more established, veteran MMA fighter.
How To Prevent The Spread Of Staph Bacteria
Eliminating the threat of Staph bacteria and Staph infections is simply not possible, but dramatically reducing the chances of contracting a Staph infection is easily within every fighter’s grasp. Here are some easy to remember tips to help keep you safe while engaging in the MMA activities and events you love.
- Always use protective equipment.
- Keep medical staff (or a well-stocked first-aid kit) on hand at all times.
- Treat, clean, and cover all cuts immediately.
- Do not share clothing, towels, or personal items with other fighters.
- Make sure all equipment, mats, and heavy bags are disinfected/cleaned before AND after each use.
- Clean all personal equipment, such as gloves, masks, and mouth guards, before and after each use. Make sure to let them thoroughly dry before using them again.
- Immediately wash, or at the very least pre-treat, your clothes after an event.
Proper cleaning should consist of a bleach solution, but then you are risking bleaching whatever material you are trying to clean. That is why so many MMA fighters and gyms are turning to products like Clear Gear Sports Spray to reduce the risk of Staph infections and eliminate other forms of bacteria that could harm an MMA fighter. By taking the time to protect and properly clean your equipment, you are not only ensuring your safety, but also the safety of those around you.
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