By Danielle DeVor
By now, we’ve all probably heard of some horror stories. Skin infections in the gym and the cage are not uncommon, but how dangerous are they exactly? Well, for most people, just as long as you get the proper antibiotic, they clear up relatively quickly. But, sometimes, things go awry.
Let’s take a step back and think about some of the implications. Fighters have been known to compete with an active staph infection. All it takes is a micro-tear in the skin for that staph bug to invade the body of another host. MMA, with all the different ways your skin can be injured, is like a breeding ground for the bacteria to hop from host to host.
Normal staph is usually very easy to clear. Just take an antibiotic and you’re done. But if you get MRSA or another type of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, things are more dicey. There are over 40 types of the staphylococcus bacteria. But here are 4 types of bacteria that have shown to have antibiotic resistance to most commonly available antibiotics. And all of these are easily found in our environment.
methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE)
multi-drug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MDR-TB)
carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) gut bacteria
If these infections are not caught in time, or are misdiagnosed, they will kill you. They are mutating everyday.
So, what can you do? If you have an active skin infection—do not train or fight. While that might suck to say, the truth is if you want to keep yourself safe and people around you safe, that is what you have to do. Also, if you find that someone in your gym has an active skin infection, pick up a bottle of chlorhexidine at the drug store and shower with it. It is a surgical detergent that kills bacteria. Make sure that the gym has good hygene protocols and regularly cleans mats and other surfaces with disinfectant.