“Fall” into Some Healthy Habits (By Nurse Neilia Bliss, R.N.)

As we move into fall, and towards the winter season, remember that we all play a part in staying healthy and preventing the spread of infection.

Please have a look at these suggestions from the Center for Disease Control.
In addition, several schools in the area have seen incidences of staph infections on their campuses. St. Michael’s has been notified of a few cases involving a small number of our student athletes. The Athletic Department is taking all the prescribed steps to prevent the spread of staph in our athletic facilities; however, we would like to share with you some important information about identifying infection, personal hygiene, and disease prevention at the individual level.
Identifying Staph
Please pay attention for signs of infections such as redness, warmth, swelling, pus, and pain at sites where your skin has sores, abrasions, or cuts. Sometimes these infections can be confused with spider bites. Do not try to treat the infection yourself by picking or popping the sore. Please cover possible infections with clean, dry bandages until you can be seen by a healthcare provider.

Students, please tell your parent, coach, athletic trainer, school nurse, team doctor, or other healthcare provider if you think you have an infection so it can be treated quickly. Finding infections early and getting care will reduce the amount of playing time lost and decrease the chance that the infection will become severe.

Hygiene and Staph Prevention Tips (provided by the Center for Disease Control)
  • Keep your hands clean by washing often with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
    • At a minimum, hands should be cleaned before and after playing sports and doing activities such as using shared weight-training equipment, caring for wounds, and after using the toilet.
    • Liquid soap is preferred over bar soap to limit sharing.
    • If hands are not visibly dirty and sinks are not available for hand washing (for example, while on the field or in the weight room), alcohol-based hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol content can be used.
  • Shower immediately after exercise, and do not share bar soap or towels.
  • Wash uniform/clothing after each use. Follow the clothing label’s instructions for washing and drying. Drying clothes completely in a dryer is preferred.
  • Equipment that comes into direct skin contact should be cleaned after each use and allowed to dry. Equipment, such as helmets and protective gear, should be cleaned according to the equipment manufacturers’ instructions to make sure the cleaner will not harm the item.
Take Care of Your Skin
  • Wear protective clothing or gear designed to prevent skin abrasions or cuts.
  • Cover skin cuts and wounds with clean, dry bandages or other dressings until healed.
    • Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions for when and how often to change your bandages and dressings.
Do Not Share Items That Come into Contact with Your Skin
  • Avoid sharing personal items such as towels and razors that contact your bare skin.
  • Do not share ointments that are applied by placing your hands into an open container.
  • Use a barrier (such as clothing or a towel) between your skin and shared equipment including weight-training, sauna, and steam-room benches.
Thank you for your time and attention to this information.