Monday, September 13, 2010

Team Up with Basketball Star Grant Hill to Prevent MRSA in Youth Sports

When kids play sports, we do all we can to keep them safe from injury. But there’s another danger that may come with playing sports: MRSA. MRSA is a potentially life-threatening, antibiotic-resistant staph infection of the skin. In fact, skin infections like MRSA are the cause of 56 percent of all outbreaks of infectious diseases in competitive sports in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2005, nearly 19,000 Americans died from MRSA infections. In that same year, there were 134 cases of MRSA in children. MRSA is generally spread by skin-to-skin contact and by touching surfaces that have come in contact with a person’s infection. Luckily, simple preventative steps like the ones below can reduce the spread of bacteria:

Scrub up – Wash hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 15 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand rub sanitizer.

Wipe it down – Use a disinfecting bleach solution to wipe down and disinfect hard surfaces. (1 tablespoon of disinfecting bleach diluted in 1 gallon of water or as directed on label)

Cover your cuts – Keep any nicks or wounds covered with a clean, dry bandage until healed.

Keep to yourself – Do not share personal items, like towels or razors, that come into contact with bare skin.

Use a barrier – Keep a towel or clothing between skin and shared equipment.

Don’t play dirty – Wash children’s athletic clothing after each use, using the warmest wash recommended and adding bleach when appropriate.

Sports equipment is often shared among teammates, which makes “equipment wellness” another important part of preventing the spread of MRSA in youth sports settings. It is important to:

• Regularly clean and disinfect sports equipment like balls, racket grips and bats.

• Pay particular attention to disinfecting or properly laundering sports equipment that comes into direct contact with the skin of the players, such as headgear/helmets, mats, and body armor.

• Avoid using tape to wrap gripping areas of rackets, bar bells, or to repair rips and tears on other sports equipment. This may provide an environment for germs to thrive and may interfere with the disinfectant process.

The S.T.O.P. MRSA Now Coalition, Swap Me Sports, professional basketball star Grant Hill (who was affected by MRSA), and The Clorox Company are teaming up to teach families and sports teams about practical MRSA prevention steps through the Equip Them Well program. Parents can also collect, disinfect and donate used youth sports equipment to communities in need through this program.

As a bonus, each person who enters the sweepstakes on www.StopMRSAnow.org will score a chance to win a trip to Phoenix for a Suns game and an exclusive “meet-and-greet” with Grant Hill!

Please visit www.stopmrsanow.org to learn more about MRSA and make sure that your child and his or her team are doing all they can to prevent this deadly infection.



DISCLOSURE: The Clorox Company sent me information about the Equip Them Well program not intended to solicit product claims. No compensation of any kind was provided.

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