The Ten Commandments for preventing skin infections

1) Shower Immediately – The longer you wait to shower after practices and matches, the more time harmful germs are allowed to stay and grow on your skin. When showering, always use liquid antibacterial soap and a mesh scrub to ensure that you’re both killing the bacteria and limiting the amount of bacteria that can be left on your showering equipment. There are many antibacterial soaps designed specifically for wrestlers. These aren’t necessary, but they do work. Remember to thoroughly dry yourself after you shower, focusing on your feet last.

2) Know Your Body – Check your body daily for anything out of the norm; if it looks like it shouldn’t be there, well … it probably shouldn’t be there. Keep an eye out for red/irritated skin, scratches, peeling, bumps, itching, etc. If you do find something of concern, tell your coach right away. He or she will know the proper course of action and treatment.

3) Cut Your Nails – Certain types of bacteria and fungi may live underneath the fingernails, and can easily be transmitted to another wrestler’s skin.

4) Clean All Facilities Daily – In addition to the actual wrestling room, also clean weight rooms, locker rooms, showers, etc. Wrestling mats should be especially taken care of, as they are one of the most common places where germs can live and grow. At the very least, mop the mat with cleaning fluid that is specifically designed for wrestling mats, and do so before each use. Follow all directions exactly. If possible, mop the mat afterward, as well.

5) Don’t Share Equipment Any item that is used during practice, especially shoes and headgear, should absolutely never be shared. This is a very easy way to spread infections.

6) Wear Clean Practice Gear DailyIt is necessary to have a clean set of gear for every practice session; this includes t-shirts, shorts, and socks. You absolutely cannot wear the same gear for more than one practice, as that is an easy way to transmit skin infections to your teammates. In fact, having an extra, clean set of gear to change into during practice could also help prevent skin diseases, and make you feel a bit more comfortable in the process.

7) Clean All Equipment Daily Any equipment that is used on a daily basis needs to be thoroughly cleaned to ensure harmful germs are not hiding out in them. Towels, uniforms, and any other piece of equipment should be washed and dried after every use.

8) Cover All WoundsDuring practice and competition, it is important to cover any open wounds or cuts to prevent infection. Full-length rash guards limit skin-to-skin contact and can help to prevent skin diseases.

9) Keep Shoes CleanThe majority of bacteria and fungi that is brought into the wrestling room gets there from being on the bottoms of wrestlers’ shoes. Don’t wear your wrestling shoes outside of the wrestling room, especially into the restroom. Also, don’t step on the mat wearing gym or street shoes. There are cleaning mats and other devices that are designed to clean the soles of your shoes prior to entering the room. These items are great, but often expensive and not necessary if the proper precautions are taken.

10) Don’t Use Gym BagsOne of the biggest mistakes you can make is placing dirty gear directly into a gym bag. This is a perfect place for bacteria and fungi to multiply. Using disposable, plastic bags will go a long way in helping to prevent infection.

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