There are many contagious diseases and skin conditions that can be transmitted by wrestling with an infected partner or training on mats that are not cleaned properly. With ringworm being the most common, cellulitis, impetigo, staph and strep are all possibilities when it comes to contagions that prefer the sport of wrestling. Even more serious illnesses such as the flesh eating MRSA bacteria and even hepatitis can be transmitted from one athlete to another while grappling. This is why it’s important for prevention to be taken very seriously with athletes going beyond just showering after practice. Complete prevention is dependent on proper hygiene habits adopted by both the athlete and gym owner. Fortunately, there are many helpful products available to fortify personal hygiene as well as arm gym owners with powerful tools to keep a disease free training environment.
To avoid contagious skin infections, wrestlers should shower immediately following each practice. Anti bacterial soaps and body gels that are specifically designed to combat pathogens common to wrestling should be used. When showering, it’s best to use a wash cloth, shower mesh or luffa sponge to rough up the skin a bit for complete removal of infectious microbes. If a shower is not available at your location, anti bacterial wipes are by no means a replacement for a shower however are great products to offer a temporary defense until a deeper clean is possible. Sanitizing wipes should be used much like a bar of soap, scrubbing all the limbs, torso, face, neck and even hair. Anti-bacterial wipes are smart prevention and excellent to use at tournaments for quick cleaning between matches with different partners. Anti bacterial soaps and wipes are cheap, readily available online and should be included as part of every wrestler’s most essential gear.
Sweaty gym clothing that gets thrown in your wrestling bag right after practice is a great place for bacteria and pathogens to thrive. Throwing your soiled clothes into the washer should be done after each practice so bacteria and germs don’t get a chance to grow into a scary monster. Begin each day with freshly laundered clothing and towels. When battling an outbreak, wash sheets, linens and clothing daily with anti-bacterial detergent specially designed for killing microbes. These can be found online or at a medical supplies store and are an important factor in getting rid of an infection quickly. For the best prevention, use anti-bacterial, anti-viral foams, sprays and lotions are available for use directly before a match. These help by helps by providing a protective layer keeping contaminates from adhering to the body allowing for them to be washed away when cleaned with soap and water.
It’s also smart to read up and educate yourself about MRSA, the dangerous flesh eating, antibiotic resistant bacteria. This super bug is a cousin of staph and is on the rise in athletic settings. A MRSA infection can be disfiguring and even fatal and should be taken seriously; unfortunately it enjoys living on wrestling mats and dirty athletes. Prevention should include keeping a close eye on any cuts or scrapes during wrestling season and the personal hygiene tips listed above. Do not share personal items that have the potential for spreading infection such as razors, towels or even water bottles. Athletes with infected or open wounds should avoid wrestling or contact with other athletes until they are completely healed. If it appears a cut or wound is getting infected, consult a doctor for the very reason of ruling out this problem and heading it off at the pass; once you get it, it’s very difficult to get rid of.
Besides personal hygiene on the part of the athlete, gym owners are also responsible for prevention of contagious pathogens in wrestling. Wrestling mats must be cleaned and disinfected before each use with a mop that’s been laundered. If mats are rolled up and stored at the end of practice, it’s also important to clean the underside of the mat as well. Wrestling mat sanitizing products should be effective against MRSA, ringworm (trichophyton mentagrophites), staph, strep, herpes, hepatits (B and C) and the Aids virus. These germs should be listed on the label of the cleaner used or they may not kill them and thus offer less protection. It’s also important to follow the instructions on the label about how to use the mat cleaner so the proper amount of water is used when diluting. If too much water is used, the product will be too dilute and may not completely eliminate all possible pathogens. Finally, use a deep cleaning product once a month on training mats and equipment surfaces for a more thorough eradication of potentially harmful microbes.