What is Staphylococcal Aureus?
- Staphylococcal aureus, also known as Staph, has long been recognized as a common cause of boils and soft-tissue infections as well as more serious conditions such as pneumonia or bloodstream infections.
- Approximately 20%-35% of all adults and children in the United States are “colonized” with staph, meaning the bacteria is present but do not cause illness.
- Most common areas of the body for colonization are the armpit, groin, genital area, and the nose.
How do you get staph?
- Most infections occur through direct physical contact of the staph with a break in the skin (cut or scrape).
- Inanimate objects such as clothing, bed linens, or furniture may also be a source of infection when they become soiled with wound drainage and a noninfected person then comes in contact with the drainage.
- If there is no break in the skin, contact with infected persons or articles of clothing may result in colonization.
- Susceptibility to infection depends on factors such as immunity and general state of health.
What is MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus)?
- Cannot be treated with conventional medicines used to treat “regular” staph infections.
- Can be contracted through the same methods as staph infections.
- Becoming increasingly more prevalent in school districts, especially in sports such as wrestling, volleyball, and football.
- All cases of MRSA must be documented and submitted to the Texas Department of Health. The campus nurse is responsible for reporting all MRSA staph infections to the Texas Department of Health.
How to prevent staph infections
- Wash hands thoroughly and often using warm soap and water. Especially after sneezing, blowing, or touching your nose. After using the toilet. Before leaving any athletic facility.
- Shower after all athletic activity.
- Avoid using whirlpools or common tubs with open wounds, scrapes, or scratches.
- Do not share razors, towels, and daily athletic gear.
- Properly wash all athletic gear and towels after each use.
- Maintain clean facilities and equipment.
- Have all open wounds, scrapes, and scratches checked by a health care professional.
How to treat staph infections
- Certain staph infections may require the use of medications. These can vary from oral medication to antibiotics that are placed on the inside wall of the nose.
- All open wounds must be covered for practices, games, and during the academic school day
What to do if diagnosed with staph
- If any student-athlete is diagnosed by a physician as having contracted staph, they must have a note stating their limitations presented to the Athletic Trainer.
- All wounds must be covered at all times and changed at least twice per day.
- The School Nurse must be made aware of the staph infection for LISD documentation and so that proper measures are taken to ensure the safety of other students and school workers.
- The student-athlete must avoid direct contact with others until the wound is no longer draining and/or cleared by a physician.
- All items found in the locker of the student-athlete must be taken home and washed thoroughly. Additionally, all athletic gear normally washed with team must be separated and washed at home by the student-athlete.