As an athlete, your team is your crew. You do everything together. On a typical day, you can be found within 6 inches of each other! These close quarters can be intense on your skin. It’s imperative to have good personal hygiene as an athlete because if you get an infection, you can easily pass it on to everyone – including your opponents. To help prevent infections, check out the following tips:
Clean and Cover Cuts
It’s important to clean cuts and scrapes as well as keep them covered with a bandage until they’re healed. Even a minor cut or scrape can weaken your skin’s defense. If your line of defense is weakened, germs can break through more easily and cause infections.
Make sure your equipment and footwear fit properly and doesn’t become bunched up to prevent the development of blisters. Or, apply a pad, gel or spray to areas that routinely blister. Use specialized socks or gloves if your feet, ankles or hands blister easily.
Wick Moisture Away
Wear moisture-wicking clothes to help keep your skin dry and prevent germs from growing.
Locker Room Apparel
Have a pair of flip-flops or other slip on sandals to wear in the locker room rather than walking around with bare feet. Wearing sandals or other shoes helps reduce infections on the feet.
A basic rule on personal hygiene as an athlete is to wash your entire body in the shower after every practice and game.
Use your own towel, soap, razor, brush, makeup and other personal care items. Don’t share with your teammate. Have an extra on hand if a friend forgets or runs out of something.
Wash your clothes and towels after each use. Sports bags should also be washed because germs that cause infections can remain in your bag and grow or be passed on to clean items.
If your coach doesn’t disinfect your equipment between every practice and game, offer to do it for the team. Don’t forget to disinfect protective gear.
Check their skin daily for possible cuts, bruises, rashes, blisters, irritations, sores, redness, swelling and pus. Also, look for any changes in your skin. You may have a minor cut one day that looks a little red or irritable the next. Catching minor changes in your skin can be helpful for the team. If you do have a skin abnormality, let your coach or athletic trainer know so they can address it. If you’re on top of your skincare regimen, all you should need is a bandage!
Skin infections can worsen if they’re ignored, so treat them properly. If you notice anything on your skin that itches, burns or becomes infected, see your dermatologist or sports medicine doctor.
A good athlete cares for their whole body, which means you need to adopt good personal hygiene. Taking a few extra steps keeps you and your team safe and ready to win.