One of the best things about school starting for many is the start of the fall sports season. Danielle Kleber is the director of operations for Athletes’ Training Center in Omaha and says with may students hitting the locker room, there may be a hidden danger… MRSA staph infections.
“They share locker room space, skin to skin contact and they share a lot of common objects, door handles and things like that so it can spread really easily throughout the athletic populations.”
Kleber says MRSA is spread if an infected person touches an object.
“About 30 percent of people that walk around have staph, they just don’t show any symptoms. That continues to spread through shared things. One kid touches a football. The next kid touches the football.”
Kleber says that continues until the staph reaches a person with a weaker immune system and that is when symptoms show.
“Sometimes it can be open sores. Kids say, oh, it seems like a spider bite. They might just feel ill or sick to their stomach.”
Kleber says it is very important to pay attention to an open sore. She states she would rather look at dozens of skin lesions daily and have them be nothing than miss the one that is staph. She says students with sores should show them to a trainer or school nurse.
“It is not getting better in a few days, still draining and not responding to normal treatment, you want to make sure to get into a doctor. The biggest thing is to make sure you ask them to culture it so it can be treated appropriately.”
MRSA staph infections are resistant to treatment by many standard antibiotics but there are alternatives that are showing good results. Kleber also says to avoid the spread of MRSA, never share items like towels or soap and remember to wash hands frequently.