Hygiene and Care of Equipment – Washing and Sanitizing

Universal Hygiene Protocol for All Sports:

  • Shower immediately after all competitions and practices
  • Wash all workout clothing after practice
  • Wash personal gear, such as knee pads, periodically
  • Don’t share towels or personal hygiene products with others
  • Refrain from cosmetic shaving
  • When athletic pads become wet, the opportunity to allow bacteria to multiply increases dramatically.  These pads should be placed in a well-ventilated area and if possible, in the sunshine.

HIV, Hepatitis, MSRA and Skin Disease Prevention

While the risk for blood-borne infectious diseases, such as HIV/Hepatitis B, Herpes Gladiatorum and MSRA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus) remains low in sports, proper precautions are needed to reduce the risk of spreading diseases. Along with these issues are skin infections that occur due to skin contact with competitors and equipment

Infectious Skin Diseases

Means of reducing the potential exposure to these agents include:

  • The athlete should notify parent/guardian, trainer and coach of any lesion before competition or practice. Athlete must have a health-care provider evaluate lesion before returning to competition.
  • If an outbreak occurs on a team, especially in a contact sport, consider evaluating other team members for potential spread of the infectious agent.
  • Follow state/local guidelines on “time until return to competition.”

Blood-Borne Infectious Diseases

Means of reducing the potential exposure to these agents include:

  • Bleeding must be stopped immediately and all wounds covered. All blood-soaked clothing must be removed before continuing competition or practice. Contaminated clothing must be cleaned before using again.
  • Immediately wash contaminated skin or mucous membranes with soap and water.  Clean all contaminated surfaces and equipment with disinfectant before returning to competition. Be sure to use gloves with cleaning.
  • Any blood exposure or bites to the skin that break the surface must be reported and evaluated by a medical provider immediately.