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Here are measures that health experts say people in schools and institutions should follow. Sources are US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Athletic Trainers’ Association, and the Mayo Clinic (www.MayoClinic.com).
- Practice good hygiene — wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer; shower immediately after exercising.
- Avoid sharing items such as towels, sheets, clothing, razors, and athletic equipment. Staph, including the antibiotic-resistant MRSA strain, spreads on contaminated objects as well as through direct contact.
- Wash athletic gear and towels properly after each use. For clothing, use a washer and laundry detergent, and a dryer to dry clothes completely. Use detergent-based cleaners or US Environmental Protection Agency-registered disinfectants to remove MRSA from surfaces. Avoid whirlpools or common tubs if you have an open wound, scrape, or scratch.
- Cover scrapes or cuts with clean, dry bandages until healed.
- Clean frequently touched surfaces, such as athletic equipment, that come into direct contact with peoples’ skin.
My source was the print edition of Education Week, November 7, 2007. You will find more detailed information about preventing staph infections online from the Mayo Clinic, the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, the National Federation of State High School Associations, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Go to www.edweek.org/links to find them.
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