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Healthy Gymnasts

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momofagymmie

Guest
Hi,
I'm curious about the spread of illness at the gyms. Does any gym have a tradition of asking the girls to immediately wash hands and feet after training? Also, has anyone had a rule against spitting into grips before getting on bars? Could doing that create hazards for other gymnasts? It seems at our gym if one girl gets sick suddenly everyone is sick so perhaps if every gymnast was asked to wash hands and feet with a disinfectant wipe or hand soap maybe it would prevent the spread?
 

gym_mom2one

New Member
Aug 23, 2007
46
Country
USA
I have been wondering that myself. Do you ever worry about staph infections or worts. I was told that the girls can get worts on their feet from other girls if they have them. My husband use to coach wrestling and they would mop the mats with bleach after every practice. I never see this at our gym.
 

midwestgymmom

Active Member
Aug 27, 2006
661
midwest
I just posted a thread in the miscellanous forum about MRSA and gymnastics and if anyone else was worried. I'm glad I'm not the only one thinking about this stuff.
 
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momofagymmie

Guest
My daughter got worts last year on her feet. The Doctor said it most likely was from the gym. The wort is always contagious. As long as you can see it, it needs to be covered. It was tough to do because when she was on the beam she didn't want to slip with the bandage on and when she was on the floor it was hard to keep the bandage on her foot. Ever since we've been super careful that her feet get wiped quickly after practice. I think the same might help for hands to ward off colds, and anything else but it's just my best guess.
 

gym_mom2one

New Member
Aug 23, 2007
46
Country
USA
I really think MRSA should be brought up at the gym but I dont want to be the one to do it. I can just see them saying "Our gym is clean" like how dare you suggest that it isn't. I really think the schools clean more than the gym.
What would you do??
 
Jan 22, 2008
437
My dd got a wart on her hand which I swear it came from the gym. We have been having treatments on it and it is almost gone but she has had to work out with her hand taped for two months now.

I have also seen the Req program kids using hand sanatizer but team girls do not. Colds are rampid on our gym. I swear almost all of them are coughing up a lung.
 

gymdog

Well-Known Member
Coach
Proud Relative
Former Gymnast
Jul 5, 2007
5,118
Preventing MRSA by cleaning a gym is pretty hard though. People carry staph bacteria, including methicillin resistant strains, on their skin and in their nasal passages without effect. Unless it is a health care environment, I think the steps a facility would have to take to ensure it was sterile every day would be overkill.

I have gotten a staph infection (not meth-resistant, this was probably 04 or 05). I probably picked it up at the gym. It would have been preventable with some foresight though. I still never use commercial hand sanitizer; I do wash my hands.

It is more effective IMO for individuals to take steps to reduce their chances of being affected by this, but if you aren't immuno-compromised and the site of the infection is the surface of the skin (i.e. you didn't have surgery in an environment that wasn't sterile causing an internal infection), strains of staph aren't as scary as you might believe. I am not trying to minimize the issue because it is still a serious public health hazard, but those are generally the more major risks for very serious cases.

1. wash hands and take a shower soon after practice. Wash skin and hair (doesn't need to be "99% germ killing" type solution), normal soap and warm water should do.
2. Cover ALL open wounds on the surface of the skin especially on the feet. The entry site for my infection was an area where a flip flop had rubbed several layers of skin off (kind of like a bad rip on my foot). I had it covered poorly and decided not to bother a couple hours into practice.
3. Minimize skin to skin contact. Completely avoid skin to skin contact with wounded areas or used bandages.
4. Immediately (immediately!) seek medical care for sudden and unexplained spreading pain originating from the site of a wound. I cannot emphasize this enough. Infections that spread up the bloodstream spread fast and depending on the site and the strain they can affect organs within a day or so. Currently even MRSA is being successfully treated if caught early. It is very important to be aware of what a MRSA infected site looks like and seek treatment if you suspect it or any other serious spreading infection.

But to be honest I don't worry that much about it. I had open cuts on both my heels today from shoes and I didn't even think about it until now (and I worked out today with bare feet). I'm not trying to be flippant about it, but I did gymnastics, high school gymnastics, school gym classes day in and day out for years. I just don't worry about it that much in the scheme of things. I have had one staph infection. Furthermore, I am the ONLY person I know who has had a staph infection. OTOH, I have known multiple people with ringworm. While the rise of meth-resistant strains of staph is a concerning public health hazard, most of the concern was over the resistance, not over this being an extremely frequent occurence in any given place. It's certainly something to be aware of but I don't think you can really sterilize a gym and I don't think that's necessary at this point. Washing and covering openings on the skin should be enough at this point. Last year all high school athletes in my county had to see a MRSA video and go through this whole thing, but this was basically the extent of their recommendation. Take a shower and cover wounds.
 
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GymnastRaeRae87

Guest
Wow, I didn't realize gyms had that much of a problem with colds and worts. I don't think my gym has a problem with that. I hope not :/

Why do people spit on their grips? Is that supposed to help with grip? I haven't seen that, well at least at my gym, we use water.
 

PeaceLoveGymnastic

New Member
Jan 12, 2008
28
Canada
You can't really help getting sick from other kids at gym. Think about it: you're with them for up to 30 hours a week. You're going to spread germs, and washing you hands isn't going to stop that.

As for spitting on grips, I never have, but many girls at my gym do. But really, spit is no worse than all the sweat and chalk. It's just a part of the sport.

Being exposed to germs gives you a stronger immune system, right? so gymnasts will probably be healthier in the long run.
 

gymgymgymnast08

Active Member
Proud Relative
Former Gymnast
Dec 8, 2007
1,233
Country
USA
When you are at the gym soooo much their germs kinda become your germs anyway....

And yes, people at my gym do spit on their grips im sorry to say........
 
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BlairBob

Guest
Back in my wrestling days we were told shower first thing we got home. I use this and my dad made me do it in all my sports from the time I was a little kid. Shower off after sweating.
 

Tuduri

Member
Oct 1, 2007
118
Campbell, CA
Mrsa

PeaceLoveGymnastic:


Being exposed to other germs will not necessarily make you healthier if that germ can result in serious debilitating illness or even kill you. That is the point of taking measures to prevent infection from staph which is resistant to antibiotics.(I'm not talking about cold virsuses) Many of us unknowingly carry around such germs. But they are not a problem unless they can enter the body via a cut in the skin. Even in those instances, immediate attention to the wound, such as cleaning and applying an antiseptic will minimize the presence of the germ and the body 's own immune system is then better able to fend it off. If such MRSA germs enter the blood stream , major organs of the body can be infected and one could even die of the infection. If the infection were to fester in a wound unchecked, amputation of a body part might be required to arrest the infection to prevent further infection of the body.

That is why preventative measures like immediately treating and covering wounds are imperative to stop the spread of MRSA. MRSA used to be found only in hospitals. However, it is increasingly being found in locker rooms at many schools. No gymnast should be on the floor with an uncovered wound. This is for their own protection by avoiding contraction of the germ and for the protection of others by avoiding transmission of MRSA.

Such simple procedures can curb the transmission of MRSA and even the avoidance of only one case of MRSA is worth the slight inconvenience to a gymnast.
 
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