by Harmony Heffron

On the playing field, as well as in locker rooms and gyms, athletes come in frequent close contact with each other. While this closeness can help teammates bond as well as giving them a sense of community, it can wreak havoc with their skin. Athletes are at high risk for a number of contagious skin conditions.

Athletes that compete in sports with skin-to-skin contact, particularly wrestlers, are the most likely to become infected.  Ringworm, herpes simplex, MRSA (a type of staph infection), and athlete’s foot are all common skin conditions that plague athletes. The associate professor of dermatology at the University of Cincinnati School of Medicine, Dr. Brian B. Adams, MD, MPH, FAAD, recently spoke at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology about this problem:

These skin conditions are highly contagious and can spread through sports teams quite quickly, especially if they are not immediately diagnosed and contained. That is why athletes need to be aware of these risks and how to spot the warning signs of a skin infection.

Warning signs athletes should be aware of are honey-color crusted scabs, red areas, blisters and sores (especially appearing in groups), and red, round rashes and lesions. Seeing a doctor right away is necessary for the treatment of most of these conditions. Most are also highly contagious, so if you suspect that you or a teammate might have a skin disease, seek help ASAP.

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