Why talk to your athletes about sports hygiene? To avoid serious illnesses associated with dirty gear and equipment, and reduce student athletes’ risks while playing sports. With children in sports, you’re bound to experience the dreaded, stinky-gear-left-in-car effect at some point. But did you know that odors from sports gear like cleats, pads, helmets, and gloves come from the same dangerous germs that cause infections and illness?
Children of all ages (even adults) that play sports are at higher risk of contracting diseases like MRSA, staph, herpes, ringworm, impetigo, and the flu. This is such an important topic that that American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) recently released new guidelines for young athletes, which includes proper sports hygiene. A few of the stats they outline in their report include:
- 10-15% of time lost from practice or competition at the college level is due to skin infections.
- Up to 23% of athletes have been found to have MRSA—a common antibiotic-resistant infection
You can read the whole report from the AAP here.
Every parent with children in sports needs to do three things to keep their kids odor and infection free – 1) Talk with your coach about their infection protocol, 2) Coach your athlete on proper sports hygiene, and 3) Start a disinfecting routine with a powerful athletic gear disinfectant. Clear Gear can guide you through these three steps.
Step 1: Talk With the Coach
Wherever your child plays their sport – school, church, a league – ask the coach or administrator about their protocol for reducing infectious outbreaks. The spread of germs through sports is very common. Germs that cause staph, strep, MRSA, flu and others spread from sweaty gear, shared equipment, body contact, high contact areas, and facilities such as locker rooms, bathrooms, showers and weight rooms. How does your school or organization combat infections? What proactive protocols are in place? Infectious outbreaks are common all year, no matter what sport is in season. Talking with your child’s coach about precautions is critical.
Step 2: Coach Your Athlete About Proper Sports Hygiene
Okay, talking to tweens and teens is no easy task, no matter what the subject. But we as parents know that what we say does sink in, even if there are eye rolls…New routines can be challenging to keep – how many times have you asked if your kids have brushed their teeth?!
At Clear Gear, we not only want to help with odors and infection prevention, we also want to be a resource to help parents and coaches talk with athletes about the importance of proper sports hygiene.
Talk with your athlete to keep them infection free, and help with those pesky odors:
- Shower with soap and water immediately after practice/games/matches
- Do not share personal hygiene items (bar soap, towels, razors), clothing or water bottles
- Ensure any cuts/scraps are cleaned and dressed properly before and after practice/games
- Do not store sweaty or wet gear/clothing in lockers, gym bag or closets
- Use an athletic gear disinfectant like Clear Gear on sports equipment and shoes after each practice or game; spray down that equipment bag too
- Always spray Clear Gear after playing a game against an opposing team. That’s when cross-contamination of germs can lead to infection.
Step 3: Establish a Routine
At the start of each new sports season, agree to a routine with your athlete to keep gear clean, germ free and odor free. At Clear Gear, we are parents too, and we confess there have been times when a uniform didn’t get washed and we pulled it out of the dirty laundry, gave it the sniff test, and sent our athletes to the game. Yikes! We’re not perfect, so setting up a routine to disinfect equipment will make the difference in the fight against germs and odors.
Here is a simple routine you can customize for your sport and household after each practice, workout or game:
- After every practice, game or workout, air out equipment, shoes and bags, and spray with Clear Gear – this is the easiest part!
- Pads, gloves and helmets may need to be separated and sprayed between layers
- Spray each item with a few quick sprays of Clear Gear, then leave to air dry
- Visit this link to follow our specific how to instructions for sports and using Clean Gear as your athletic gear disinfectant.
- Wash uniforms and gym clothes immediately
- Take a shower immediately
Make sure you help your athletes stay healthy by adding simple sportshygiene habits to their daily routine. Healthy sports habits along with using Clear Gear on a regular basis is your best defense against bacteria and infection.