How clean is your kit bag? Do you have that niggling feeling every evening before practice that you should probably wash your mouth guard? Air out your kit and clean those strap supports?
Well you should, and here’s why;
There are at least six common types of harmful bacteria that germinate on your festering kit.
Meet Staphylococcus aureus: a lovely little form of bacteria that most commonly causes skin and soft tissue infections such as boils, impetigo and cellulitis.
Candida albicans: This yeasty little number loves a hot, moist environment and causes; you guessed it, yeast infections. But don’t be fooled this isn’t something that just occurs “below” you can also catch this from a dirty mouth guard… just saying!
Aspergillum Niger: Another member of the fungus family that is highly adaptable and can be found in a variety of environments. The A.Niger strain loves a damp environment… just like that kit bag you’ve had for several months/years (delete as appropriate) and never washed.
Influenza: Ah, if you were wondering when this one would crop up, then here it is. Influenza can cause an infection in respiratory tract and is spread through sneezing, coughing or touching. Now you all know roller derby is a physical sport so next time you get a cold give a thought for your fellow team mates because inevitably you’re spreading your germs!
Clostridium difficile: Uh-oh, stand clear of this baby; or as it’s more commonly known – the “sickness” bug. This friendly bacteria lives harmlessly in our guts, but the spores are hardy little blighters and can linger on many different surfaces (like your pads) if you’ve been exposed the bug, and can be easily transferred from surface to body through touch.
And last, but by no means least, we have Streptococcus: A lovely little bacteria that has three different groups with varying degrees of nastiness. However the most common infection caused by Streptococcus is a sore throat and is spread through inhalation off an infected person through their coughs and sneeze. (The phrase “Coughs and Sneezes Spread Diseases” was coined for a reason.) The good news is the bacteria dies after about 24hours.
But how can we avoid them? Well it’s quite simple really; stop being lazy and clean your kit!
My top tips are:
- Wash your pads at least (AT LEAST) once a month and in the interim a) let them out to Dry and air after every practice and b) Spray them with a diluted white vinegar or apple cider solution HINT: Don’t forget your kit bag!
- Clean your mouth guard – use a mouth wash, tooth paste or gentle cleansing solution.
- Cover up any cuts or scratches before practice and clean with an antiseptic wipe after
- Erm wash yourself… no brainer really
- Don’t be a hero! If you’re poorly with a cough, cold, sore through or “sickness bug” give yourself a couple of days to recover – no-one will thank you for it otherwise
Walker Texas Danger