General chatter - nurses or anyone? mrsa and cleaning football gear

10-18-2008, 07:22 PM
There's apparently a chance that mrsa or some other bad bacterial infection is going around the schools, so our son's coach requires that all the players' pads and inside of the helmets be cleaned regularly. What is the best way to do this to prevent spread of these bugs? Most of the pieces are foam or vinyl, but the inside of the shoulder pads is a polyester fabric (but doesn't come off of the plastic parts of the pads). Is washing the pad surfaces with dish detergent (like Dawn) good enough? Or, do I need to be using alcohol on all the surfaces?

One thing to note is that my son is allergic to a lot of household products, so we can't just spray the pads with lysol. Anyone else have to do this and know the best way to clean the stuff? Help!

10-18-2008, 07:36 PM
I know bleach sprays would work, but not sure about using it on foam or polyester fabrics. I googled it & found a few companies selling safer products that you can purchase. Everything we use in the hospital is pretty strong stuff, so your son may not tolerate being exposed to them.

Also our Infection Control nurses recommend using Hibiclens for showering with occasionally to reduce the chances of picking up this bug on your skin. Here's a link to this skin cleanser.

10-18-2008, 07:38 PM
The health department may have someone fairly well-versed in MRSA's and how easily they're transmitted and what cleaning measures are required. Especially if there's a local bug going around, they'd know the characteristics of the particular strain.

Ordinary staph is pretty easy to manage with just a normal soap and water washing, and the best protection against staph is intact skin and a healthy immune system. I'm very prone to staph infections, and my doctor says it's because of my immunity, because staph is so common that most people have it on their skin and in their respiratory tract and it does them no harm, because their skin and immunity are strong. But, I don't know much about MRSA's at all. Whether they're generically easier to catch, and harder to kill, or whether they're just harder to get rid of and more dangerous once they bypass the immune system.

10-18-2008, 08:49 PM
The community aquired strains are proving to be harder to get rid of than the hospital aquired ones and kids in contact sports unfortunately don't always have intact skin. We see one or two moms on our OB floor come in that have had an MRSA skin or other body site infection in the near past. It is becoming increasing common, especially in athletics.

10-18-2008, 08:51 PM
My husband plays arena football and I disinfect his pads with Shaklee's basic G. He is very sensitive to detergents and whatnot as well, and this hasn't affected him at all.

I usually just mix it according to directions, spray it on and let it air dry.

10-18-2008, 09:50 PM
Here's a link to the CDC's page on MRSA.
It's not really specific on how to clean equipment:

"How should sports equipment be cleaned?

Equipment, such as helmets and protective gear, should be cleaned according to the equipment manufacturers' instructions to make sure the cleaner will not harm the item.
Shared equipment should be cleaned after each use and allowed to dry. "

10-19-2008, 08:56 AM
Thanks a lot for the info and links everyone! Very helpful info.:thanks:

10-21-2008, 09:43 AM
I just read this today and thought I'd pass it along (it still doesn't give any specific cleaning practices though). Did the coach have any ideas?? The school should be able to get a commercial cleaner that is known to kill MRSA.

"Universities tackle drug-resistant staph infections.
Alabama's Press-Register (10/15, Busby) reports, "Drug-resistant staph infections have become a serious issue at colleges, especially for athletes, who may be the most vulnerable." According to "a report by the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD)," methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) "is becoming increasingly prevalent among young athletes in contact sports." Report author Brian B. Adams, M.D., M.P.H., of the University of Cincinnati, pointed out that the "nature of athletics...puts sports participants at risk." Dr. Adams explained that "physical contact, shared facilities and equipment, and poor hygiene" all play a role in the spread of MRSA. To counteract MRSA, Auburn University bought athletic-facility equipment "that kills bacteria with ozone." Meanwhile, the University of Mobile "is using antimicrobial cleaners specifically targeted for MRSA 'in areas where we know we have direct skin-to-hard-surface contact,'" a spokeswoman said. And, according to a spokesman, Spring Hill College "disinfects all athletic equipment and locker rooms daily with an antibacterial solution." "

10-21-2008, 05:03 PM
ddc-thanks for that article. Coach's idea was to "have your mom spray everything with Lysol" Unfortunately, we can't do that due to allergies, so I've been washing everything with dish detergent (even thought about putting the leg, hip, knee, and butt pads in the dishwasher, but then thought twice about it:p) I just wasn't sure if washing with Dawn is sufficient for some of these bugs, but according to some of what I read on the links posted, any detergent seems to work. These bacterias are most resistant when they get on or in the body, I guess.

I don't know if the school can afford the equipment to do the disinfecting themselves, but it would be a really good idea. I know they send the equipment off after the season's over for a thorough cleaning. I might take a copy of that article to the coach in case he's interested. Thanks again:D