It has caused numerous fighters to pull out of scheduled fights, but just what is staph infection? and how does one get it?

The term “staph” is short for the full on medical term Staphylococcus, which many people carry on their skin around the mouth, nose, genitals and anal areas. Merely carrying this bacteria does not cause the infection, but when the skin gets broken due to injury, the bacteria enters the wound and causes staph infection.

Staph can cause a wide variety of infections in humans and other animals through either toxin production or invasion. Staphylococcal toxins are also a known common cause of food poisoning, as it can grow in poorly stored food.

There a few different types of Staph infections a person can contract, but the Staphylococcus Aureus is more common amongst the MMA fighters. Aureus bacteria can live in dry surfaces like training mats, pads and gym clothes. However, it grows best in moist surfaces like sweaty gear and clothing, gloves, etc.

This is why fighters are forced to pull out of fights and also halts there training in some areas, because they could spread the infection to others they train with.

Typical symptoms of a staph infection are red bumps, that may appear to look like pimples or spider bites, and can be very painful. If caught early it can be treated with a simple oral antibiotic or a topical solution. For more aggressive strains it may require IV antibiotics or possibly surgical treatments.

It is pretty pretty easy to prevent yourself from getting a staph infection, just use common sense and use proper hygiene. After a work out scrub thoroughly with an antimicrobial soap. If a staph outbreak does unfortunately happen in your gym – using a surgical scrub such as Hibiclens is a great start, and are available over-the-counter.

Always keep your training gear clean, from gloves to pads & mats, gi’s and shorts and everything else in between. This is not only for your own protection but for that of your partners and fellow members of your gym.

Also see: What is Cauliflower Ear?