Youth sports provide confidence, improve hand-eye coordination and foster friendships. However, kids need to be on-guard and use their germ smarts, even while playing their favorite games!
Dressing areas, locker rooms and gym bags are frequently used, yet often overlooked when it comes to sanitary practices. These damp, confined spaces are the perfect breeding grounds for millions of germs.
Check out the below list of “Four Things Your Little Athletes Should Never Do!”
1. Share Towels. Perhaps obvious, but definitely worth the reminder: Make sure your children know it is dangerous and unsanitary to share towels, as they can pass along threadworm parasites and infections such as diarrhea. And for that matter, kids should not share similar belongings—like mouth guards, underwear, toothbrushes and hairbrushes—that come in contact with body orifices and skin cells. Let children know that sharing is a good thing; but in these cases, will do more harm than good to their buddy’s well-being.
2. Leave Clothes in Gym Bags. Dirty, damp clothes left in the confined space of your children’s gym bags are guaranteed to multiply germs within hours, thus creating rancid odors. Make sure kids unpack their gym bags each and every night. Easy-to-use antibacterial wipes are perfect for sanitizing interior linings and pockets prior to airing out gym bags. Also important to note, do not let kids toss their dirty gear into the hamper. Instruct athletes to hang damp clothes over the door (or outside on the line) to dry prior to tossing them atop the heap of family laundry. Taking these extra steps will safeguard your children while simultaneously teaching proper hygiene habits.
3. Walk Around Barefoot. Staph infection is of utmost concern, particularly in the locker room where bacteria runs rampant. Infected toenails, fungi, cuts and scrapes are more than likely to be present in the locker room, and feet can very easily pick up bacteria from the floor. What’s even more frightening? Experts note that 25 percent of the population carries staph in the nose, mouth, genital or anal area. Staph infections typically begin as minor cuts that become infected with bacteria and can spread from there. Take the extra precaution, and instruct your kids to wear water shoes or sandals during post-game showers.
4. Attend Games/Practices When Sick. Be courteous to fellow parents and teammates by having your children sit out (or stay home, altogether) when they are sick. Think about it: There is no place for germs when athletes are huddling in a group, stretching side by side or running down the field breathing heavily. A contagious cold is simply not welcome on or near the field / court / pool / ice rink / gym mat—you get the picture! In addition to being responsible and courteous, keeping kids at home will help them preserve energy to fight off infection and recover quickly.