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You are filthy, go take a bath…is what we wish we could say to every smelly, non-shower-taking kid in every practice room everywhere. Unfortunately, we can’t, and that probably wouldn’t get to the real issue of why it’s absolutely paramount for every wrestler to practice phenomenal personal hygiene. In all contact sports, wrestling in particular, we fight the constant battle of preventing skin infections. The most common and most well-known skin infection is referred to as “Ringworm”. Ringworm is not actually a worm at all; it is a fungus called Tinea. There are also a multitude of bacterial and viral skin infections that can be spread from skin to skin contact, like Staph infection, Impetigo, and Herpes simplex. Collectively, skin infections are endearingly referred to as “the funk” in the sport of wrestling, especially when wrestlers are not sure what type of infection it is yet.
There are several steps that one can take to prevent or dramatically decrease the risk of catching The Funk. For coaches, it’s going to be super critical to keep all mats and any other team practice equipment sanitized, including weights and exercise equipment. For individual wrestlers, your job is to keep your own body, and all of your wrestling gear washed, clean, and sanitized. Your gear may include practice clothes, shoes, gear bags, singlet, headgear, sweats, kneedpads, and anything else you use. Also, make sure your wrestling gear only makes contact with the wrestling area. If you need to walk off the mat, remove your shoes or put slippers or Cleatskins on over them.
Unfortunately, you can’t control how well others clean themselves, their equipment, or the mats. Also, everyone has some amount of bacteria and other microorganisms living on their skin at any given time. When you start sweating and your pores open, it makes it much easier for those things to sink in once you stop sweating. That is why it is best to shower within 30-45 minutes of the end of practice or sooner if possible. Once your stop sweating, you increase your chance of catching something, or even having a normal acne breakout, which isn’t fun either.
If you can’t shower within 30-45 minutes of practice, you can use any of the body wipes we carry to wipe down and disinfect any exposed areas of your skin, to address key areas until you can shower. This is definitely not a substitute for showering. We also have several soaps and body washes for the shower that will do more to target those nasty bugs than normal soap.
The easiest way an infection can get in your skin is through broken skin, like a popped zit or scratch. Make sure you keep your nails short and don’t go around popping zits before practice. If you do get some kind of scratch or cut, do your best to bandage is up before you continue wrestling.
For prevention, we also carry some foaming skin creams that will act as a barrier between your skin and the outside world. It won’t kill anything or treat current infections, but it is meant to act a shield to The Funk as sunscreen is to the sun. You can apply this before every practice and match and it should last for several hours.
If you have any questions on personal hygiene prodcuts, please give us a call at 1-888-887-8893
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