Participating in organized sports can bring plenty of health benefits for children and teens, but it also comes with certain risks, including the spread of infectious diseases.
This week, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued new guidelines on on the risk factors to look out for, as well as tips to help prevent these infections and advice on how to treat them when they occur.
“Joining an athletic team is a fun, physically challenging and healthy way for kids to practice teamwork and sportsmanship, but they do need to understand the importance of good hygiene,” H. Dele Davis, MD, lead author of the report and member of the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases, said in a statement.
The most common sports-related infections are spread by skin-to-skin contact with athletes who have infections, or by sharing equipment or contact with contaminated items like towels.
That’s why athletic trainer Anais Mixson makes sure the mats at Neptune High School in New Jersey are wiped clean with an antibacterial every night.