Staph is a nasty bacteria that can become a massive problem if it is not detected early. A lot of times detection is difficult because it could resemble a bug bite or allergic rash. There are differences however that will help you identify it before it is too late. In a contact sport such as Jiu-jitsu staph occurs more often than people think. Improper maintenance of mat area, people failing to maintain hygiene, not washing your Gi, open cuts, and not using antibacterial products can all contribute to developing this horrible infection. What should you do to prevent staph? How do you kill it at an early stage?
Wash your hands
Keeping your hands clean is one of the easiest and most straightforward ways to prevent staph. Always wash your hands before Jiu-jitsu class, during, and after. Most people that train BJJ arrive from somewhere else before class. It could be work or school. These are public places. Public places are notorious for transmitting bacteria and germs. I should mention that staph is resilient and can live on a person or object for long periods of time. So if you shake hands with Joe at work and then get into your car, some of Joe might end up on your steering wheel. Then Joe will come along for his first free Jiu-jitsu class.
Wear a rash guard
Rashguards will protect you from germs, but also prevent scratches or mat burns on your skin. One of the fastest ways to catch staph is through open wounds. Bacteria will get into your bloodstream quickly. Treating a staph infection could cost between $30-$1000 depending on how severe it is and your health insurance coverage. An inexpensive rash guard will cost you $25 purchasing one is worth it. While you are at it, buy a pair of ‘’dojo slippers’’.
Dojo slippers only beyond this point
Some academies will offer slippers to their members if they forget to bring their own. They will have a no shoes or barefoot rule beyond a certain point. Walking barefoot even inside the dojo is unacceptable. Outside shoes have many germs which end up in the dojo. You can transfer these germs on the mats. When you walk into your academy, you should change to your ‘’dojo slippers’’ to walk around it. During training, some genius ‘’entrepreneurs’’ might need to use the restroom. So they decide to do so by going barefoot. WTF? Mind as well avoid going to the toilet and piss on the mats. Anytime you step off the mats wear your flip-flops. Staph is a pain in the ass!
Trim your nails
Trimming your nails protects you and others from getting staph for two reasons. One, you are not going to scratch people with dirty fingernails. Typically open wounds occur during live training when you are not able to control everything, including your Catwoman skills. Second, cutting your nails eliminates a lot of bacteria which tends to live underneath them. Most people fail to wash their nails with soap thoroughly. With that said, if you are going to use a nail clipper make sure it is your own. Some academies offer nail clippers, but too many people forget to cut their nails at home.
Shower with antibacterial soap after training. There are good products on the market which get the job done. Defense soap is a product created by Guy Sako. He is a wrestling coach and came up with the idea to prevent his team from getting infections. A considerable advantage of the soap is that it does not destroy your natural bacteria. The product consists of natural essential oils which have potent antibacterial properties.
Wash your gear
Having many rashguards or Gis would be ideal. If you don’t, however, washing the one you own after every training session works. It is a good idea to buy more of them so you won’t stress about cleaning your Gi and smelling on the days you have class. There is a proper way to wash your gear. First mix vinegar and detergent together. Vinegar helps with killing germs, but it’s not powerful enough to eliminate staph bacteria. Next, wash your gear with hot water at least 122 degrees Fahrenheit. That will kill the germs and staph bacteria.
Staph starts out resembling an insect bite or an ingrown hair. Puss collection is also very common accompanied by pain. Other signs are redness, rash, and in more severe cases fever. Experiencing any of these signs calls for a doctor’s attention. Your chances to get rid of staph are higher when you take care of it early. Early treatment will also save you money and time.
The nature of Jiu-jitsu puts people in danger of getting infected. To minimize the chances create small habits that will help you. Going the extra mile to wash your gear after training, buying another Gi, using a rashguard, trimming your nails, and using products like Defense soap work as an insurance policy. Treating staph ‘’sucks’’ and it will slow down your progress on the mats while keeping you away from training. Failing to take precautions is selfish. Consider other people’s health as well.