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Can I catch a skin disease by touching athletic equipment?

Yes, skin diseases can be transmitted through contact with athletic equipment. Sports such as football and wrestling where body contact is made have a higher incidence of skin diseases. Football pads, helmets, locker room benches, treatment tables, and athletic attire are common routes for the transmission of skin diseases. Viruses and bacteria are the underlying culprit behind skin diseases. Skin diseases can be prevented by using proper body hygiene, regular washing and cleaning of equipment, and covering any skin injuries such as cuts and abrasions. For all sports, athletic jerseys, shorts and undergarments should be changed daily and should not be stored in lockers overnight. Dark, moist environments, such as lockers and gym bags, are a breeding ground for bacteria growth; therefore athletes should take dirty clothes home every day.

(This answer provided for NATA by Derek Hirai, MS, ATC.)

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.