Why are there so many staph infections in the NFL?

If you hadn’t noticed, staph infections are running rampant in the NFL. Kellen Winslow just became the sixth member of the Cleveland Browns to become infected, and he missed a game because of it. The Colts just denied a report that Peyton Manning had a staph infection in the preseason.

So what the hell is a staph infection? WebMD says the following:

It is a type of infection caused by a Staphylococcus (or “staph”) bacteria. Actually, about 25% of people normally carry staph in the nose, mouth, genitals, and anal area. The foot is also very prone to pick up bacteria from the floor. The infection often begins with a little cut, which gets infected with bacteria.

These staph infections range from a simple boil to antibiotic-resistant infections to flesh-eating infections. The difference between all these is how deep and how fast the infection spreads, and how treatable it is with antibiotics. The antibiotic-resistant infections are more common in North America, because of our overuse of antibiotics.

The entry goes on to talk about the dangers of a NFL locker room (or any locker room, actually) and how to prevent staph infections:

Any time you have a cut or skin breakdown, wash it with soap and water, keep it clean and dry, use antiseptic ointment, and keep it covered. A couple of recent outbreaks among football players began when one team member had a boil, and the infection was spread to other team members.

The staph infection is contagious if the wound is weeping or draining, and if people share towels or other items that are contaminated. Wearing foot coverings in locker rooms and other commonly used areas can help prevent contamination.

Weeping boils? Ugh. That’s just gross.

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