Whenever you have a contact sport like Jiu-Jitsu you are at risk of catching and spreading various skin infections. If not treated correctly these skin infections can lead to serious medical problems and even require hospitalization. You must do your part to protect the safety and health of your peers. Please read the guidelines below and do your part to keep your academy a safe environment.
Actions to prevent Skin Infections
- Ensure your uniform is washed before coming to class. If possible use a disinfectant washing solution.
- After class shower ASAP. If possible use a tea tree based soap this helps cleanse and disinfect the skin without removing the good bacteria your skin provides which helps fight against infections.
- Monitor your skin. If you see any inflammation, redness, blisters, or unusual marks on the skin please go to your doctor for a check-up.
- Look after your peers. If you see someone with what looks to be a skin infection kindly ask the coach to talk with them. This might seem awkward but it saves you and your peers getting infected and either needing medical attention or being away from the mats.
- Monitor cuts and open wounds. Whenever you have a cut or open wound keep a close eye on it and make sure you bandage the wounds to the best of your ability. Once you’ve finished training use a disinfectant spray to ensure no bacteria has gotten into the wound.
- STAY OFF THE MATS. If you have a skin infection or are unsure if you have a skin infection don’t go to class and stay off the mats. We all know jiu jitsu is addictive and no one wants to miss mat time but if you’re infected you must ensure the infection has healed before returning.
- If possible, as an additional precaution, especially when training no gi, wearing a long sleeve rash guard and leggings are recommended. 80% of all skin infections occur on the limbs of your body. The more layers you have between your partner and the mats the lower chance you have of getting an infection or having your arm scratched and leading to an open wound.
Gyms, especially martial arts gyms, are usually hubs for different types of skin infections. The higher the number of people training a day, the higher the risk is of that gym becoming a breeding ground for unwanted germs. Grappling martial arts, like BJJ, wrestling, Sambo, etc have an even greater potential given the close contact and the amounts of moisture in the air during a usual training session. Out of all the possibilities and infections, a BJJ staph infection is the most common one and it requires immediate medical attention.
Staph is a bacterial infection the bacteria that cause most cases, is known as Staphylococcus aureus whilst this is the most common with poor treatment you can run directly into the much nastier version of the infection such as MRSA.
Since it is a skin infection, the bacteria usually targets the layers of the skin, but it can go deeper as well. If it does, it runs into fasciitis and that’s when things get serious because it reaches the muscles, and might even get to the bones. The reason staph is so common is that we all contain it on our skin, the bacteria in staph lives on us at all times which is why it’s so easy for it to get into an open wound when performing a contact sport such as bjj.
Common symptoms include boils and oozing blisters. Staph can also cause food poisoning resulting in nausea, vomiting and stomach ache. In rare cases, staph infections can turn deadly if the bacteria invade deeper into the body or enters the bloodstream resulting in fever, joint and muscle pain.
Symptoms of a BJJ staph infection vary a lot, but some are quite specific, especially if you don’t react immediately. Usually, one of the first things you’ll notice is a rash that might, or might not be itc
hy. The rash usually then develops into a pimple-like structure and is easily confused with acne. It may turn into a sore as well if the pimple bursts on its own.
Other Common Skin Infections
Ringworm – A fungal infection that can appear anywhere on the body. It frequently looks like a raised circle or ring, usually red and with scales forming on top of it. It starts with an itchy rash similar to a BJJ staph infection.
Impetigo – A very contagious bacterial skin infection, once again caused by a member of the Staphylococcus family. It appears as yellow, very itchy lesions that usually appear on the limbs, but might also spread to other parts of the body.
Herpes – Also known as “wrestlers herpes” this is a very common BJJ skin infection that appears as clusters of red blisters that are painful when touched. The commonly affected area is the head, but it may spread further and can be accompanied by fever and swollen lymph nodes.
We have listed below some products that will benefit and assist with reducing your risk of infection. All these products are cost effective and can massively improve your chance of not getting infected with consistency.
Tea Tree Soap – Tea tree soap is perfect for your post workout showers as they disinfect/cleanse your skin without removing any of the healthy bacteria that helps fight off infections. A Lot of your regular contains harsh ingredients that strip away all the healthy bacteria on your skin using a tea tree based soap avoids this.
Antifungal Laundry Liquid – Using an antifungal liquid when washing your gi and rashguard will help to disinfect all the bacteria that might not have been washed out.
Hydrocolloid Bandages and Tape – Whenever you have a small cut or open wound on your body you’re at risk of it getting infected especially in a bjj environment. Hydrocolloid bandages help remove the bacteria that might have gotten into the wound as well as help heal the wound faster. Using a bandage combined with tape is a good way to cover up your open wounds and prevent infection.
Antiseptic Spray – An open wound combined with bjj training is a perfect recipe for skin infection. After class or after a roll a quick spray on open wounds and cuts is a great way to quickly remove any bacteria that is sitting on the wound.
Final Words – No one wants to miss time on the mats however the health of you and your peers always comes first. A simple scratch or pimple can quickly turn into a deadly skin infection when combined with poor hygiene and contact training. A lot of people, especially new members, aren’t aware of the dangers of skin infections. When unsure about the condition of your skin you have to be open and honest with the people you are training with. Please look after your health as well as your training partners, go to a doctor, get yourself checked. With a healthy routine you can avoid a lot of these risks so educate you and your peers and look after one another.