The benefits of sport participation have been shown time and again, but pediatricians should remain aware of certain dermatological conditions that have been shown to spread rapidly in student-athlete populations, according to a speaker at the American Academy of Dermatology Annual Meeting in San Diego.
Brian B. Adams, MD, MPH, who is an associate professor at the University of Cincinnati, said there are many different types of sports-related skin infections, including bacterial, viral and fungal.
Adams said constant pressure and friction — particularly in contact sports such as wrestling — put student and professional athletes at risk.
Some of the most common bacterial skin infections include impetigo, furunculosis, pitted keratolysis and folliculitis.
Many of these skin infections are prompted by Staphylococcus aureus, so common sense approaches to avoiding spreading infection are warranted. These include avoiding sharing towels and razors, Adams said.
Viral skin infections that are commonly noted among athletes include herpes gladiatorum, herpes rugbeiorum/scrum pox, molluscum contagiosum and verruca. Fungal infections that are commonly found in the student-athlete realm include tinea pedis and tinea corporis gladiatorum.
Adams said although regulations differ by state, there are a few generally accepted treatment guidelines, as recommended by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). In the NCAA’s rules, treatment of bacterial infections with antibiotic therapy for 3 days, with no occurrence of skin lesions for 2 days, is recommended before return to play. Topical antifungal therapy for 3 days and oral therapy for scalp lesions for 14 days is recommended, as is coverage of lesions for fungal infections.
Finally, for herpes gladiatorum, NCAA regulations recommend that lesions must be crusted, antivirals should be administered for 5 days, and no new blisters should be seen for 3 days before return to play.
Disclosure: Dr. Adams reports no relevant financial disclosures.
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