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CareSafe  Provides State of the Art Infection Prevention Options for Healthcare Facilities

How the University of Illinois Athletes are Safe in the Battle Against MRSA

Recent publicity about athletes becoming victims of infectious disease has heightened concerns about the rise of Superbugs—microbes that are resistant to even our most powerful antibiotics. Athletes, especially those who come into close contact, are vulnerable to viruses and bacteria carried by team mates. Training facilities and locker rooms can be a breeding ground for sickness and infection. University and Professional sports teams are having to treat their facilities in ways hospitals have been for years.

The University of Illinois Fighting Illini didn’t want to take the risk of methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), benching their athletes. They reached out to CareSafe, a Georgia company whose primary focus was working with healthcare facilities to help control infections. CareSafe’s product is an self-sanitizing system that offers an intriguing solution to U of IL’s challenge in keeping their locker and training rooms clean and safe. CareSafe’s system is a combination of an EPA registered disinfectant and a TiO2 and ZN coating. The system kills staph and other dangerous microbes on contact and protects between cleanings.

The University of Illinois is a NCAA school and boasts a dynamic athletic program. “Here at U of IL, we are committed to protecting our athletes by having our equipment, weight rooms and locker rooms treated. The treatment will last for a year and gives us the peace of mind of keeping our athletes and staff safe. Our coaches are thrilled that we put safety first in our programs allowing them to concentrate on what they do best, coach,” says Lenny Willis, Assistant Athletic Director of Sports Facilities. “This is the fifth year we have treated our facilities and we have had no staph infections since we started this treatment.”

Compared to other solutions, CareSafe’s system is relatively inexpensive. According to Kim Gay of CareSafe, the system includes disinfection with a hydrogen peroxide disinfectant and a protectant coating that is applied with an electrostatic sprayer for complete coverage. Everyday cleaning will not disrupt the protected surface.

“Our state-of-the-art electrostatic sprayer provides a negative charge to the droplets, giving them an attractive force 40 times stronger than gravity,” she said. “This allows the droplets to coat all the nooks and crannies where germs can lurk.”

According to some medical professionals, the problem with antibiotic resistant microbes has been evolving in locker rooms for years but hasn’t gotten much attention until well-known professional athletes started missing games due to skin infections. Because of close contact, sweat and a host of other conditions that can turn wrestling mats, gyms and locker rooms into a petri dish, a problem that once was isolated primarily to hospitals now prowls in most athletic facilities in the country.

Staph infection is the most common outbreak. It typically spreads though skin to skin contact but can also be transmitted through sports equipment, work out areas and unwashed towels and uniforms. The danger of skin infections is a growing concern among athletes, coaches and officials because of the high contact of most sports.

“Lessons in sportsmanship, teamwork, goal-setting and commitment are an integral part of any athletic experience, much less in helping bring together a winning team” says John DeGrandpre, CareSafe’s CEO. “By treating their sports equipment, they are ensuring they do everything possible to keep their athletes and staff healthy, which sets a fitting example for the players.”

In an era when superbugs and ordinary microbes seem to be gaining the upper hand, medical science is forced to seek newer, more effective treatments. CareSafe’s protectant system is the solution more and more athletic facilities like the University of Illinois are choosing to help fight the battle.