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10-5-05 – Staph infections are popping up on campuses across Texoma, and while schools expect the outbreaks every year, some local school districts are taking extra measures to keep the germs from spreading.
Doctors see cases all the time, but say the important thing to know about staph is that everyone has the germs. But the cause for concern is when those germs cause infection.
“We take it very seriously,” says Mark Owens, Custodial Supervisor for Denison ISD. “It always seems like especially during football season, we tend to have a heightened awareness about staphococcus.”
Kids are most vulnerable. Doctors say the reason for this is because they are in close contact in school and on the playing field. Staph infections are often brought in from outside sources—one reason parents should teach kids to wash up.
“Kids can't take care of their secretions as well as adults,” says Dr. Duke Carlson, M.D.
“If they cut them selves on a school yard, they're not going in and using antibiotic soap and taking care of it the right way.”
When Denison high school saw the first case come down this fall, they decided to tackle the problem at one of the sources. Now locker rooms are sprayed with a non-acid cleaner daily, and custodians clean several times a day. New antibacterial gel dispensers were installed in locker rooms, and showers will soon have shampoo and soap dispensers, eliminating the passing of germs hand to hand.
With flu season around the corner, schools hope that the extra steps will prevent the spread of those germs as well. So far, it’s worked for staph infections: Denison ISD has not seen a new case in two weeks.
If you do suspect a staph infection, which looks like a boil or irritated cut on the skin that will not heal, contact a doctor immediately.