Basketballs, volleyballs, and every other sports ball: covered in dirt, covered in sweat. But not just these—they’re also covered with icky and dangerous germs. Germs such as staphylococcus, candida and E. coli, oh my.
A study reported by Science Daily found that sports balls “can spread potentially dangerous germs among players. Their findings may bring a new awareness to athletes, coaches, trainers and parents regarding safe sanitation practices for athletes.” The study also found that the germ selected for the study (Staphylococcus aureus) was capable of surviving on the sports ball after 72 hours in storeroom conditions. Yikes.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, commonly referred to as MRSA, is a kind of staph that is particularly worrisome because of its resistance to many antibiotics. Athletes with MRSA infections often must endure emergency room visits, costly outpatient follow-ups, and time away from games and practice. (Three studies by the Texas State Department of Health found that the infection rate among football players was sixteen times the national average.)
The study continues: “The overwhelming prevalence of Staph. aureus we encountered supports our understanding of the gym environment as a reservoir of germs. Institutions, coaches, and athletes should take note of the role the sports ball can play as a vehicle for the transmission of potentially life-threatening germs.”
The UC Irvine folks doing the study used UVC light to sterilize, but the same job can be done by Zogics’ antibacterial gym equipment wipes, or perhaps our EPA-registered broad spectrum surface disinfectant—a one-step surface disinfectant, germicidal detergent, surface cleaner, mildewstat, fungicide, virucide, and deodorizer.
And of course don’t forget to wipe down the gym fitness balls, a piece of gym equipment most people tend to forget to clean. Inflatable fitness balls and weighted medicine balls are a playground for germs. Such balls have been cultured and what did the researchers find? Our old friend Staph. aureus.
Another tip: use a hand sanitizer after using the balls, and keep face towels separate from towels you use on the equipment. And for gym owners and managers, our gym wipes are a great place to start a healthier regimen.
Balls, my friends: clean ’em before putting them in your hands, and again when you’re done with them. You can dodge, you can crunch, and you can dig all you like to get physically fit—but you also need clean balls to stay healthy.