Imagine a marathon runner, a cyclist or a swimmer the day after the big race and you’ll probably think of sore muscles and fatigue. But rarely do we hear about skin problems, which are very common. Even tough guys need to baby their skin. In fact, workers in nearly every industry can learn from the athlete’s skin care regimen.
Blisters can trip up the most dedicated marathon runner or sideline the most agile basketball player. They’re a problem in the workplace, too. Some surveys suggest that two-thirds of workers have foot problems. And anything that causes discomfort sets up a worker to be less alert and not as mindful of safety as usual.
Any of these factors increase the risk of blisters:
shoes that don’t fit
To avoid blisters, athletes lubricate their feet with:
Keep feet dry and cool with:
Decrease friction by wearing:
shoes that fit
clean moisture-absorbing synthetic socks
Skin that is exposed to heat or that experiences constant friction or pressure may develop acne mechanica, a form of acne. For example, football players may develop acne mechanica from their shoulder pads.
Acne mechanica may develop on skin covered by:
belts or straps
To avoid acne mechanica:
wear moisture-absorbing clothing beneath gear
shower immediately after removing gear
ALLERGIC CONTACT DERMATITIS
Swimmers sometimes experience allergic reactions to the rubber components of earplugs, bathing caps or goggles. That’s a familiar condition for coal miners, agriculture workers and those in the healthcare industry. Workers in numerous industries are afflicted with red, itchy blisters when they come in contact with an allergenic substance. Over time, the substance wears down the skin’s protective outer layer. This condition is known as allergic contact dermatitis.
Some contributing culprits are:
friction against the skin
To care for allergic contact dermatitis:
avoid contact with the allergen (determined by a patch test)
apply ice or soak in cold water
apply anti-itch lotion or spray
keep affected area clean
Allergic reactions to rubber components is a familiar condition for coal miners, agriculture workers and those in the healthcare industry.
CONCLUSION Smart athletes understand the health risks of their sport and the protections and procedures necessary to guard against them. Learn to recognize and immediately address any signs of skin irritation.