Nasty infections you can catch at the gym
By: Marylin Salgado
September 9, 2019
Looking good comes with a price; and I am not referring to the gym membership. I am talking about the nasty germs you can pick up from equipment and shower stalls that might leave you running to the doctor’s office, urgent care or even the emergency room. Always wipe equipment before and after use. Not everyone will be as clean as you are.
But don’t let this be an excuse to check out of your workouts, yet. If you are a gym rat, much like myself, you will find ways to stay clean and clear from the places that breed germs that you might get sick from. For starters, I shower at home after a vigorous workout, but I only live 3 minutes away, so I don’t spend much time sweating in the car. If you must use the shower because you are working out before starting your work day, then take a pair of shower slippers and protect your feet from the nastiness someone else might be walking around with.
Just remember that the health benefits you will obtain from hitting the gym will far outweigh any potential germs you might catch at the gym. In fact, your chances of getting sick at the gym are probably far less than the ones you might get from holding a shopping cart, which has been found to be one of the biggest germ-infested surfaces anywhere. Even the doctor’s office might carry more germs, since when you go for a sick visit, it is good to remember, you are not the only one there who is sick. People at the gym are generally healthy and have pretty strong immune systems. Generally, if you are ill, you are not doing miles on the treadmill; you are recovering at home. Some food for thought there.
** NOTE** Before starting any daily workouts, I support my immune system by taking TokkyoNutrtition 3X Natural Support three times a day along with TokkyoNutrition Omega 3-6-9. 3X Natural helps in weight loss and supports a healthy liver. Please visit us at TokkyoNutrition.com to order these and other great products.
Now let us get to the heart of the topic and list some of the nasty ones you might catch at the gym. I will also provide you with some simple and effective ways to avoid catching germs and getting sick at the gym.
- Staph infection – this one is pretty common. Many forms of staph are not strong enough to cause an infection, but it does not mean you want to walk around with it, either. Carrying a hand sanitizer bottle in your gym bag is a good idea. You should also wash your hands before handling any gym equipment and certainly after, especially if you’ve wiped down any gym equipment. MRSA is the most serious form of staph, and this one is rarely, if ever, found in the gym.
- Athlete’s Foot – which is a fungus, is generally found in dark and moist areas of the body, like your feet. But it doesn’t only live in your feet, it can spread to the groin, under the arm pits, and women, under your breasts. It has a very unpleasant odor, and in more severe cases, needs a prescribed antifungal powder or cream to treat it. Some doctor’s will tell you that hygiene is the most important part of preventing this nasty fungus, but if you sweat, don’t go home and sit around for a few hours in that moist body heat, since your body will suffer from some serious BO and a nasty growth of fungus. Yuck!
- Ringworm – lives and thrives in wet areas. Why would anyone want to work in a sweaty, wet machine that someone used before? Ringworm is another form of fungus that may develop in similar conditions to Athlete’s foot. Wear shower slippers and dry clothes to the gym and avoid sitting around in sweaty workout gear for prolonged periods of time. Having a towel to dry that workout sweat will help in many more ways than one.
- Cold and flu – I workout during a cold. But if the cold is severe enough to cause me to have coughing spasms, I rather stay home. Not only are you wasting precious resources needed to recover; working out during a severe cold can actually make you feel worse. One or two days of rest will be worth the energy needed to get back to your training. And no one in the gym will be thanking you for spreading your germs around.
- Plantar warts – so nasty and they spread insanely quick. I actually had this issue when I was 11 years old from swimming in a community pool. I scratched my feet against the bottom of the pool, and one of them ended up developing a root inside my foot. Cringe! I ended up with a huge root and over 30 warts that grew attached to it. Ongoing treatment with a podiatrist took a total of 6 months. Again, wear slippers in the shower areas and make sure your feet are clean and dry after you shower, or exit a swimming pool. Applying some over the counter fungal powder to your feet might also be a good idea.
- Impetigo – I also had my personal fight with this one, but not at the gym. My son was exposed to the bacteria at a fresh water lake. After a swim with my son, he caught it and spread it to me. He had a sore on his lip and it spread to me while I was nursing him, even with thorough hand washing. It is highly contagious and causes painful red sores on the face. Mine ended up growing inside my nose and then spread to the outside. I lost plenty of skin and almost lost the tip of my nose. It is generally in the staph and strep family, and it is spread by sharing towels or touching another person’s skin in the gym. Ok…why? Bring your own towels and keep skin to skin interaction at home.
- Herpes – if you are spreading Herpes in the gym, you might not be working out at all, or, your workout is completely different and hidden somewhere. But for those not spreading it sexually, it has been known to be spread among wrestlers, because of their close contact during the sport. This is a very uncommon one, but it has been found in the gym.
I am not a germaphobe, but I certainly don’t want to bring anything home. I have been attending the same gym for the last 3 years, and have never had any health issues. One thing to notice is the cleanliness of the gym. Whenever I am there, I see staff constantly wiping down and dusting the equipment. Big plus! They also just renovated the entire place, so the shower stalls are new, bathrooms are new and gym equipment is also new. The maintenance and cleanliness of a gym, no matter how old, makes a huge difference.
If you notice the gym’s carpets carry an odor, and you will notice it when you do floor exercises, you should mention this to the management team. Carpets house all different sorts of nasty germs and bacteria. I have known of two cases of flesh-eating bacteria from individuals who fell and suffered carpet abrasions at home. These two individuals shampooed their carpets on a regular basis, so at the gym, the bacterial counts are definitely a lot higher.
Simple things to remember; hand wash on the regular, don’t stay in sweaty clothes for prolonged periods of time, do your laundry as soon as possible and don’t let those germs live and grow in your sweaty clothes, don’t share towels or water bottles with anyone, and lastly, avoid person to person contact. Workout as if you are the only person in the gym. You will thank yourself later.
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