Going to the gym on a regular basis allows you to get fit and enjoy the many health perks of maintaining an ideal weight.
Unfortunately, it’s not just buff people, heavy dumbbells and hulking fitness machines that you can find at the gym — there are also those that are invisible to the naked eye and can cause all kinds of skin and respiratory infections!
If you’re not careful, sore muscles and wet workout clothes are not the only things that you could be taking home from the gym, but also any of the following:
Have you heard about the very terrifying methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection? You can get it at nursing homes, hospitals and other health care facilities, and some cases of it can be life-threatening.
The risk of getting an MRSA infection at the gym is very low, but still you can get the microbes responsible for it — Staphylococcus bacteria — where you go to exercise.
Experts say that about a third of people have Staphylococcus bacteria on their skin, and some of them can be found at the gym. Those microbes could attack a break on your skin, causing an infection usually in the form of a boil.
The next time you’re at the gym, avoid walking around barefoot at all costs — unless you are willing to end up with athlete’s foot, a very itchy and embarrassing skin condition that’s caused by a fungus.
But just because you always have your footwear on at the gym doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re off the hook. According to experts, it’s very much possible for you to end up with athlete’s foot as a result of your very own poor hygiene practices.
In order to keep athlete’s foot from striking, make sure that you change your socks between gym visits. And also, allow your workout shoes to air-dry completely before putting them on again.
It’s not just yucky athlete’s foot that you may get from walking barefoot at the gym, but also plantar warts — warts that appear on the heels or other weight-bearing portions of your feet. Other than looking horrid, plantar warts can also be really painful.
Experts say that plantar warts are brought about by certain strains of the humanpapilloma virus (HPV), and they can easily spread from person to person rather easily. The problem is a lot of people have HPV and do not know it.
Worry not because the strains of HPV responsible for plantar warts are not the same ones behind genital warts. In addition, plantar warts tend to go away on their own after some time. But while they’re around, they can leave you in a lot of discomfort.
Hot Tub Rash
You may feel extremely privileged because your gym offers its members a hot tub. But be careful — if that hot tub at the gym doesn’t contain enough chlorine or any other disinfectant, you may end up with what’s known as hot tub rash.
Sometimes referred to as hot tub folliculitis, it is a skin infection that can be blamed on a bacterium called Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and it is the same microbe that’s responsible for swimmer’s ear.
If you can’t help but use the hot tub at the gym, just make sure that you wash your body with antibacterial soap and water afterwards. Also, wash the clothes you used with soap.
Cold and Flu
If you think that all kinds of gross skin infections are the only ones that you could get at the gym, think again — if you’re not careful, you could go down with the common cold and flu most especially when these upper respiratory tract infections are in season.
Especially if you have this habit of touching your mouth, eyes and nose, your risk of having a bout of the cold or flu at the gym is high.
In order to lower your risk of having an upper respiratory tract infection, always use a hand sanitizer after using any piece of equipment. Also, steer clear of any gym-goer who is sneezing or coughing.