You most likely don’t give it some thought, however a typical locker room is a large breeding floor for germs. It’s naturally heat and moist and other people come and go, typically bringing colds, flu or different infections with them.
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Yes, you go to the fitness center to enhance your well being, not catch a bug. But keep in mind that though fungus and micro organism could lurk, you possibly can keep away from them pretty simply with some easy bug-busting tips.
The two commonest points you’ll run into are athlete’s foot and staphylococcus aureus, says Robert Gray, MS, ATC.
Realizing they’re there may be half the battle, however there’s nonetheless extra you are able to do.
How to keep away from athlete’s foot
Athlete’s foot is brought on by a dermatophyte, a kind of fungus that thrives in heat, moist environments like bogs and showers. The commonest technique to get it’s by coming into contact with surfaces contaminated with the fungus.
Symptoms of athlete’s foot embrace a scaly, itchy rash on the ft that may sting or burn and uncooked pores and skin between the toes. You sometimes can deal with it with an over-the-counter antifungal cream. If that’s ineffective, your doctor can provide you a prescription treatment.
Aside from washing and drying your ft off after exercising — particularly between the toes — your essential protection in opposition to athlete’s foot is decreasing your publicity.
“You want to minimize contact with locker room and bathroom floors,” Mr. Gray says. “Wear flip-flops — even in the shower. You can also protect your bare feet by standing on a clean towel while changing your clothes.”
And don’t overlook to deal with your sneakers with an anti-fungal powder to keep away from the potential for recurrence.
The greatest protection in opposition to staph infections
Staph infections are brought on by staphylococcus aureus, a bacterium many individuals keep it up their pores and skin and about 30 % carry of their noses. It’s sometimes innocent, however it could trigger pores and skin infections or develop into extra severe when it strikes into the bloodstream. It can also infect the heart or lungs.
“Staph can enter the body through a cut in the skin,” Mr. Gray says. “You see it most often in those who have an open wound or someone coming to the gym after surgery. But it can happen with any nick or cut in the skin.”
“If you have an ingrown hair or a nick around the cuticles or nails, you don’t always think a small area can create a problem. But infections will invade the weakest link and that is always a crack in the skin,” he provides.
A staph an infection could present up as a pink, painful, swollen boil or abscess on the pores and skin. Your physician sometimes can deal with it with antibiotics or by draining it — and in some circumstances, each. However, some sorts — resembling Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) — are antibiotic-resistant.
The greatest technique to keep away from a staph an infection is to keep up good hygiene. As with avoiding athlete’s foot, reduce your contact with surfaces within the locker room when potential. Wear flip-flops or put a towel on the ground the place you stand or on the bench the place you sit. And, most significantly, you probably have an open wound, cowl it and preserve it clear.
Take time to wash up and air out
Hygiene actually is the perfect deterrent to micro organism. Besides the tips talked about earlier, at all times wash your arms earlier than you contact your eyes or mouth.
Typically, the fitness center cleans its gear recurrently and lots of have insurance policies asking patrons to wash after use. But you possibly can clear the gear your self, too, and it’s greatest to be proactive. Also, you possibly can carry your individual towels or disinfectant wipes to make use of on issues like hair dryers or lockers for those who really feel extra snug.
If you might have youngsters who use a faculty locker room, be certain they know to keep away from contact with communal surfaces as a lot as potential. Encourage them to scrub their arms effectively and to guard their naked ft if they modify garments or take a bathe after their actions.
“In high school, kids play a game, take off their pads and jerseys, get on the bus and go back to school,” Mr. Gray says. “Rarely do kids shower anymore before they go home. So you need to make sure your kids get themselves cleaned off.”
They additionally could stuff their sweaty uniforms right into a fitness center bag and never give them one other thought. Washing their uniforms recurrently and airing out sneakers or cleats and any pads or braces they may put on may also help defend in opposition to locker room germs as effectively.
The backside line: Don’t let worries about germs preserve you or your loved ones away from the fitness center. Just ensure you take some common sense steps to guard your self from no matter could lurk within the locker room.