5 infections you can pick up at the gym

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With the changing lifestyle in urban worlds, a lot of people have taken to the gym to stay healthy and fit. But while if does tend to give us the perfect shape and body, it turns out that the gym also plays host to a number of germs.

Have you ever seen a person sweating it out in the gym and not wiping down the equipment after use? They might clean it with a drenched towel, but that just spreads the perspiration around. Well, every gym has a few of these people.

It turns out that our bodies are well versed in getting rid of toxins and germs through sweat. Since the skin is the largest organ of the body, it lets out toxins and germs by the thousands. And working out in a gym where people are perspiring all around, makes one really susceptible to picking out quite a few unwanted conditions.

We list a few skin infections that one should be aware of while working out in the gym.

Staph: This is a bacteria that can be transferred from the skin and nose to any surface. The bacteria is resilient and can survive for a long time. MRSA is a very resilient form of Staph that does not respond top most antibiotics. The most common way to get MRSA is through some cut or sore and is usually followed by a boil or rash and high fever.

Athlete’s Foot: Ringworm caused by fungal infection, it is commonly found between the toes and manifests as a round scaly rash with peeling skin. If left untreated, it can spread to the nails. Ringworm thrives in moist areas and can be picked up from locker room or the swimming pool.

Plantar Warts: Caused by human papilloma virus (HPV), like, athlete’s foot, this virus lives in moist areas as well. Warts generally show up on the balls of the feet as hard, raised bumps with black dots and can also appear on the palms of your hands, say from the padded handles of a spin bike or treadmill that are wet.

Folliculitis: Found in warm water, they thrive in poorly maintained or not properly chlorinated hot tubs and swimming pools. The bacteria get into the pores where your hair follicles are and cause a red rash that is also itchy. You will often see this appear beneath the areas that your bathing suit was covering.

Impetigo from Strep: Highly contagious, they cause a strep throat infection, they can spread from direct skin contact, wet towels, or by touching equipment that has been sneezed on by someone with the infection. Patients can also get a throat infection, develop a red, pus-filled, blistered body rash called impetigo. Impetigo can also be caused by staphylococcus bacteria.

However, fear not, there are ways in which the infections can be countered or kept at bay.

  • Before joining a gym, check out the place and find out how often the space is cleaned and the pools/tubs are maintained. Hand sanitizers, wipes, disinfectant sprays, and paper towels should be conveniently placed throughout the gym and locker rooms.

  • Wearing shoes at all times is impertinent with flip flops during shower times being a must as well.

  • Bandage up any cuts, scrapes, or open sores you may have.

  • Wipe down any piece of equipment before you use it.

  • Hand washing after working out is also important.

  • Wash and dry your gym clothes as soon as you reach home to keep the infections at bay.

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