WEEKLY WORKOUT: Germs At The Gym
We do it in an effort to get and stay healthy, so make sure exercise is all you’re getting at the gym. “Most workout centers have the disinfectant,” says Nurse Sandy Peno, “use those before you work out because you don’t know if the person before you cleaned it down.”
And Nurse Peno says – you don’t know what that person might be carrying. From the flu and the common cold to nasty stuff like staph and e. coli, it can all be hiding on the handles of machines or the crevices of mats and towels. “About a third of the population carries staph,” Peno explains, “it’s harmless, until you get a break in the skin and then it can cause problems.”
And doctors think that’s probably what happened to me. A minor scrape that I didn’t even notice on my thumb turned into a raging staph infection that required super strong antibiotics, and even surgery.
That’s why Nurse Peno’s number one tip is clean it before you use it. Tip number two, is no sharing. That goes for mats, towels, water bottles, and soap.
Tip number three is to shower right after you exercise. But if you do it at the gym, make sure you follow tip number four – wear flip-flops.
You may not like tip number five – avoid the sauna or whirlpool. Chlorine used in pools can kill a lot of bugs, but some microbes thrive in hot water.
Nurse Peno’s final tip is don’t ignore symptoms. “If you have a cut in your skin and it becomes very red, angry, swollen and painful the sooner you get to the doctor, the better.”
The bottom line, use common sense and prevention.