How to avoid infections at the gym

There are several types of bacteria and fungus on gym equipment and in the locker room..

The most common type of infection waiting for you to finish your reps is a staph infection, according to Dr. Irvin Sulapas from Baylor College of Medicine.

“It can create an infection in your skin, maybe swell up, maybe pus,” he said.

Treating a staph infection could be as easy as a warm compresses, Sulapas said, but if the infection is causing pain, increasing in size or becoming red, see a doctor because this can be a sign the infection needs to be treated with an antibiotic.

He recommends the number one rule that gym-goers should follow to stay healthy is to wipe down the equipment with alcohol or antibacterial wipes.

“You may get some sweat drops going into the metered machine on the treadmills, so you should wipe down things where you have skin contact but also where you have sweat contact.”

Sweat can carry infections like staph or athlete's foot! Fungus (like athlete’s foot) tends to like living in warm, moist environments, and during a workout your sweat is creating that. So, don't forget to follow these rules to avoid germs at the gym and tell your student athletes to do the same at school.

“Don't reuse towels after workouts. I recommend showering right after any exercise or workout or practice, usually within 30 minutes to an hour,” Sulapas said. “Make sure you have a deodorizer or anything to keep your gym bag clean.”

He also recommends never sitting on benches in the locker room without a towel between you and the bench. Bring your own towel and to wear flip-flops in the shower. He added that if you are changing clothes, you should keep your dirty clothes in a separate compartment in your gym bag or put any sweaty clothes in a plastic bag in your gym bag so they do not mix with your clean clothes.

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