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How to prevent common skin infections at the gym


How to prevent common skin infections at the gym

While working out has many benefits, including weight control, disease prevention and even mood improvement, germs can thrive at the gym. This could put gym-goers at risk for a variety of common skin infections — unless they take certain precautions. To help prevent skin infections at the gym, follow these tips.

While working out has many benefits, including weight control, disease prevention, and even mood improvement, germs can thrive at the gym. This could put gym-goers at risk for a variety of common skin infections, including ringworm, plantar warts, or impetigo, unless they take certain precautions.

This is because bacteria, viruses, and fungi that cause skin infections to develop, thrive in warm, moist places like sweaty exercise equipment and locker room showers. Although skin infections are not a reason to cancel your gym membership, it’s important to follow a few simple steps to avoid germs while you’re at the gym.

To help prevent skin infections at the gym, dermatologists recommend the following tips:

  1. Wear loose-fitting, moisture-wicking clothes. This will help keep your skin dry and prevent germs from growing. Remember to wash your gym clothes after wearing them.

  2. Always wear shoes, especially around pools, and in locker rooms and showers. Keep a pair of shower shoes, flip-flops, or sandals in your gym bag. Never walk barefoot at a public gym.

  3. Keep any cuts clean and covered. Avoid using saunas, steam rooms, and hot tubs until your wound is healed.

  4. Disinfect equipment before and after using it. Clean equipment with disinfectant wipes or spray. For additional protection, consider adding a barrier, such as a towel, between your skin and shared surfaces, like workout benches and bicycle seats. When it’s possible to provide your own equipment, such as a yoga mat, bring it from home rather than using the gym’s.

  5. Wash or sanitize your hands immediately after working out.

  6. Shower as soon as possible. After showering, put on clean clothes, including clean socks and underwear. Never share personal care items, including towels and razors.

  7. Without treatment, skin infections can worsen. Keep an eye on your skin, and if you notice signs of an infection, such as increased pain or swelling, pus or persistent redness, make an appointment to see a board-certified dermatologist.

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