Fitness gyms have become a permanent fixture on the American landscape. Whether it is a bare-bones weightlifting gymn, a small neighborhood club or high-end fitness complex, a trip to the gym is a normal part of many people’s fitness routine. The gym is a great place to improve your fitness, reduce stress, and meet new people. For many, the gym serves as a hang-out and social hub.
At the same time, gyms and their equipment are a hang-out for bacteria and viruses. A flu virus can survive on hard surfaces for up to 48 hours. The CDC suggests 15 to 20 seconds of hand washing with soap and water to effectively kill germs. While colds and flu bugs are annoying and inconvenient, gyms can also host a deadly infection called MRSA.
What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You
MRSA is an antibiotic-resistant strain of Staphylococcus aureus, which is a staph infection. Approximately 2% of the population carries MRSA and show no signs or symptoms. MRSA can be found in hospitals, daycare centers, and nursing facilities, and more recently, gyms. It is essential to follow strict hygiene rules at the gym in order to avoid a MRSA infection:
- Wipe down any gym equipment with alcohol wipes before working out.
- Cover any cuts or sores you may have. An open cut or sore is a point of entry for MRSA bacteria.
- Banish these nasty gym bacteria with a soap-and-water shower after working out. At the very least, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
MRSA infections can not only lurk on gym equipment, it can also be found in gym locker rooms and steam rooms. Proper clean-up is essential for gyms to avoid spreading this bacteria among their members. A solid MRSA clean-up should include:
- Bleach: Bleach is a key component to help clear up any gym infection, including MRSA. Bleach can kill MRSA and Staph when properly diluted with water. Make sure your gym follows a strict routine to avoid spreading MRSA and Staph bacteria.
- Laundry:Your gym should thouroughly launder any linens and towels used by members and guests. To do your part, place any damp or wet locker room towels in the proper container. Don’t reuse any workout towels that were utilized for wiping down gym equipment without washing them first in hot water and drying them on the highest temperature allowable by the manufacturer.
If you develop a bump on your skin that is swollen, red, painful to the touch or that is draining pus, seek medical attention immediately. MRSA can be deadly if left untreated.
Nothing beats a good gym workout. Getting fitter, clearing your head and reducing stress are great reasons to work out at the gym. Don’t let a MRSA infection derail your health and fitness goals. Practice good hygiene, wipe down equipment, wash any sweaty towels in hot water, and make sure your gym follows a strict MRSA clean-up routine for common areas and equipment. MRSA doesn’t need to get in the way of your workout. d
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