Since the pandemic, we’ve learned a lot about gym infections. Several research studies have concluded there are more germs, viruses, and bacteria on commonly shared gym equipment than we may have realized.
Further, weight training equipment tends to get more contaminated than aerobic equipment. That was a surprise because people tend to sweat more on aerobic equipment.
We also found out that cracks, breaks, or fissures in gym equipment and the vinyl that covers them tend to become perfect homes for pathogens. This has proven to be such a concern in some gyms that fitness trainers now cover gym equipment with a towel before their clients use the machine. This way, there is a barrier between the client, the equipment, and harmful germs, viruses, and bacteria.
So, aware now that we must be careful when using gym equipment, what are some of the most common infections we can get at the gym? The most common appears to be the following:
Staphylococcus, which causes staph infections, is the most common bacteria in gyms. Most of us have some staph bacteria on our skin all the time, and it does not necessarily cause a problem. But when we work out in a gym, there are more chances to come in contact with these bacteria. If it collects in perspiration, it can find its way into a cut on the skin, and that’s when it can enter the body. It can cause red, swollen boils that can become painful. Typically, healthcare providers treat these infections with antibiotics.
Like a staph infection, this skin infection is more common among children but may be contracted by adults in a gym. It causes tiny blisters that eventually burst, leaving wet patches on the skin that continue to release fluids. From here, rashes develop. Once again, antibiotics are typically necessary to treat this infection.
Well, it’s not as bad as it sounds. Dermatophytes refers to ringworm, athlete’s foot, and jock itch, and it is the most common type of fungal infection found in gyms. Surprisingly, the fungus that causes dermatophytes likes some skin more than others. Your gym partner may come down with dermatophytes by walking barefoot in a locker room, but you may walk the same area barefoot and not have a problem.
Anyone that has had athlete’s foot knows how uncomfortable it is.
Colds and Flu
Most of us think that colds and flu are transmitted by inhalation – inhaling droplets of the virus after someone sneezes. That’s true, but those same droplets can land on gym equipment, door handles, and other surfaces in the gym. We become ill when we touch them and then touch our eyes or mouth.
Aware of these infections, how can we protect ourselves? The best protection comes from regular handwashing. Wash your hands before working out, then every twenty to thirty minutes, and finish your workout by washing your hands once again.
For gym owners and managers, it’s imperative to use effective cleaning solutions to protect members. For instance, the Pronatural Brands All Purpose Cleaner should be used on all shared equipment in a gym or health club. Certified safe by the EPA Safer Choice program, it is naturally derived and provides excellent cleaning performance.
However, a sanitizer may also be necessary. Our LEXX® Liquid Sanitizer and Cleaner Concentrate kills approximately 99.999 percent of most germs, viruses, and bacteria within two minutes. Registered by the EPA, which means it has been independently evaluated and proven to be effective, it is also safe and naturally derived. While we can’t keep everyone using a gym healthy, we can keep more people healthy. Gym users, remember to wash your hands. Gym owners/managers, these are the cleaning solutions you should be using now.
Lee Chen is President and COO of ProNatural Brands, LLC, manufacturers of natural, sustainable, and effective citrus-based cleaning solutions. To contact us, click here: Contact – Pronatural (pronaturalbrands.com)