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Tips to be Fit: Is Your Gym Making You Sick?

By Vince Faust, The Philadelphia Tribune, 10/01/19, 12:00PM CDT

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Read on for tips on how to protect yourself from hidden bacteria and viruses that linger at the gym.

We all believe the gym is a place to get healthier. But can your gym be harboring some hidden issues that can affect your health. Even the cleanest gym can still provide an ideal environment for a lot of skin diseases. Gyms provide heat and humidity along with secretions from hundreds of perspiring bodies, which provide the perfect breeding grounds for the growth of fungi, bacteria and viruses. Fungi, bacteria and viruses can survive on the floor mats, towels, hand weights, treadmills, weight machines and other equipment. Bacteria and viruses may survive for hours on metal and other gym surfaces. Fungi can survive for years. Because of the friction from the use of the equipment in the gym fungi, bacteria and viruses easily penetrate the skin.

Most skin infection similar to athlete’s foot and jock itch are annoying but easily treated. And they don’t pose any serious life treating issues. If the infection is Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) it could be a life-treating event. Staphylococcus aureus is now being found in a lot of exercise settings. The NFL reported that 42% of their players tested positive for MRSA. Most skin infections acquire in the gym can be prevented. More than 50% of healthy persons have Staphylococcus aureus living in or on their nasal passages, throats, hair and skin.