You might think that the locker room is a clean place, but the truth is that there are lots of icky things hanging out there that can cause a range of health complications. I know you don’t want to deal with that! If you regularly use locker rooms, it pays to read through this information carefully and make sure you take the necessary precautions to protect yourself from the problems I’ll talk about in a minute. Get ready to be grossed out by reading the nasty things you can pick up at the gym or swimming pool locker rooms.
1. Athlete’s Foot
This fungal infection is passed when you contact the germs and bacteria that cause it. If someone who has athlete’s foot walks around without shoes in the locker room, then you do the same, you might come down with it too. Athlete’s foot is gross, it looks yucky and it often hurts, so always wear flip flops in the locker room, even in the shower.
You might be surprised to find that warts are caused by a virus that you can pick up by wearing another person’s shoes, touching a wart or walking around barefoot in the locker room. Again, keep your feet covered at all times. If all else fails, you can always rub your feet with hand sanitizer to kill germs after you walk out of the locker room.
MRSA is a so-called superbug and is a skin infection that is resistant to traditional antibiotics. That makes it very hard to treat and many people have died from it. It might start as a small bump, pimple or abrasion on your skin, but won’t go away. Even with treatment, getting rid of MRSA is a difficult. To protect yourself, never use dirty towels. Bring your own from home to be sure you have a clean one when needed. Use toilet covers and always wash your hands before leaving the locker room.
4. Cold and Flu Germs
When someone has a cold or the flu, they are pretty contagious, which means that if you come into contact with them, you might be sick yourself soon. Most doctors advise against exercising with the flu, but many people do it anyway. The best defense is hand washing so make sure to suds up with warm water and soap when you are done in the locker room.
Are you totally grossed out yet? Ringworm is a yucky fungal infection that you get when you come into contact with items that an infected person used. Again, avoid using community towels and sharing clothes with someone who has the infection. Also, shower well in the locker room after exercise and wash your hands well before leaving the locker room.
Getting an STD from the locker room is possible, but pretty rare. You probably don’t have to worry about this as much as the other conditions on this list, but it pays to know the risk. Never sit on the locker room benches without your clothes on because you never know who else is doing the same thing. Sit on a clean towel or get dressed first.
7. Pink Eye
Also called conjunctivitis, pink eye is highly contagious and some people don’t realize they have it until they have already spread the gems around. When you’re at the gym or pool, chances are you’re sweating and so are the other people there. When someone with pink eye wipes their face, they may wind up spreading the germs around, upping the risk that you could catch it. Make sure you wash your hands well and keep them away from your face until they are well washed.
Have you ever suffered from any of these? Do you think you picked it up in a locker room? Please share any other tips and precautions for staying safe in the locker room.