It doesn’t take rocket science to know that one of the best decisions you can make in life is taking care of your health and fitness through a regular workout routine. If you work out in a gym, however, it is also important to be aware of the various health risks you face while there. Injuries and other issues aside, experts say that the gym environment can be a potential harbor for certain skin infections, which we will look at briefly below. These risks range from fungal to bacterial and viral infections caused by fungi, bacteria, and viruses that thrive in warm and moist environments like locker rooms, shower places, and workout equipment. From bacterial staph infections to fungal athlete’s foot, impetigo, and viral herpes, here is a brief guide to common skin infections at the gym and how you can prevent them.

First Prevention Measure: Choose the Right Gym 

As we all might relate since and before the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of germs and infectious material are contacted from the air and surfaces. This makes it important to choose a gym facility that observes proper disinfection protocol if you want to protect yourself from skin infections. In the gym, for instance, a lot of pathogens are introduced into the workout room and onto surfaces such as flooring and workout equipment through the shoes. In this case, the guys at provide that ultraviolet treatment can help kill all and any pathogen on gym room surfaces without leaving chemical or physical residues. UV light treatment is effective in killing a wider range of pathogens, including bacteria, fungi, and viruses that cause skin infections and other health challenges.

Let’s now look at various skin infections you might acquire from a gym and how you can protect yourself in case you’re not sure that the workout room is sanitized. 

1. Staph Infection and Impetigo 

Caused by the bacteria staphylococcus aureus, Staph infection is usually not a major concern for most people. This is because the staph bacteria exist naturally on the skin of most of us. Nonetheless, some strains of these bacteria can be harmful, especially for people with bruises, cuts, or scratches acquired from exercises or otherwise. These open wounds can get infected and could lead to what is known as impetigo. Impetigo is characterized by red sores that often rupture and ooze for several days, eventually turning into a yellowish-brown crust. However, impetigo may also be caused by streptococcus bacteria. 

  • To prevent staph infection, some things you can do include: 
  • Sanitize gym equipment with alcohol 
  • Cover any open wounds before working out 
  • Avoid sharing towels at the gym 

2. Ringworm

This one is a skin infection caused by fungi, which manifests as a circular scaly patch on your skin. It is often acquired from wet environments. To protect yourself from ringworm infection, wear dry clothing when going to the gym, wipe sweaty equipment down, and use an antifungal cream.

3. Athlete’s Foot

Majorly affecting the feet and the groin, this one is caused by fungi. It can come from your gym towel, your workout shoes, or other gym materials subjected to dark, most, and warm surroundings. You can prevent athlete’s foot by observing proper personal hygiene before, when, and after going to the gym. Some things you can do include:

  • Avoid walking barefooted
  • Wash your exercise clothes well after your sessions
  • Wear your workout clothes only when completely dry
  • Avoid reusing socks
  • Invest in moisture-wicking sport’s shoes

4. Plantar Warts

Plantar warts are a viral skin infection caused by a strain of the HPV virus. They present as grainy lesions on the feet soles. To avoid contracting plantar warts in the gym, do not walk barefoot in the gym. Wear appropriate workout shoes and put on some flip flops while in the locker room shower.

Other Infections 

In addition to the above-mentioned skin infections, herpes and hot-tub rush are also significantly common in the gym. The former is caused by the herpes simplex virus, whereas the latter is caused by the Pseudomonas spp. bacterium. Hot-tub rash, as you can tell from the name, is commonly acquired in hot tubs where the water is inadequately disinfected. On the other hand, herpes is commonly acquired through direct contact with a person infected with the virus and shedding. 

As you can see, being a frequent gym-goer subject you to several health risks amidst the many benefits of regular exercise. The best you can do is take the highlighted precautions to protect yourself from the various gym-related skin infections. Wear the appropriate clothing and shoes to the gym, observe personal hygiene, cover any wounds, and disinfect surfaces/equipment regularly. After your workout sessions, sanitize, take a shower, and wash your workout clothes. These measures will go a long way in ensuring you get the most out of your gym sessions.