We’re sure that you have seen the signs around your local gym about wiping down the equipment once you’ve finished using it – but have you ever wondered why these signs exist? Yes, the intention is to keep the space relatively clean for other patrons, but it is also to protect you from picking up germs. Believe it or not, plenty of germs like to hang around your favourite gym fitness equipment; we have outlined 7 of the more common ones here.
This is a yeast-like fungus that can cause a variety of fungal infections that, if untreated, can escalate to blisters and severely cracked skin. It can cause athlete’s foot (itchy and peeling skin on the feet), ringworm (rashes on the toes), jock itch in men, and yeast infections in women.
- Escherichia Coli (E. Coli)
This is a common bacterium that is found in healthy animal intestines and stool. It can cause cramps, diarrhea, vomiting and can also lead to pneumonia if untreated. Whilst it is usually transmitted by eating contaminated food, it can also be passed on at the gym.
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
This is the most common sexually transmitted disease, but many people don’t realise that being intimate is not the only way to pass it on. It usually causes genital warts (in both men and women), as well as in the throat, mouth and even on the feet.
- Influenza (Flu)
This is a very common virus, which causes an infection that will make you feel pretty under the weather for a few days. It can cause fever, body aches, coughing, sneezing, chills, dizziness, flushed face, headaches, lack of energy, nausea and even vomiting.
This is a bacterium that is actually found in healthy human intestines and stool. It can, however, cause a variety of infections (such as urinary tract infections, pneumonia, blood infections and meningitis) depending on how the bacterium enters your body (such as the nose).
- Staphylococcus Aureus (Staph)
This is a bacteria that usually causes mild skin infections (such as superficial rashes, pimples and/or boils). If allowed to spread and burrow deeper into the skin, however, it can cause a life-threatening infection (such as pneumonia, sepsis or meningitis).
- Streptococcal Bacteria (Strep)
This is a bacteria that usually causes upper respiratory problems, but it should be noted that there are actually 20 different types of strep bacterium. It can cause mild throat infections, pneumonia and even skin infections (such as impetigo and cellulitis).
Before you swear to never use another piece of gym fitness equipment, it is important to note that all of these germs can be easily avoided and that they are far less scary than they sound. The best piece of advice that we can offer is to wipe down gym fitness equipment before and after you use it, lay a towel on benches before sitting, change out of your gym gear as quickly as possible and wash your hands after exercising. This will all prevent exposure.