Schools, gyms, and sports venues can all house breeding grounds for bacteria, viruses, and fungus in their locker rooms. With groups of people all using a single area to change or bathe, it’s no wonder why this can be a fairly unhygienic environment. Below are just a few guidelines to follow that could aid in staying healthy, and avoiding potential illness within all forms of locker rooms.
- Wash clothes at least twice a week
Even if you feel as though you barely broke a sweat, letting post-workout clothes sit without washing them invites bacteria from odors to fester within the fabric. Be sure to take these clothes home and wash them at least two times per week to avoid repercussions like skin rashes, fungal infections, or dermatitis.
- Refrain from sharing products
If your routine following exercise consists of more than simply changing clothes, like showering or shaving, avoid sharing the products you use for these activities. Towels have a nasty tendency to harbor staphylococcus aureus, commonly known as staph; a bacteria that mostly causes skin infections. Symptoms can range from rashes, pimples, or boils, all the way to MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus) in extreme cases, though it is rare.
Sharing razors can be particularly hazardous, as this runs the risk of transmitting bloodborne illnesses like HIV and hepatitis. Because they can also preserve bacteria from the skin, razors should be cleaned daily as well. This coincides with the practice of not sharing soap or deodorant, as germs and bacteria can also call these products home.
- Always shower following physical activity
After strenuous exercise, it is important to shower, not just for the sake of no longer reeking of body odor, but to also avoid developing rashes caused by perspiration left on the skin, which produces bacteria and fungus. If any injuries were suffered during your workout or sporting event like cuts or scrapes, bacteria can easily enter the bloodstream through these wounds, also leading to possible infection. Showering is vital in order to prevent these post-workout germs from becoming anything more than just that.
- Cover your feet
It should go without saying that locker room floors are very dirty. They are notorious for housing bacteria that can cause fungal infections like athlete’s foot, or warts caused by the HPV virus. Protecting your feet in these environments is extremely important, especially in shower stalls. Investing in a pair of shower shoes would be wise, as germs around drains and floor tiles tend to linger.
- Wash your hands
This is a no-brainer. Public locker rooms, as stated before, are breeding grounds for germs and bacteria, and the use of your hands is unavoidable. After all is said and done, make sure you wash your hands before exiting even if you’ve already showered, as these microscopic monstrosities can be airborne.
Whether you’re a professional athlete or a member of a local gym, the level of hygiene that you practice within a locker room should not differ. For your own sake, and for the sake of those around you, be cautious in this open environment, and follow the guidelines listed above in order to maintain your physical health.