5 nasty infections you can catch at the gym



We go to the gym to stay active and become healthy.

But you will be surprised to know that your gym itself is a breeding ground for bacteria and germs that can make you sick. Here are five of the most common infections you could catch from your gym and how to treat them.

1. Athlete’s foot

It’s a common fungal infection of the foot that one can get from skin to skin contact. The most common symptom is itching with red rashes and scaling on the side of the feet and between the toes.


Athlete’s foot can be easily treated with antifungal creams and powders. Though in severe cases, you might also need a course of prescription antifungal therapy. Prevention is the best treatment so always wear your shoes or flip flops; do not keep your bare feet on the gym floor. If you sweat too much, dust your feet with anti-fungal powder before wearing your shoes.

2. ​Lice

Lice is an infestation of the head, groin or body by wingless insects. Lice can infest the hairy body parts including chest, armpits, eyebrows, eyelashes and beard. You can get lice by using towels of an infected person. Intense itching is the most common symptom.


There are several over-the-counter lotions, shampoos and medicines available to treat lice. Practice gym hygiene like wipe the places you use, do not share caps, towels or other stuff with people at the gym. Keep your stuff closed in a gym bag so that lice cannot enter it.

3. ​Toenail fungus

The most common cause of toenail fungus is distal subungal onychomycosis, the same fungus that causes athlete’s foot. You can catch the infection from a dirty floor and wet surfaces near the pools. There is a change in the texture of your toenails, they become more thickened, yellow and crumbly if you get the infection.


You can use antifungal powder to treat it. If there is no improvement, you can visit your doctor to get prescribed medicines. It can take around three months to treat the infection.

4. ​Jock itch

Jock itch is a fungal infection of the groin but it can also affect women, often under the bra line. However, men get it because of friction and humidity. The first sign is usually itch followed by a pinkish-red rash.


You can start with a dry zinc powder that helps in decreasing humidity. Make sure to shower immediately after a workout and choose underwears that specifically wicks away moisture. If you don’t feel any improvement, you can check with your doctor.

5. Ringworm

It’s again a common infection of the skin caused by a variety of fungi. You can catch it from skin to skin contact, dirty towels, wet gym shower floors and other infected surfaces. It looks like a raised red patch of the skin with a scale along the periphery. Common body areas where it can happen is chest, back, buttocks and thighs.


You can take over the counter creams or visit a dermatologist. The rash can easily spread from one body part to another, so do not ignore it.

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