Skin diseases have become a common threat in gyms across the United States, especially where skin on skin contact is highly prevalent. There are 3 type of general skin infections; bacterial, fungal and viral. Some common diseases and infections are; ringworm, impetigo, staph, warts and herpes. These diseases and infections can lead to very serious health risks if not prevented and or treated. To reduce the risk of infection we need to practice clean hygiene of “The 3 E’s”.
THE 3 E's
Keeping our skin clean is 100% within our control. Proper personal hygiene before and after training is our responsibility for the safety of ourselves and our training partners. Here are a few things we can do for the safety of ourselves and others when participating in group classes and activities as part of a gym, martial arts academy or just good general hygiene practices to avoid skin diseases.
Bathe/shower PRIOR to your workout. (My personal favorite is Defense Soap )
Do not walk from your car to the gym barefoot or wearing the shoes you intend to wear while training. This tracks in all the bacteria from the ground outside.
Do not participate when you have a skin infection. DO NOT HIDE IT.
Do daily skin checks with yourself AND your training partners.
When using the bathroom during training time ALWAYS wear shoes into the bathroom. You should know this but it’s shocking how many people get caught running to the bathroom barefoot then back onto the mats where your face ends up.
Change into fresh clean clothes between back to back workouts.
Immediately following training, you can use antibacterial wipes such as Defense Soap Wipes until you make it home to shower.
Bathe/shower THOROUGHLY after each practice. Top of the head to the bottom of the feet. Don’t be lazy, many skin infections are found on the lower half of the legs bc of poor washing habits.
The next step in protecting and preventing skin infections hygiene practices of all of our equipment and uniforms we will be placing on our bodies.
Proper equipment hygiene is imperative. Keeping our skin clean from infectious contaminates does us no good if we neglect to keep all of our equipment clean as well. We must properly wash, wipe down, dry and ventilate all of our equipment including uniforms and training clothes. You should always dry and well ventilate equipment such as; boxing gloves, shoes hand wraps, shin guards head gear etc. Uniforms and training clothes should be washed after every use and never worn two sessions in a row.
Our training environment is not entirely in our control and hopefully the facility managers do their part in keeping with a proper and hygienic cleaner regimen. Aside from relying upon them we can still make individual efforts to better sanitize our training areas. If you are going to use a heavy bag, striking shields, machines, weights, etc give them a quick wipe down before you begin use. Items that absolutely must be cleaned daily are floor mats, heavy bags and other gym equipment and surfaces that experience a high level of use. If you have concerns about the hygiene of your training environment you should not hesitate to speak with an owner or the person in charge of the facility.
By keeping our skin (epidermis), equipment and environment clean we greatly reduce the risk of catching cultivating and spreading harmful diseases and infections. Please be responsible and respectful of yourself and others and follow these simple hygiene practices when participating in all group activities at your gym.
And remember... "IT'S NOT A BUG BITE!!"