In his latest newsletter, UFC commentator Joe Rogan brings up a contagious little germ all gymgoers should know about: A type of infection caused by a Staphylococcus bacteria, otherwise known as staph.
“You can get these from doing Jiu-Jitsu if you don’t wash up right away after training, and if your immune system is lagging because of too much travel and lack of sleep,” Rogan told readers before heading out to his dermatologist. “I’m guilty as charged, so I’m pretty sure I’m infected. I was driving home from [the Adam Carolla Radio show] today when I noticed that a scrape I got on my arm the other night is starting to thicken and turn red.”
According to WebMD, about 25 percent of people normally carry staph in the nose, mouth, genitals, and anal area. The foot is also susceptible because of bacteria picked up from the floor. And as in Rogan’s case, staph bacteria can enter through a cut or wound and cause an infection.
But what makes gymgoers more susceptible? Staph infections thrive in warm, humid environments, so excessive sweating can increase your chances of developing the infection, which can then transfer through skin-to-skin contact. You can also get staph infections from contaminated gym towels, exercise mats, gym benches, and rubber equipment handles.
Initial symptoms include inflammation, redness, warmth, swelling, and pain.
The seriousness of infection depends on how deep and fast it spreads, and how treatable it is with antibiotics. Unfortunately, our overuse of antibiotics has made the antibiotic-resistant infections more common in North America, reports WebMD.
Why does this matter to you? Because Staphylococcus bacteria are everywhere! The good news is most healthy people can carry the germs without getting sick. Remember to always practice good hygiene–and keep cuts and scrapes and covered. At the gym, wipe down exercise equipment before and after use. If you’re still overly concerned about contracting staph, opt for long-sleeved tops and full-length bottoms as well.