Fungal Infections in the Locker Room

High-fives and jokes aren’t the only things shared in the locker room. So are fungal infections. Common infections you’re likely to find inside the locker room include jock itch, ringworm, nail fungus and athlete’s foot. Although they are often not serious, they can get annoying and embarrassing. Not to mention, they are also highly contagious. If you regularly go to the gym to work out or you play a sport, take note of these precautionary measures to protect yourself against these fungal infections:

Athlete’s Foot
Do you feel that itchiness and burning sensation on your feet? Do your feet crack and peel a lot? If yes, you might have athlete’s foot or tinea pedis. This typically develops between the toes. You can get it when you walk on wet locker room floors or when you wear damp shoes or sweaty socks. To avoid getting athlete’s foot, always wear shoes while walking around the locker room. See to it that you wash your feet daily and you dry them well before you wear clean dry socks and shoes.

Jock Itch
This one is the itchy and red rash that can be found around groin area. It’s also called tine cruris. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that it only affects men because it can also be a source of discomfort among women. This is caused primarily by sweating and humidity in the atmosphere. Prevent jock itch by always keeping your groin clean and dry. Always wear clean and dry underwear. After workout, opt to wear loose pants instead of tight ones.

Before you freak out and imagine tiny worms hiding in the crevices of the locker room floor, ringworm is not a parasitic infection. It’s not caused by worms either. It’s just a name for this raised, red, itchy fungal infection that typically occurs on the body or scalp. It also comes by the name tinea capitis. This is very common in warm and moist environments. You can also get this if you come in contact with an infected person or pet. Since it can spread very easily, never share towels, combs, and other personal things with other people even with those you know.

Nail Fungus
When you have nail fungus, also called onychomycosis, you have discolored, brittle and thick nails on the toes or fingers. Nail fungus is prevalent in warm humid environments. To prevent this, always keep your nails short. Make sure that you only wear clean and dry socks. Change often if you’re prone to sweating. It’s also important that you wear wide-toed shoes. This way, the toes don’t get crammed together. Moreover, use your own nail clippers and don’t share it with others.

More Tips to Prevent Fungal Infections

• Change clothes after workout. Sweat is a breeding ground not only for fungi but also for germs.
• Wash exercise clothes every time after use. Wear fresh clothing the next time you work out.
• Always keep your skin clean and dry.
• Wear shower shoes when you’re in the locker room.
• Don’t make it a habit to sit on wet benches.

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