Avoid superbugs at the gym

MRSA and other bacteria are common—and sometimes deadly

Published: June 25, 2015 06:00 AM

Bacteria are all around us. Usually, they don't make us sick. But about 2 out of every 100 Americans carry potentially deadly MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus) bacteria on their bodies. Athletes, particularly those involved in contact sports, are even more likely to harbor the bacteria—in part because players share the bug when they come in contact with each other. In addition, MRSA can live for days on exercise equipment, benches, and mats in gyms and locker rooms.

Read our special investigation "The Rise of Superbugs" and see our continuing coverage of America’s antibiotic crisis.

So take these steps to avoid superbugs at the gym:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water before and after you work out. If that’s not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Wipe down equipment with alcohol-based sprays or wipes.
  • Place a barrier such as clothes or a clean towel between your skin and exercise equipment, benches, and mats.
  • Keep cuts and scrapes clean and bandaged until healed.
  • Shower immediately after you exercise.
  • Never share personal items that touch bare skin, including towels, mats, bar soap, and razors.

—Teresa Carr


Editor's Note:

This article also appeared in the August 2015 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.



E-mail Newsletters

FREE e-mail Newsletters! Choose from cars, safety, health, and more!
Already signed-up?
Manage your newsletters here too.

Health News


Cars Build & Buy Car Buying Service
Save thousands off MSRP with upfront dealer pricing information and a transparent car buying experience.

See your savings


Mobile Get Ratings on the go and compare
while you shop

Learn more