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Updated: March 16, 2011 16:44 IST

Brace yourselves

HARINEE RAVIMARAN 
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Relax with a good session of yoga, but also beware of hygiene at gyms. Photo: AP
AP Relax with a good session of yoga, but also beware of hygiene at gyms. Photo: AP

There are many germs that can attack your skin while you exercise. Tips to ward off the germ attack.

While you are trying to lose those extra calories by going to the gym, you may be actually exposing yourself to a range of dermatological risks. Dermatologist Dr. Gomathy, talks about about the gym germs and ways to tackle them

Fungal foot

The most common disease lurking in the gym is the Athlete's foot, a fungal skin infection. The main cause behind it is excessive sweat in the body pores. Symptoms include cracked or blistered skin along with burning or itching sensation.

Solution: wear clean and dry socks and shoes. Never walk barefoot in the gym.

Miliria

Miliria or sweat rash is another common problem. Often visible in the skin folds, its symptoms are an intense prickling sensation and itching.

Solution: Have a cold shower after a workout to cool down. If you know you're suffering from miliria, avoid taking a steam or sauna as it will cause more sweating.

Wrestle the jock itch

‘Jock itch' is a fungal infection that usually occurs in women who sweat a lot or wear tight synthetic clothes. It mainly occurs due to friction of the thighs.

Solution: keep the affected area clean and dry. Use a separate, clean towel for that area and apply anti-fungal cream .

Protein shakes

Most trainers suggest protein shakes. But if you indulge in substandard ones, they may contain steroids or medication that cause acne-like lesions on the chest and face.

Solution: Consult a dietician or a doctor before taking these protein powders and shakes.

Bandage those blisters

Weightlifting or running on the treadmill can often cause blisters on the palms and feet.

Solution: Apply petroleum jelly on the blister and keep it bandaged. Wear gloves or moisture-wicking socks to avoid blisters.

Dos and don'ts

Wipe gym equipment before use. Some gyms provide disinfectant spray but, if you're really particular, carry your own.

Always cover the seat of your bench with a towel before using it. This reduces the chance of infection.

Use a clean workout towel to wipe off the sweat. Never share your towel; it's the easiest way to catch infection.

Breathe correctly while exercising. It is important to breathe through the nose when working out as it is more effective in trapping airborne germs than the mouth.

Before joining, question the management about hygiene standards. And once your checklist is all ticked, get on with those fitness routines.

Harinee Ravimaran  is an undergraduate III year Journalism student at M.O.P Vaishnav College for Women.

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