Gym Germs – Treated

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If you’ve ever thought about skipping your post-workout shower, remember you’re not the only one who likes hanging out at the gym, says Dr Honey Brillo



Where: Shower room, gym floor, swimming pool.

What: Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection that affects the skin between the toes. Its medical name is tinea pedis. It is characterized by peeling, cracked skin, which is often red, weeping and smelly. It is also very itchy and scratching the skin can result in wounds and superimposed bacterial infection.

Treat: Fungus breeds on moist areas. You can treat it with anti-fungal creams like Clotrimoxazole and Miconazole. If there is a superimposed baceria infection, it can be treated by a combination cream that has an antifungal and antibacterial component. You can prevent athletes’ foot by air drying your feet before putting on socks and wearing your flip flops while taking a shower.



Where: Sharing towels and surfaces of gym equipment.

What: Staph or staphyloccocus aureus is a bacteria causing infection usually on the skin. Most people have staphylococcus in their bodies, but the danger is when these staphylococcus bacteria breach the skin and mucosal barrier and accumulate in larger numbers. It will create a painful, red bump on the skin, which will often discharge pus.

Treat: It can be treated with antibacterial cream and washed with antiseptic solution. If it is a large infection and you also have a fever, oral antibiotics can be prescribed by the doctor for one week. If it still doesn’t go, a minor surgical procedure of irrigation and dilation can be done to drain out the pus.



Where: Moist environments like swimming pools and hot tubs.

What:  Pseudomonas or pseudomonas aeruginosa is another type of bacteria infection. This can cause swimmer’s ear which can result in an ear pain. It can cause skin infection with green pus discharges. It can also cause respiratory infection like pneumonia. Those with a low immune system can easily contract this.

Treat: Avoid it by making sure you have a post workout shower, and treat it with antibiotics prescribed by your doctor.



Where: Water fountain (when people have put their mouths too close to the spout)

What:  Norovirus is taken from the Norwalk virus. This virus causes gastroenteritis. Its symptoms are vomiting, stomach cramps and diarrhea. You can get this virus from contaminated water. Poor hygiene and poor water source can lead to a water contaminated by feces and this can result into a bad case of gastroenteritis.

Treat: Avoiding it by bringing your own water bottle and treat it with antispasmodic medicine, anti-emetic medicine and anti-diarrheal.



Where: group workouts

What: Flu or simple common cold is a viral infection affecting the upper respiratory tract system. Symptoms include a runny nose, cough, sore throat and sometimes fever. It can easily be transmitted through air or direct contact with the nasal secretions. Close proximity with persons having flu increase likelihood of contracting this viral infection.

Treat: Cough mixture, antihistamines, lozenges and paracetamol can be given for the symptoms of flu. Frequent handwashing should also is strongly advised. It would be good to get your yearly flu vaccination to decrease flu infections.


Honey Brillo is a GP and blogger in Singapore. Follow her adventures at

Photo: Giant Microbes Plushies at

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