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Beware of bacteria at the gym

A diverse group of peope in spin class

DALLAS – Feb. 15, 2019 – Exercise can help boost health and fitness but beware of bacteria when bulking up at the gym.

Precautions such as wiping down shared surfaces, using hand sanitizers, and covering up cuts can help avoid contracting unwanted infections, says Dr. Julie Trivedi, Medical Director of Infection Prevention at UT Southwestern’s William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital.

“MRSA transmission between individuals has been associated with locker rooms and gyms where there is sharing of common equipment,” she said. “Many bacteria and viruses can live on environment surfaces for a period of time, so it’s good practice to wipe down any machines or surfaces prior to using them and wipe them down after you are done. Keeping your hands clean by frequently using an alcohol-based sanitizer or soap and water, as well as covering any cuts or wounds, will help to reduce the risk of picking up bacteria.”

Dr. Julie Trivedi
Dr. Julie Trivedi

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now reports that 14 percent of people with MRSA infections contracted them outside of health care settings and that 23 is now the average age of people with community-associated MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus).

MRSA is bacteria commonly found on the skin and on environmental surfaces such as tables and doorknobs,” she adds. “MRSA infection can present in a variety of ways, ranging from superficial skin and soft tissue involvement as well as deeper, more serious infections involving the bone, large joints, and the heart.”

About UT Southwestern Medical Center

UT Southwestern, one of the premier academic medical centers in the nation, integrates pioneering biomedical research with exceptional clinical care and education. The institution’s faculty has received six Nobel Prizes, and includes 22 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 17 members of the National Academy of Medicine, and 15 Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigators. The full-time faculty of more than 2,500 is responsible for groundbreaking medical advances and is committed to translating science-driven research quickly to new clinical treatments. UT Southwestern physicians provide care in about 80 specialties to more than 105,000 hospitalized patients, nearly 370,000 emergency room cases, and oversee approximately 3 million outpatient visits a year.