Sunday, December 12, 2010

Showering Off After Practice

"Q: Do flip-flops really protect me from catching something in the gym shower? The water pools right onto my feet!

A: The warm, moist environment of shower stalls makes them a dream breeding ground for bacteria and fungi. Flip-flops help a little bit, but you’re right: If there are stagnant pools of water and you step in them, you might as well be stepping in barefoot! The thing you’re most likely to catch is athlete’s foot—a treatable but annoying fungal infection—but there are plenty of other nasty bugs out there. Your gym should be frequently cleaning the showers (and the walls, which are equally gross) in between users. If you don’t notice your health club doing this essential step, wait until you get home to shower off. (What the yuck?! Do flip-flops really protect me in the gym shower?) "

To wear or not to wear flip-flops in the shower, that is the question. I say no, but I'm no germaphobe. Looking at the facts, however, if you're standing in a pool of water at the bottom of the shower, wearing shoes is not going to do you much good; the bacteria can still get to your feet. So instead, why not just squirt some shampoo or body wash at the bottom of the shower and clean it yourself. Yes, the facility should be cleaning the showers, but you never know; doing this will at least make you feel better. And if you get athletes foot or another fungal disease, most likely it is treatable with a simple cream.

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