Your Local Gym as the Breeding Ground
for Fungus Infection
When people go to the gym, they think about getting healthy, building muscle, losing weight, an adrenaline rush, not about what might make them sick. Unfortunately the gym and public pool are both great places for the fungus that causes nail infections to breed and spread.
Why is this? Well most of these places have a place to change (even if it is just a dressing room) or a locker room with showers, even just a place out in the open to rinse off. All of these places have the potential to create colonies of fungus. As many of them have a tiled floor, the fungus likes to breed in the grout, the white glue between the tiles. When you walk over this grout with bare feet, you risk having the spores of the fungus attach themselves to you and find a way underneath your nails. How awful that you are able to take time to do something good for yourself, only to discover that you have accidentally contracted an infection, through no real fault of your own.
How Can I Prevent This?
The first thing to look at is your own footwear. If your gym shoes are old and worn out, they may be a potential breeding ground for fungus of many kinds all on their own! It may just be time to invest in a new pair of gym shoes. If you are able to, consider getting two pair so that you can rotate between them, allowing one pair to dry out thoroughly before you wear them again. Either way, make certain your shoes are dry inside before you put them on for exercise. Wear clean socks with them as socks can also hide fungal spores.
When you walk into the shower, wear some sort of rubber flip flop or shower shoe to protect the soles of your feet. Again, make certain that these dry out before you put them on as the humidity and darkness of the average shoe makes for ideal fungal breeding grounds.
Keep yourself healthy over all. If you go to the gym when you’re sick, absolutely practice good hygiene and make certain to wash your hands and feet, with soap and dry them well. The less chance of the fungus having a good place to live, the less likely they will be to grow.
And What Do I Do if I Do Become Infected?
If you catch it early, meaning your toenail has turned white or yellow at the tips but it hasn’t affected the entire nail yet, or gotten thick and brittle, you can soak your toes in vinegar. Take a large bowl or tub, fill it with half vinegar, half warm water, and soak the infected toes in it for 20-30 minutes, twice daily until the toenails have cleared up. Vinegar changes the pH of the growing environment for the nail fungus, making it “hostile”, thus harder for them to live in. White or apple cider vinegar are usually the best choices for treating a fungal nail infection.