Flesh-eating bacteria is one of the more terrifying diseases of late, and like other scary skin infections such as MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus), impetigo, and strep, it thrives in the warm, moist environment of most gyms. But, as the Mayo Clinic points out, while community-acquired cases such as those in gyms, locker rooms, and designer wedding dress sample sales (anywhere there is a lot of wrestling involved) are on the rise, "most MRSA infections occur in people who have been in hospitals or other health care settings, such as nursing homes and dialysis centers."
Even though the nasty infections aren't very common, Dr. James Marrotta, M.D., a facial plastic surgeon in Long Island, New York, says that there are still plenty of microbes in the gym and taking sensible precautions are important. "Take care of the little things. Don't expose open skin [wounds] to the gym. Wash your hands with regular soap, singing "Happy Birthday" three times through. And shower right after your workout."
If you do end up with a bump or rash, keep the area clean and try using a topical cream like Bacitracin. If home remedies don't stop the pain or if you notice any quick changes in shape, diameter, color, or size, call your doctor right away, Dr. Marrotta says.