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Tips to Avoid MRSA Infections: Superbug Hotspots

Gym Equipment

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Clean benches, bars, and mats with antibacterial wipes, and let the surface dry before using. Also consider wearing pants and long-sleeve tops instead of shorts and tanks, and cover any scrapes or cuts with bandages. Be sure to stash a pair of flip flops in your gym bag.

Locker Rooms and Showers

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After your workout, take a shower as soon as possible to scrub away any bacteria lingering on your skin. “And don’t share a towel, razor, or other personal items,” says Rosa Herrera, a spokeswoman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Avoid touching the walls or curtains, and if the stalls appear dirty or moldy, wait until you get home to shower. Applying moisturizer daily keeps the skin from cracking.

Nail Salons

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At least 12 states have reported MRSA infections at nail salons. “If yours appears unclean, don’t go there,” says Paul T. Smith, M.D., a clinical assistant professor of medicine and infectious diseases at Weill Medical College of Cornell University. “And ask if the equipment has been sterilized.” If you have an open cut, skip the manicure or pedicure altogether. Bring your own nail tools to the salon.

Saunas and Steam Rooms

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MRSA thrives in warm, damp environments. To protect your skin from contaminated surfaces, wear flip-flops when walking around and sit on a towel. For extra precautions, ask someone how often the steam room or sauna is cleaned.

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