What the Yuck: Do flip-flops really protect me in the gym shower? ww
December 10th, 2010
06:42 PM ET

What the Yuck: Do flip-flops really protect me in the gym shower? ww

Too embarrassed to ask your doctor about sex, body quirks, or the latest celeb health fad? In a regular feature and a new book, "What the Yuck?!," Health magazine medical editor Dr. Roshini Raj tackles your most personal and provocative questions. Send 'em to Dr. Raj at whattheyuck@health.com.

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 make 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.

Roshini Raj, M.D., is Health magazine’s medical editor and co-author of “What the Yuck?!.” Board-certified in gastroenterology and internal medicine, Raj is also an assistant professor of medicine at New York University Medical Center and a contributor on the “Today” show.

Copyright Health Magazine 2011

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.