What the Yuck: Gym machine germs
June 24th, 2011
08:02 AM ET

What the Yuck: Gym machine germs

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: What's the worst thing you can catch from the machines at the gym?

Probably the worst thing is the staph bacteria MRSA (short for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), the "superbug" that can cause a very aggressive and difficult-to-treat skin infection, which can invade the blood.

This bug, which is resistant to most kinds of antibiotics, is spread through close contact - athletes on a sports team sometimes spread it to each other. What's scary is it can survive on gym machines between users. Wipe the equipment off with an antibacterial wipe before using it.

And if you have any open sores or wounds or skin irritation, stay away from the machines because your broken skin will make you more vulnerable to contracting something.

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.