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High Risk For Staph Infection: How Not Buying New Gym Clothes Will Make You Sick

We’ve been there before. We wake up in the morning and throw on some shorts and that t-shirt you don’t mind sweating in – it’s old and it’s THE workout shirt. Well, the problem is that between the high thread count and Dri-Fit technology, bacteria builds up despite all the hot water and bleach wash cycles. Don’t be a miser. Instead, be health conscious and regularly change your gym clothes.

Our common reaction when it comes to doing something that is sweaty or dirty is to wear something old. We are innately taught to work hard and save towards our eventual retirement (Social Security permitting). While these traits are all fine and noble, one should always know when to save and when to spend. Consumer electronics? Probably not. Gym clothes? Something that you get good use out of 3-5 times a week, 52 times in a year? Yeah, don’t be a stingy scrooge. I learned my lesson, the hard and disgusting way.

It started off with an inconspicuous rash under the armpits. Everyone gets rashes, so it’s not a big deal … except ... it didn’t quite disappear. It persisted around longer than a mother-in-law. With the advent of the internet, we all have become experts at self-diagnosing ourselves. Google image searches hinted that this was a fungal rash, which in turn lead to another search, which directed me towards anti-fungal creams. I also bit the bullet and got new gym clothes. Summer was coming around, and one had to look svelte, yeah?

Several days later and after many topical applications, the bugger was still there … staring straight at me in the mirror, making my maximum gains minimum with such an unsightly scene. In fact, it actually got worse and a few more spots popped up. Want to be frustrated? Catch a rash, and try it explaining what it is to a shawty. Seeing how this thing was interfering with all aspects of my life, I decided to find an expert more experienced than me. I visited my physician.

When I took the walk of shame into my doctor’s office in Los Angeles, an episode of Seinfeld ran through my head. In it, George Costanza’s dad explained how every Emergency Room visit starts off with “it was a one in a million shot…” Whatever the real reason why one had an embarrassingly situation where something is stuck up one’s orifice, it was countered with a seemingly implausible sequence that happened. Well, I was tempted in lying my way out of this one, but one should always be honest to your doctor. After all, they hold the magical prescription pad. So I told when the rash appeared, and how I wore ten year old workout clothes that smelled funky the minute I started sweating. I also told him I tried anti-fungal medication to no avail.

As my doctor examined me, he told me anti-fungal wouldn’t even touch what I had. He said he’d prescribe me some cream that’ll cure what ailed me. I took a look at the prescription he handed me and it read “Bactroban.” My heart sank, because it immediately clicked in my head what I had based on the medication. I had a staph infection.

Apparently, wearing dirty gym clothes that I sweated in created the perfect environment for germs to grow, much like a petri dish. Our pores naturally emit sweat as a mechanism for cooling our bodies down through the pores. The reason we get black heads on our noses is due to dirty and other contaminants accumulating and clogging the pores. Pimples sprout when the pores are too clogged with too much bacteria, and the whiteheads are the byproduct of the infection. Well, our bodies are lined with pores that are just as susceptible to an infection, and the sweating and dirty gym clothes clogged me up and resulted in the staph infection. If left untreated, the spreading infection would break down skin, exacerbating the infection to greater levels. Somewhere down the line, the infection makes it into the blood, and sepsis can occur. The cascading nature meant it was essential to treat the rash ASAP.

I am more than happy to say, I am cured! And I have learned my lesson. My gym clothes are changed regularly. But let my experiences be a lesson for all from being reluctant in buying new workout shirts and shorts. Money should never be an issue when it comes to one’s health. More importantly, being hygienic decreases the chance of you catching a staph infection or worse: MRSA.

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