Bring a towel to Wellness Center and prevent Staph infection

Ed S. Fishman 

Ed S. Fishman

Bring a towel to the Wellness Center. It will help you avoid being one of the 90,000 people that get a staph infection every year.

Staph infections occur when the Staphylococcus bacteria gets under an individual’s skin through a wound, and they can cause a range of problems from skin irritation to death. This bacterium thrives in warm and moist places like gyms. The grips of exercise equipment could be one home to these bacteria.

How is a towel the difference between being healthy or developing a skin condition? A towel can be used to separate your hands from the handles, preventing contact between your skin and the potential bacteria.

The Wellness Center is very proactive in preventing staph infection outbreaks. It uses Virex, the disinfectant that is in those spray bottles in the cubbies in the Fitness Room, which kills many viruses and bacteria.

UM’s gym also has a daily schedule for Fitness Room employees to wash every piece of machine each day.

Even with these precautions you still should be responsible and bring a towel.

It’s the same logic as using a condom. A guy might be able to get away with not wearing a condom and not getting a lady friend pregnant by using a slew of different techniques (none appropriate to talk about in this piece), but one more precautionary step could not hurt.

Granted, the chance of getting a staph infection at the gym is low. According to a 2007 New York Times report titled “Staph at the Gym? Not if You’re Careful,” getting staph infection at the gym is small, but using a towel will decrease your chances further.

I do have a bias. I work in the Fitness Room. It would make my job easier if everyone brought towels and I would not have to worry about sitting at a chair at the front of the Fitness Room calling out people that did not have their own.

However, this is not a selfish plea. If I wanted to write a purely self-interested piece I would ask everyone to wear deodorant to the gym or tell patrons to please re-rack their weights by putting them back where they found them. Both, in my opinion, would improve the gym.

The main point of this is that I want people to know there is a reason we require a towel.

You remember your Cane Card, you remember your iPod, so you can remember your towel.

March 8, 2009


Ed S. Fishman

News Editor

ONE COMMENT ON THIS POST To “Bring a towel to Wellness Center and prevent Staph infection”

  1. Tony Musto, PhD says:

    Great article by Ed. It is important for students to realize that ALL of the policies we have in the Wellness Center Fitness room are to benefit the users. Towels make the environment cleaner, re-racking weights keeps the area organized and “trip-hazard” free, asking patron to wear appropriate attire keep workout comfortable and safe etc. Nice Job Ed!

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