Herpes is one of the most common diseases in the world – and it’s possible to catch it without having sex.
Next time you head to the gym to bust out a sweaty workout, you may want to be aware that there’s a chance of contracting herpes (although it’s very rare).
Shared gym equipment can be bursting with bacteria, harbouring more germs than bathrooms.
For example a recent report from FitRated.com found that free weights have 362 times more bacteria than a toilet seat and the typical treadmill has 74 times more bacteria than a public washroom sink.
If this wasn’t scary enough, now surgeon David A. Greuner, M.D., has warned fitness fans about what’s lurking on gym mats.
In a recent blog post, he said rolling out that yoga mat increase your risk of acne, skin infection and even herpes.
So how could that happen?
Someone infected with herpes would have to transfer their disease onto the mat and it’s possible for the virus to survive on an object for hours and sometimes days.
Dermatologist Lauren Eckert Ploch, M.D., told Men’s Health: “It is rare, but can occur, especially if the mat is not cleaned after use.
“It is rare, but can occur”
Lauren Eckert Ploch, M.D.
“The most likely scenario is [the virus] coming into contact with skin on the hands and then touching your lips or your genitals.
“That could spread the virus to that area if there was broken skin.”
There are two strains of herpes, the first is known as herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). Also called oral herpes, this virus usually causes cold sores around the mouth.
Whereas the second type (HSV-2) is best known as genital herpes and can cause painful blisters down below.
Other less obvious symptoms include aches and pains, burning sensations, discharge or difficulty urinating.
To prevent yourself from contracting something you don’t want, you should disinfect the gym mat before use by using anti-bacterial wipes or sanitising sprays.
Or you could just bring your own mat to the gym.