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Staying flu-free at the gym

Posted at 8:28 PM, Jan 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-24 20:28:06-05

Southwest Florida is seeing one of the worst flu seasons in years - as is most of the rest of the U.S. So how can you keep yourself from the flu when you're at the gym, where everyone shares equipment?

"We deep-clean the facility all the time," said Erin Bryant, owner of Iron Tribe Fitness in Naples.

Bryant mops the floor herself, and reminds her clients and coaches to pitch in and kill germs and viruses with disinfectant gym wipes.

"After every class, our people know that they have to grab (a wipe) znd wipe down whatever equipment they use," Bryant said. "We go behind them in between classes, in between shifts and just wipe everything down."

Lee Health is reporting an unusually high number of flu cases this year.

"We're having a higher spike this year than we've had in previous years," said Dr. Mary Beth Saunders, an infectious disease specialist with Lee Health, which is restricting children from visiting its hospitals until further notice duw to the flu epidemic.

Saunders said people need to be extra careful when touching things in public, such as gas pumps, shopping carts, ATMs and gym equipment.

"Places like gyms where there are a lot of people together, where they may not be washing their hands as much as they normally would...they're contaminating the surfaces of the gym equipment, and all are areas they need to watch out for," Saunders said.

Bryant said that's why her crew is so careful to sanitize. But she believes exercise itself is an important way to battle the flu bug.

"When you're exercising, intense exercise in the right duration, you're going to increase white blood cells, and you're going to help your body fight off infection," she said.