Man warns of dangers of showering barefoot at the gym

Most of us have been to a gym or public swimming pool. Once there, you've probably forgotten your flip-flops on the odd occasion and decided to take a shower barefoot. You've heard health experts tell you thousands of times that it's wrong, but you do it anyway. I mean, what's the worst that could happen?

Well, the reality is that showers at gyms and public swimming pools are potentially dangerous places when it comes to fungal infections. As damp and humid places, they provide the perfect conditions for bacteria to spread, which increases the risk of infection. That's why it's always recommended to wear flip-flops when walking through these areas — it's simply the best way to avoid infections. Even so, many people don't adhere to this guideline for good hygiene and the consequences can be much worse than we think. 

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A man from Texas, who doesn't want to be named, learned this the hard way and talked about his horrific experience to the media. One afternoon he went to his local gym to do some marathon training. After the workout, he walked over to the showers, but soon realized he had forgotten his flip-flops. To avoid going back to work all sweaty, he decided to make an exception and shower barefoot. This proved to be a very costly mistake...

At first he noticed a small itchy spot on his left foot that was slightly harder than the skin around it. The doctor diagnosed him with a plantar wart — a benign tumor caused by an infection called human papillomavirus (HPV). Not particularly worried, the Texan started treating the wart with home remedies. But as the months passed, the growth wouldn't go away. This prompted him to return to the doctor, where he began a special type of treatment. Here were the results:

This was the condition of his foot six months after first noticing the wart. The treatment resulted in four more warts springing up on his foot. In intense pain, the man could barely walk on the swollen foot. After months of waiting, the Texan finally underwent surgery and received skin grafts made from fish scales to close the wounds. Though the problem is now solved, it'll take several more months before he can walk properly again.

What happened to this man could've happened to anyone. The truth is that the bacteria are there, even though we can't see them. That's why it's important to take notice of hygienic precautions in humid and damp areas, as they are prone to the spreading of bacteria and fungi. Every time you go to the gym or pool, always make sure to bring your flip-flops with you. 

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There are also a number of other measures you can take to minimize the risk of getting an infection:

- Always wear flip-flops when showering.

- Don't share your flip-flops with other people.

- Thoroughly dry your feet after showering.

- Wear well-ventilated shoes, or alternate the shoes you use so that you're not always wearing the same ones.

- Change your socks at least once a day.

- Use anti-fungal powder on your feet.

By following these simple guidelines, you can enjoy public areas without fear of catching an infection. Don't make the same mistake as the Texan — taking care of your feet is in your own hands! 

This website is neither intended nor suitable to replace, complete or refute professional advice, examinations, treatments, diagnoses, etc. by doctors, pharmacists, psychotherapists, medical practitioners and / or any other medical professional.

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