I wanted to like the dry sauna but the stifling heat made it too unpleasant. But the steam room, I love! It’s my reward after a tough workout. Even though my body can only handle about 10-15 minutes, I can immediately feel the benefits.
But I can’t help but wonder “how sanitary is the steam room at my gym?” (Side note: germs can thrive in the dry sauna, too).
Here’s how you can tell if your steam room needs some cleaning: If you get any whiff of mildew, get out of there and tell the staff at your gym. And even if the steam room seems fine, don’t hesitate to politely ask the front desk staff how often it is cleaned. This is a reasonable question to ask since steam rooms are a perfect environment for viruses and bacteria to live and grow. An unclean steam room can cause respiratory infections, spread colds and, worse case scenario, spread MRSA (FYI — you can also contract MRSA by using shared gym equipment). Just to be safe, make sure to wash your hands after leaving the steam room and don’t touch your face if you touched any surfaces in the steam room.
There are so many benefits of sitting in a steam room or sauna, I feel it outweighs the possible dangers. You can contract viruses in many highly-trafficked places, after all. But it’s smart to take precautions and safeguard your health.