Hitting the local gym or yoga studio is certainly a good way to stay in shape. It’s not only good for the body, it’s good for the mind. While we all want to look and feel better there are hazards that come with a regular workout routine. No, I’m not talking about muscle strain. I’m talking about bed bugs.
Gyms and fitness centers are prime hot spots for bed bug activity. It makes sense, really. There are always people coming and going, each bringing shoes, clothes, and towels with them. And if there’s one thing we’ve learned over the years it’s that bed bugs go where people go. Your fitness center, yoga studio, and gym are no exception.
Are You Sharing Your Workout with Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs travel by hitchhiking on their hosts. It’s how they find new environments to inhabit. It’s how they spread. If another member of your local fitness center has a bed bug problem at home they may be unknowingly carrying some stray pests around with them as they go about their day. That means there’s a fair chance they’re bringing them into the same gym you’re using.
It doesn’t take much for those bed bugs to migrate into someone else’s locker, or crawl into another patron’s gym bag. Once there the hitchhiking continues, and those bed bugs travel on to a new home where they can set up shop. It might even be your home.
Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to minimize the risk of bringing stray bed bugs home from your workout sessions. Here are 6 simple tips to avoid bringing bed bugs home from your fitness center.
1 – Choose the Right Locker
The first thing most people do when they get to the gym is change out of their street clothes and put them in a locker. It’s best to choose a locker that’s at the top of the stand. While bed bugs are happy to travel when they need to they’re basically lazy creatures. They can’t jump or fly and they’ll avoid climbing whenever they can.
Choosing a locker on the top reduces the chances of bed bugs migrating into your storage place. Bed bugs are more likely to move down than up. Of course, before you stow your belongings you’ll want to check the locker out to make sure there aren’t any bed bugs hiding in a corner.
2 – Inspect the Locker Ranks
When you hit the lockers, either on the way in or out, it’s always a good idea to look around to see if you can spot any signs of bed bug activity. Check along the floor and in any gaps in the tows of lockers. If you see any signs of bed bugs move on to another row of lockers. But first notify the staff so they can take care of the problem.
3 – Keep Your Gym Bag Safe
Your gym bag makes an attractive target for bed bugs. It offers a cool dark space for them to hide. If you want to avoid picking up any stray bed bugs it’s a good idea to keep your workout gear in a resealable plastic bag rather than a backpack or carryall. During your workout keep your clothing in the bag and keep that bag sealed.
4 – Carry a Bed Bug Proof Laundry Bag
After your workout you should put any dirty clothes or towels into a bed bug proof laundry bag. Bed bug proof bags are made from a special material that is resistant to bed bugs. The material used makes it difficult for bed bugs to climb on, or stick to, the bag. These laundry bags can be easily found in big box department stores or online.
5 – Inspect Your Workout Gear Before Heading Home
When you’re done working out inspect your clothes and other belongings carefully before packing up to head home. Look for any signs of bed bugs. Shake out your workout clothes and towels to shake off any pest that might have crawled into your stuff. Wipe down yoga mats and other materials before packing them away in your gym bag.
6 – Wash Your Dirty Clothes
Naturally you’re going to wash your dirty gym clothes. That goes without saying. But the point is to wash them as soon as you can. If possible take them straight to your laundry room. The idea is to avoid taking them into the house where any stray bed bugs can jump off.
Wash your workout clothes and towels in hot water, and then dry them on the highest setting possible. This will help to kill any bed bugs you may have accidentally picked up.
Protect Yourself and Your Home Bed Bugs
Bed bugs go wherever we go and that included fitness centers. If you see signs of bed bug activity at your gym or yoga studio speak with the staff and alert them to the problem. While they address the problem on site you can take comfort in knowing you have taken the necessary steps to avoid bringing those pest into your home.
Published by Scott Palatnik
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