nik: I didn't mean to scare ya away from gyms!!!! That TOTALLY WAS NOT MY INTENT!!! Yikes... now I feel horrible!
Basically, germ and microbes are EVERYWHERE, even in gyms. It's unavoidable, but with proper hygiene and thorough cleaning of equipment, you can prevent illnesses/infections. Plus, the risk of actually contracting something is EXTREMELY RARE!!! What I contracted was like a 1/1,000,000,000 chance (lucky me, eh?!)
What you CAN do to decrease your chances of contracting anything are (and to remind you, the chances of contracting anything is VERY SLIM... our bodies are awesome at killing foreign invaders even BEFORE we notice symptoms, thanks to our immune system and it's associated structures such as mucous membranes, saliva, lymph, WBC, etc.....)
-Wash your hands before and after working out and after using the bathroom
-Wipe off sweaty benches, machines, equipment
-Cover up any cuts or breaks in the skin when working out
-take a shower (wear flip-flops if using the gym's shower)
-eat a nutritious diet
Another key thing is not NOT let yourself get too germ-phobic. Don't overuse anti-bacterial soaps and lotions and avoid places/things just because you are afraid of germs. You need to let your body develop defenses against germs and the only way to do this is to be exposed to germs.
I feel REALLY bad that I scared ya with my freaky incident. In fact, I went to the gym as soon as I could after I got discharged from the hospital (with my attractive PICC Line and Hand-brace in place!) Sure, I looked like I had just gotten out of a war (and still felt like poop), but did that stop me from doing something that I LOVED to do??? Not for one second. When I first went back, I was of course weary of contracting another infection, but that quickly ceased. I don't even wear gloves anymore. I eventually changed gyms (to one that was cleaner and more friendly.. but this was unrelated to the MRSA incident), but have I stopped going to the gym b.c of this? HECK NO! So, don't let a little thing like germs keep u from going to the gym! Your body can overcome just about anything and the chances of u contracting anything are extremely small.