What Else Is Coming Home From Yoga Class?
With the increasing popularity of yoga, yoga centers are a growing concern for transmitting disease
Bacteria can survive for several hours to several days on inanimate surfaces, while viruses can actually linger for weeks. Warm, humid conditions such as those found in most yoga centers are prime real estate for multiplying germs. America's growing number of yoga practitioners aren't helping the situation. The average person touches his or her face 18 times per hour, passing germs from the nose and mouth to the skin and back again, says Charles P. Gerba, Ph.D., a professor of microbiology at the University of Arizona.
Among these easily shared germs are acne bacteria, streptococcus, fungi, and staphylococcus bacteria. Of chief concern in that list is methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Over 30 percent of the population silently carries staphylococcus bacteria, including MRSA. A bug that seems to resist almost all antibiotics, MRSA was once found only in hospitals but has, in the last few decades, spread to wrestling matches, fitness centers, and, yes, yoga classes. MRSA infections are usually manifested as skin infections, such as pimples and boils that are red, swollen and painful.
The CDC (Center for Disease Control) has identified "5 C's" as the most common ways that MRSA is transmitted:
• Compromised skin (even minor cuts and scrapes, shaved legs)
• Contaminated items and surfaces (towels, band aids, tissues)
• Lack of Cleanliness
Popular yoga studios are typically crowded, with participants packed together with hardly enough room to stretch. Yoga participants can work in pairs, which often results in skin to skin contact. The practice of yoga, and especially hot yoga, encourages less clothing, presenting more skin for direct contact, as well as exposing minor cuts, scrapes and abrasions. Bare skin and open wounds are all susceptible to the spread of diseases and MRSA.
Virulent MRSA can infect a person through a small cut and grow into a large pus-filled abscess within an hour. In some cases, community-associated MRSA (CA-MRSA, the kind found in sports facilities) causes blood poisoning and leads to full-blown sepsis.
To protect against the rampant germs at a yoga studio, experts recommend hand-washing immediately before and after class with hot water and soap for 20 to 30 seconds to kill contaminants. Hands should be dried with a disposable paper towel, as cloth towels are notorious for spreading germs.
Likewise, yoga mats should be cleaned after class and dried completely before rolling. There are plenty of yoga mat sprays on the market. But Patti Johnson, Customer Satisfaction Specialist for BluePearlz Botanicals, suggests, "Our customers who practice yoga save money and avoid toxic chemicals with a DIY solution using Tea Tree Oil, which is a common ingredient in antiseptic sprays due to its antimicrobial properties."
Here is a recipe for a yoga mat spray that can be made at home:
Combine one cup vinegar, one cup rubbing alcohol, one cup warm water, and 10 ml (1 Tbs) Tea Tree Oil. Store in a dark glass container. Fill a glass spray bottle, spray the mat, and leave wet for at least 30 seconds to eliminate any microorganisms. Let the mat air dry, or wipe with a clean towel before rolling.
About BluePearlz Botanicals
BluePearlz Botanicals is a Texas-based, woman-owned company dedicated to bringing premium natural products to the online marketplace. To ensure customers receive the only highest quality, BluePearlz Botanicals sources only pure, undiluted, therapeutic grade products from growers and suppliers around the world. Focusing on exceptional customer satisfaction, BluePearlz Botanicals offers a better than money back guarantee.
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