Updated: May 25
A very famous fitness personality once said that the hardest thing about managing a gym was . . . managing a gym! Well, he might be right, but as we all know, there’s an awful lot of things you have to deal with when you manage a fitness facility.
Not only do you have to create the perfect facility, and acquire new financing as you expand or change your programs, but you also have to find the staff that embody your ‘brand’. Then, of course, you have to keep getting new members and maintaining them. And if that weren’t enough you also have to find ways to contain and properly manage your costs.
Fitness Facilities are Bacterial and Viral Hot Spots
Well, I’m sorry to say it, but there’s another issue that you have to deal with on an ongoing basis ̶ and there’s no ducking it: The unfortunate fact of the matter is that gyms, health clubs and fitness facilities are bacterial and viral hot spots, and almost all your gym equipment ̶ plus your shower stalls and dirty towels ̶ can be home to a host of hazardous organisms.
In fact, a study published in The Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine discovered:
"The presence of rhinoviruses (instigators of the common cold) on 63% of the
gym equipment at tested fitness centers (including tread mills, exercise bikes
and free weights) and concluded that weight equipment was contaminated
significantly more than aerobic equipment (73 % versus 51%.)"
Now, some experts claim that there is no real evidence that you can contract any diseases in today’s health club facilities, which is good news for the approximately 60% of Americans who make regular use of the overabundance of gyms that populate the landscape.
The key phrase here is ‘some experts’, since there are others who think differently. But the, consider the fact that your average gym provides a warm, moist environment that is ideal for bacteria of all sorts.
Pests Will Find a Way In
But there are other, larger creatures that also thrive in such conditions, such as bed bugs, mites, fleas, lice, sowbugs, to name but a few. And it really doesn’t matter how fastidious you are about keeping your health facility clean and hygienically ‘up-to-snuff’, pests can, and will, find a way in.
Now, that’s not to say there isn’t anything you can do about these annoying interlopers, there is. You just have to know the signs and take the appropriate action.
If you are tempted to take the ‘out-of-sight-out-of-mid’ approach, don’t. There is nothing worse for business than your clients having to watch cockroaches scuttling across the locker room floor or finding bed bugs ensconced in the folds of that armchair in the lobby! And there isn’t anything more unpleasant than the sight of pests invading a client’s workspace.
So, let’s take a quick look at some of the pests you’re likely to encounter and talk about how to deal with them.
Getting Rid of Bed Bugs
Bed bugs are the ultimate stealth intruders and can be found in offices, schools, dormitories, retirement homes, even correctional facilities. In fact, if humans are present there’s a good chance bed bugs will be too. Especially since people provide them with their main source of nourishment ̶ blood!
In fact, bed bugs are among the most difficult pests to control. According to the journal Nature, at least 20% of all Americans have come across bed bugs in their homes, offices, and other assorted places.
What makes them especially problematic for health facilities is that they often enter undetected, often unwittingly brought into changing rooms on back packs, pocket books, luggage, clothing, towels, even work-out clothes. And, their flat bodies make it very easy for them to fit into small spaces. There are a number of ways to eliminate, and help prevent future ‘invasions’ by these unpleasant creatures and we suggest that you consult some of the Sterifab blogs that we’ve dedicated to the problem in the past.
Take a look at:
Oh Me, Oh My The Mites!
Second on our list of unpleasant pests you will probably encounter at one time or other is mites.
For the most part mites are not a threat to humans and they can be found literally everywhere: in fresh and salt water, soil, forests, pastures, crops, even caves!
However, despite their tiny size, some mite species ̶ and over 48,200 species have been identified up until now ̶ have been known to cause a variety of allergenic diseases, including hay fever, asthma and eczema. They have also been known to set off more than a few types of skin rashes, including rodent mite dermatitis, grain itch, gamasoidosis, grocer's itch and scabies.
Chances are your clients won’t even spot them, but you don’t want them in your facility. Ever.
Once again, we’ve dealt with mites in previous articles, and you can find some quick tips on how to spot and eradicate them:
Flee the Fleas
Let’s face it: bed bugs are disgusting, mites are a nuisance and cockroaches are ugly and unwelcome. But nothing creeps someone out more than the idea that they may be host to fleas. And your clients are no different.
Having your clients complain that they ‘acquired’ fleas at your gym is a sure-fire way to lose their patronage ̶ and maybe get the sort of bad reputation that can adversely affect your business. All it takes is one or two complaints and a few email posts and you could have a crisis on your hands. And remember, it takes a long time to build a solid reputation in the marketplace and no time at all you lose it.
Like bed bugs and mosquitoes, fleas subsist on the blood of their hosts. True, each species of flea prefers a particular animal species upon which to prey, every creature alive is a potential target, including us! Some experts contend that fleas as more of an annoyance than a threat to humans, but they have been associated with an assortment
Adult fleas may seem to be more annoying than dangerous to humans and pets, but they can cause a variety of medical disorders, such as allergy dermatitis, the spread of tapeworms, skin irritations, and anemia.
Ticks can’t fly, nor can they jump. They can only crawl! But that doesn’t prevent them from being a huge problem for us humans, to say nothing of our pets. Like bed bugs they are adept at hitching rides on any unsuspecting person or animal. They’re not particular.
We usually being them indoors (and that certainly includes health facilities) on our clothes, although they sometimes make their way in on back packs and shoes. Ticks often cling to vegetation and climb onto an unwary person (or animal) when they brush past. Like so many pests they depend on the blood of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians for survival.
However, unlike fleas or mites, which can transmit disease that are relatively minor and easy to treat, the opposite is true of ticks. They have been conclusively
Ticks have been associated with typhus, Rocky Mountain spotted, Lyme disease, Q fever, tularemia, bovine anaplasmosis and meningoencephalitis. By any standard that’s an extremely alarming set of possible ailments, to say the least.
Our pages on getting rid of ticks are packed with useful information about these pests ̶ and how to prevent them from returning once you’ve eradicated them.
Get Rid of the Bugs ̶ Now and in the Future.
We believe ̶ and the numbers and testimonials bear us out ̶ that Sterifab® is one of the most effective and successful agents for eradicating an enormous range of insects, including fleas, bed bugs, mites and ticks, among others. Plus, it’s not only easy to use and completely clear, but it dries quickly, doesn’t leave any residue and won’t damage carpets or fabrics.
In fact, Sterifab can be used on virtually on anything. And, because no perfumes are used in its manufacture, it has no unpleasant odor. It is particularly useful in health facilities, since it kills fungus, viruses, mold, mildew and can disinfect your entire facility. If your chosen pest management company doesn’t use Sterifab, then suggest that they do so. You won’t be sorry.
There are few things that could potentially shut down your business as quickly as a some unwelcome, creepy, crawling visitors,. If you want to make sure your health care facility or gym is free of invaders - big and small - we highly recommend trying out Sterifab. It will take care of everything from cockroaches to invisible bacteria, and everything in between. Plus, it’s nonresidual and won’t leave any odor.