General Question

casheroo's avatar

Can you catch anything from sweat?

Asked by casheroo (18081points) April 20th, 2009

I feel like this may be a silly question, but I never really thought about it until I started at my new job.
I clean up a lot of sweat. I also have to be barefoot, so sometimes I step into the gross sweat..gag
I’m not talking about just me though. Let’s say I didn’t clean the equipment properly? Or someone didn’t thoroughly clean a tanning bed that someone else was about to lay in (just sweat, not from anything else)

What, if anything, can you get?
I’ve read a lot of medical type books, but have never read anything about this.

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19 Answers

Dog's avatar

Salt will disrupt the development of many pathogens. What are you doing?

casheroo's avatar

@Dog I’m a receptionist at a fitness studio. I have to clean up after the classes, which include hot yoga and spin class..so sweat is usually ALL over the place. I also have to handle sweaty towels. I was just curious if I could catch anything lol

drClaw's avatar

Yes you absolutely can. Tapeworm, Tinea, Impetigo, Herpes Gladiatorum, plus an infinite number of other skin infections.

Darwin's avatar

From what I read, both eccrine sweat (the stuff your body uses to cool itself) and apocrine sweat (underarm, groin and nipple sweat, aka “stinky sweat”) are both sterile when they arrive at the skin surface. However, if the person who is sweating has a bacterial or fungal skin infection the sweat could pick up elements of that condition and pass it on to you.

Therefore, may I suggest latex or nitrile gloves? That is what the cleaning staff at our health club wear.

Dog's avatar

Upon further research I suggest gloves..

See response below.

crisw's avatar

Interesting questions. It looks like some really nasty stuff may be spread by sweat, including SARS and Hepatitis C.

Wear those gloves!

PS- why do you have to be barefoot?

Facade's avatar

I didn’t know receptionists cleaned…

Darwin's avatar

Some of them multi-task, especially in small businesses.

“And other duties as assigned…”

YARNLADY's avatar

Wear gloves and do not go barefoot. I can’t imagine why a receptionist would have to. At the very least wear hospital booties (disposable paper slippers). Yes, there are many infectious conditions/diseases you can get from sweat.

The biggest scourge in health clubs today is MRSA. look it up.

drClaw's avatar

Wearing gloves is a good idea, but I forgot to mention that the type of contact you have with the sweat also makes a difference. For instance a wrestler is more susceptible to getting a bacterial infection because they make heavy contact (i.e. skin rubs heavily against the sweaty surface), whereas you are making light contact. This makes a big difference, not enough for you to walk around barefoot, but it definitely lowers your chances.

casheroo's avatar

I am not allowed to wear shoes. The owner is a protective of her bamboo floors. You can wear shoes in the spin room, but other than that, you have to remain barefoot, everyone does.

I had no clue about the Hepatitis C, that actually really confuses me. I thought that was only through blood. I lived in a house with someone with Hep C, and no one else ever caught it..
I’m definitely investing in some gloves.

oh, and I immediately showered after reading @drClaw‘s answer lol

casheroo's avatar

@Facade Receptionist is my title, but cleaning is part of my duties. I steam mop and vacuum pretty often.

Facade's avatar

@casheroo Did you know you’d be doing that from the get-go, or did they spring it on you?

SeventhSense's avatar

@casheroo
She won’t let you wear socks or those paper slippers?

SeventhSense's avatar

@Dog
just realized how much i like your name.

rooeytoo's avatar

I had no idea, thanks for the great question and the enlightening answers.

xBRIANx's avatar

You can catch Mersa – athletes are more prone to getting this.

cdwccrn's avatar

MRSA is definately something you don’t want to get. It stands for methicillin resistant staph aureus. It is more difficult to treat, and patients in a hospital are placed in isolation for treatment so the bacteria does not pass to others.
Could this employee wear rubber flip flops or sandals? Anything to protect her feet. She should have protection under OSHA I would think.

Flo_Nightengale's avatar

@casheroo when you started you job, within 90 days you should have been provided information on how to protect yourself. OSHA is a branch of the federal government that was fromed for the protection of the EMPLOYEE. The education is mandated in all the states. By law the employer has to provide protective equipment to protect the employee.

Sorry@cdwccrn but I wanted to emphasize the information you gave to @casheroo

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