Booster Shots

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Pump some iron, then some hand sanitizer

October 22, 2009 |  2:34 pm

While at the gym the other morning we noticed a sizable bottle of hand sanitizer where none had been before. While our gym always stocks disinfectant cleaner and paper towels with which to wipe down machines, the sanitizer was something new, and we couldn't help question if it was a pre-emptive strike against the H1N1 flu, or even the seasonal flu, for that matter.

Hoyylvkf Wondering if other gyms were concerned with the spread of flu germs, we called Nanette Pattee Francini, president and founder of the Sports Club/LA, who said that although hand sanitizer has been available to members for years, trainers have recently been advised to use it, and have clients use it after every workout. "We've had it in the gym for years because it's a smart idea," she says. "With the trainers, we explained that it's good to get into the habit. And we're definitely asking any team member who is feeling sick to please stay home. But I haven't noticed anybody sniffling and sneezing at the club."

Most people know they should wipe down cardio and weight machines after using them, but not everyone does. Even if you don't see tell-tale sweat droplets on equipment before using it, health experts advise cleaning it anyway before hopping on. And of course, wash your hands before leaving the gym.

What flu-related changes have you seen at your gym? Extra signs asking people to clean off machines? Drum-size containers of hand sanitizer? People on the stair climber wearing protective face masks? Or is it business as usual? Let us know what's happening.

--Jeannine Stein

Photo credit: Gregory Bull / Associated Press