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It seems the news has been filled with reports of MRSA, a type of Staphylococcus or "staph" bacteria that has developed a strong resistance to antibiotics used to treat staph infections. Although not common, MRSA can be a serious condition for those affected. Prevention is the top priority and in this case, knowledge really is power.
MRSA has been found among athletes and those who frequent health clubs due to the high incident of skin-to-skin contact, sweating and minimal cleaning between patrons. Steam rooms are particularly susceptible because the warm, humid environment provides optimal conditions for the bacteria to thrive.
Of course the benefits of a sauna are well known and include everything from detoxification to increased blood flow but when considering what type of sauna to visit or purchase, the reduction of MRSA is one of the many benefits of a dry sauna. In fact, having your very own home dry sauna is not only more convenient and clean but with low cost dry sauna kits, it may be more affordable than the spa sauna!
Whatever course of action you take, here are some quick tips to make sure you are safe and at reduced risk of contracting MRSA when using a steam room:
1. Use a towel or clothing as a skin barrier so that you do not directly contact the bench.
2. Allow the steam room to dry completely at least once a day. If you are visiting a spa steam room or traditional sauna, ask the management how frequently the sauna is air dried and sanitized. Bacteria don't like the dry air!
3. Clean and disinfect all surfaces or ask how frequently the spa sauna has been disinfected. Steam rooms provide the perfect environment for bacteria so frequent cleaning is needed. Dry saunas are much less prone to problems.