Your muscles are sore, you’re sweating, and you have a headache — no, you didn’t just have a killer workout, you might have the flu.

Every year, tens of millions of people contract the flu and tens of thousands die from the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you’re one of the unfortunate ones to catch it, it could take a few days and up to two weeks to get back to normal.

While it’s always good to consciously prevent the spread of germs, people often take extra precautions from October to May (the time span when flu cases are at their highest). This should be no different when you’re at the gym. Unfortunately, though, most gym rats aren’t that sanitary to begin with. You’ve probably seen countless people neglect to clean their sweat off a machine when they’re done with it, or watched someone wipe their nose in their hands and proceed to curl some dumbbells. Gross.

Add in the guy who always has to workout no matter what, even when he’s hacking up a lung, and your Iron Paradise can quickly turn into a haven for germs. Next thing you know, you’re in bed with a 102-degree fever and missing out on some precious gains.

To help you survive this flu season with your killer body intact and your immune system untouched, we spoke with Dr. Waleed Javaid, MD, director of Infection Prevention and Control at Mount Sinai Downtown, about germs and the gym.

man sneezing

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