According to the BBC, three of the most common locker-room bugs are warts, athlete's foot and molluscum contagiosum and, to most parents, this will come as no surprise. Because no matter how vigilant or clean you are, chances are your kids will be affected at some stage by at least one of these locker-room nasties. It's an inevitability of social and family life and these super efficient bugs love to lurk unseen on towels, clothes and tiles. But the good news is that none of them are particularly serious and all of them are 100% treatable.
What you might not know is that kids under the age of 11 are particularly susceptible to, well, just about everything. In case you hadn't already noticed, younger kids between 3 and 6 years old seem to have a cold or stomach flu for 6 months out of the year. And if you think about it, with their less-than perfect toilet habits, dirty fingernails and a penchant for putting things in their mouth that don't belong there – it's no surprise. Their little immune systems are still forming and so exposure to locker-room bugs, fungi and viruses are likely to affect your young-uns at some stage.
Warts and verrucas
These are both caused by what is known as the human papilloma virus and spread easily from skin-to-skin contact or through contact with contaminated surfaces like changing room floors and the areas surrounding swimming pools.
The variety that appear on the knuckles, knees and hands are known as warts and they can appear as a solitary spot or in clusters. Whereas verrucas occur on the soles of your feet and toes, growing inwards and often causing pain. Like warts, verrucas can occur as a small one off infection or they can grow in clusters.
Both warts and verrucas are difficult to get rid of but with persistence and the right course of treatment they can be eliminated. Typical wart treatments are bought over the counter at the pharmacy and will take anything from six weeks to many months to disappear completely. There are also lots of natural remedies including the use of gaffa tape, banana skin or you could always try selling it to your friend for a pound!
You might think this is an adult condition, but kids are just as likely to pick this infection up. Its medical name is tinea pedis, and it's a fungal condition that causes itching, red rashes and flaky dry skin between the toes. It is also often the cause of smelly feet!
Because fungus loves a dark and humid environment, it thrives near swimming pools, showers and locker rooms. It spreads easily from skin-to-skin and via contaminated towels, clothes and surfaces.
There are loads of over the counter treatments for athlete's foot, but do seek advice about treating under 12s. If you're looking for a natural remedy, tea-tree oil is said to work wonders. A nightly foot soak with some tea-tree oil and warm water or tea tree ointment applied direct should clear up most cases.
OK, so this one might not be as much of a household name as warts and athlete's foot but it's just as prevalent in little ones. It's known as water warts but its official name is molluscum contagiosum and the clue is in the name.
This virus is highly infectious and most people are resistant to it, but like warts, some people are prone to developing the infection. They look like little raised pearl-like spots, and while they aren't painful, they can get itchy. It's spread from skin-to-skin contact and also through contaminated items like towels and flannels.
There is a treatment for water warts and it's called MolluDab. It is available over the counter at the pharmacy and is safe to use on children. MolluDab works by helping the body to recognise the virus and fight it, clearing the lesions in between 1 – 5 week's time.