SEASONAL ILLNESS PREVENTION - via Sport Wales
04/09/2019 00:00, In Blog /
This month’s medicine and science update focuses on the prevention of seasonal illness. With many athletes returning to school, college and university over the coming months, one of the most common causes of lost training days is an infection. These infections are mostly upper respiratory tract infections (colds and sore throats) and gastrointestinal infections (diarrhoea and/or vomiting).
Infections can be easily spread between athletes and support staff, especially when there is direct contact such as treatment sessions or in the gym. Athletes can be particularly vulnerable to catching infections when they are in heavy training phases or travelling due to the stress it creates on their immune system.
If you have a temperature (above 37.4 degrees) with a cough, runny nose or muscle aches please contact your physiotherapist, coach or doctor before you come into the training centre where you will be advised not to train until you are feeling recovered.
Advice for reducing the risk of winter illness';
- Wash and/or use antiviral hand foam/gel on your hands frequently, especially when using shared equipment.
- Consider others when ill to prevent the spread of infection.
- Within the first 48hrs of experiencing any colds/coughs/sore throat symptoms follow the Emergency Pack strategy attached. This includes vitamin C, zinc Lozenge, probiotics and First defence use for 5 days. Sport Wales have a 25% discount code when ordering Healthspan Elite products: SPWAL-HEAL.
- Limit contact with potential sources of infection, particularly when you are more vulnerable (e.g. after hard training sessions or travel).
- Eat a rainbow everyday! Colourful fruit and vegetables contain essential vitamins, minerals & anti-oxidants to support your immune system. Target 2 servings of fruit/veg/salad with every meal or at least 5 servings a day! For further info on what counts as a serving click here https://www.nhs.uk/change4life/food-facts/five-a-day or for recipe/snack ideas check out @SWPNutrition on Instagram.
- Refuel promptly after training sessions to reduce immune stress and aid recovery, specifically foods containing carbohydrate, protein and antioxidants (e.g. zero % Greek yoghurt with mixed berries).
- Ensure adequate amounts of sleep (7-9 hours)
- Do not rush to return to training after an illness as the likelihood of it returning is high if you return too early.
It is advised that athletes training hard through the winter months consider having the flu vaccination each year, especially those athletes with asthma or immune system disorders. These can be accessed through your local pharmacy for £10.