Getting sidelined by an injury is one thing, but to be out for a few days to a week due to the flu can be a menace, too. Everyone is encouraged to get an annual flu shot, but athletes are an especially high-risk group who should consider the benefits of getting an annual flu shot.
What makes an athlete at-risk for getting the flu?
Habits and behaviors such as constant traveling, increased close contact, and likelihood of sharing objects like water bottles can act as disease vectors. And besides the everyday details of being an athlete, there are more serious side effects of being one, namely the reduced immune function. Heavy exertion has acute and chronic effects on the immune system, which can lead to upper respiratory illnesses during heavy bouts of training.
For an athlete, getting the flu can mean being out for most of the season, which can be a huge inconvenience if you’re a primary player on the team.
Here are a few ways you can have a flu-free sports season
- Get your flu shot – Getting your seasonal flu shot is your best line of defense to avoid getting the flu.
- Avoid sharing with teammates – Make sure to bring your own water bottles and towels to games and practices.
- Shower after a game or practice – Send all those cold and flu germs right down the drain by showering after a game.
- Cover up cuts – Most skin infections are transmitted through breaks in the skin. Bandage up wounds as soon as they happen.
- Skip the game if you’re sick – You may want to be there for your team, but you’ll do more harm than good playing while sick and increases the likelihood of your teammates catching your cold, too.
- Always wash your clothes – You may think you can get away with wearing the same gym clothes again and again, but you should always wash your clothes followed by a workout or a game.
- Sanitize your equipment before and after games – Take a few minutes to carefully sanitize equipment before you use it and once more when you’re done.
If you’re an athlete looking to have a flu-free sports season, visit AFC Urgent Care Malden for treatment! We provide seasonal flu shots as well as treatment for colds, flu, and more. A quick visit to our walk-in clinic is all you need to get back in the game!