Sniffles and coughs are rampant by mid January, but your team doesn’t have to fall victim to the microscopic bugs that cause these icky symptoms. Soccer players are not immune to the cold or flu, but they can protect themselves from the most rampant winter viral infections.
Heed these seasonal cold and flu fighting tips and stay golden:
Get the flu shot.
It’s not just for old people. Although flu shot posters at your local CVS may start to appear on walls as early as September, the flu season peaks between January and February. If you have not gotten that dreaded shot, then run for it.
The flu vaccine takes two weeks to work. That’s how long it takes for your body to build up antibodies to the common flu strains that it is meant to protect against. Yes, you are still susceptible to other common viruses. No, it won’t protect you from everything, but the flu can take you out for up to two weeks. Who wants to spend two weeks in bed while your team scores goals?
Hydrate and sleep.
Duh, right? It’s easier said than done though. Soccer players tend to push themselves to the limit. If you’re feeling more tired than the norm and you know you’ve been around sick teammates, then take a day to hydrate and sleep. There are a number of cold remedies that the Mayo Clinic recommends. Sip on water, juice, warm broth, tea with honey and lemon and don’t resist a nap. Sleep regenerates.
Eat like it’s bathing suit season.
We all tend to get a little lax with our diets when hibernation season sets in. Stay conscious about your dietary choices. Not only will diet maintain your energy levels, but healthy foods such as honey, garlic and yogurt all have nutrients that power your immune system.
Wash your hands… and wash them again.
Wash with soap and for more than 10 seconds. It actually is one of the most effective ways to control the spread of germs. Since your skin may not like all that scrubbing mid winter, lotion up with antibacterial lotion.
Thou shalt not touch thy face.
The instinct to wipe your brow during a tough workout can be overpowering. Do not touch your face after practice. Players, repeat after me, “Thou shalt not touch the eyes nor the mouth when using commonly shared equipment.” Always use your own towel, and do not share water bottles. You never know who is infected and at the cusp of a florid upper respiratory infection.
Photo via AdobeStock @annems