Right now there are a few cold/flu bugs doing the rounds in the Vancouver area. I managed to catch one myself, I suspect from someone I trained with at another dojo over a week ago. I don’t usually get sick and when I do pick something up, my body is usually pretty good at shaking it off quickly. Not this time. I had to take it easy for nearly 4 days.
Because you’re in such close contact with people in martial arts training, particularly our style, you can easily become infected with any bugs being carried by the people you train with. so I have a few tips for preventing illness at the dojo. Anyway, no one likes to get sick, so here’s a few tips for preventing illness at the dojo.
1. Don’t Train. I’m all for enthusiastic students, but not when they’re sick. It can spread very easily all throughout the dojo when someone comes in ill. They say you’re at your most infectious at the very onset of a cold, so if you feel one just starting to come on, stay away from the mats! Some illnesses can also remain virulent throughout its duration, so it’s best altogether not to go in until you’re all better. And if you’re going to stay home, don’t train there either. Your body needs rest to fight off illness and when you push yourself at the onset of illness, you might just make things worse. (I went skiing at the onset of my cold. BIG mistake!)
2. Wash Your Hands. When you’re getting ready to go on the mats, take a moment to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water. You should do so for at least 20 seconds, about the same amount of time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday.”
3. Have Hand Sanitizer Handy. I keep a bottle of hand sanitizer readily accessible from the mats. There are lots of occasions when we touch each other’s faces in training, and of course, that its one of the most likely places we’re going to pick up anything from each other. But it interrupts the class too much to have everyone going off to wash their hands all the time. Having a bottle of hand sanitizer right there, keeps us sanitized without interrupting the flow of the class overly.
4. Wash Your Gi. I know I shouldn’t really have to tell people to wash their uniforms, but your gi is another place that receives lots of bodily contact from others, so it’s a good idea to wash it very regularly during the cold/flu season.
So that’s my two cents. (cough)(sneeze)(sniffle) Stay healthy everyone!