Guest Author - Caroline Chen-Whatley
It never fails. When one person in a Martial Arts school gets a cold or flu, normally more than half of the rest of the school will also pick it up within a week. While you canít prevent this from happening, there are some precautions you can use with your equipment to minimize it from happening.
1. Donít share your gear.
Iím probably going to sound like the mean one here to some people and some schools but Iím a strong believer of NOT sharing your gear with others. This includes things like footpads, knee guards, helmets, gloves, and chestguards. Iíve seen this happen countless times when someone has forgotten their equipment or their equipment is broken. Then these items get tossed around from person to person to find a fit. Not only is this a bad idea because a lot of this equipment is expensive and can get lost or broken, but it exposes you to other peopleís sweat and thus a conduit for passing colds and germs. Sweat, like saliva, is a transporter of most bacteria and viruses that cause colds and flu.
2. Bring along some cleanwipes.
These days, many brands like Lysol, sell clean wipes, which come in portal canisters. This is perhaps one of the best invention for people on the go and particularly good if you canít follow guide #1. A wipe down after sharing your equipment or using a wipe before you have to use someone elseís equipment could help prevent you from catching other peopleís germs.
One thing to be careful is that you canít use these wipes on certain pieces of equipment, like wooden staves, as it may damage them.
The other thing thatís along a similar line are the antibacterial gels which you can wipe your hands with. These, however, only cover one part of the body, the hands. Itís still a good idea to carry a small vial of that around but realize that in Martial Arts you tend to come in contact with another person at many points of your body, not just your hands. So, the protection these sort of gels provide is limited.
3. Donít go through drastic temperature changes.
Thereís an old saying ďyouíll catch a cold.Ē While modern science has mostly disproven the idea of catching a cold, there is still some adage to the old saying. If youíre sweaty and then subject yourself to a sudden temperature change (namely into a cold environment), youíre putting your system through shock and thus opening yourself up to germs. Thus, be it stepping into the cold outside or an air-conditioned area, make sure if youíre just done with your workout you bring a jacket or something to keep your body from going into shock.
Following a few simple precautions can reduce your chances of catching a cold or flu while youíre at your Martial Arts school. However, it wonít prevent it. And if youíre the carrier and not feeling well that day, please consider your fellow students and abstain from too much contact. If you donít want to break a routine, you can consider coming to class and taking notes instead of getting on the floor and spreading your cold or flu to others.