- was coughing excessively,
- appeared sick to me, and
- had her hands all over the balls.
And all I could think of was – am I going to get swine flu from this lady? OK, I admit its unlikely. But, since we're passing balls back and forth and, often, putting our hands in the same snacks and on the same water coolers, I thought it might be a good idea for all of us to observe a few precautions to prevent the spread of swine flu out on the courts. So here we go:
- Get disinfected. Yes, I'm afraid that there is now something else you have to carry around in your tennis bag – hand sanitizer. The number one way that germs get transmitted from person to person is by the hands. Now, I'm not saying you need to be disinfecting during your match. Believe me, I have enough problems making sure my grip is dry enough but still tacky enough without adding a liquid or gel disinfectant to the mix. But you need to make hand hygiene a priority during flu season and alcohol-based hand sanitizers are a quick and easy way to keep your hands clean.
- Get your own snacks and drinks. Just bring it yourself. Avoid the whole sharing thing, just for a little while anyway.
- Get plenty of exercise. If you're reading this, then you're playing tennis and you're well on your way to getting all of the exercise you need to fight the flu. Exercise makes for healthier cells and a faster-acting immune system. So keep up the good work.
- Get plenty of sleep. Just like exercise, getting a good, long sleep strengthens your body's defenses and lowers your chances of catching a cold or the flu.
- Get some supplements. Again, supplements make for a healthier body which makes for a stronger defense against the flu. You should already be taking a multi-vitamin. You might also consider adding a dose of omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) and 1,000 IU of Vitamin D each day.
- Get the swine flu vaccine. I know, easier said than done. Not even my doctor husband has been able to get the H1N1 vaccine yet. But when it becomes available to us normal people, we're all getting it and you should too.
I know – all of this makes me sound like a paranoid hypochondriac whacko. Just wait until someone hands you a tennis ball that they've coughed all over.
© Kim Selzman 2009
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