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10U Q-and-A: Avoiding the flu during peak season

01/23/2019, 1:00pm MST
By Kevin Margarucci, USA Hockey manager of player safety

Q: What advice do you have for helping my hockey player avoid the flu this winter?

A: The Center for Disease Control (CDC) states that December through February is the peak of flu season. While the flu can strike at any time, here is some information about the illness and what you can do to prevent it and keep your child in the game.

What is influenza?

Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. The flu vaccine is recommended as a precautionary defense by the CDC. 

“Influenza is not specific to hockey and is by no means an epidemic. However, we have had cases in hockey, and as a responsible youth sports organization, it’s important we share tips to help prevent the spread of influenza and also raise awareness in the hockey community,” said Dr. Michael Stuart, USA Hockey’s chief medical and safety officer.

What are the symptoms?

Flu-like symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headaches, chills and fatigue. Some people also may have vomiting and diarrhea. If flu symptoms occur, you should have your child evaluated by a physician and started on antiviral medication if necessary.

Here are some tips on how to prevent and stop the spread of influenza:   

  • Avoid close contact with anyone who is sick.
  • Quarantine those with flu symptoms (players, coaches, parents).
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Frequently wash hands with soap and water or alcohol-based sanitizer.
  • Use individual water bottles.
  • Don’t try to “play through” the illness. Rest is important, as is limiting others’ potential exposure.
  • See your doctor.

For more information on influenza, click here.

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