Prevent Game-Ending Illnesses

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During training and competition, your hands are constantly in contact with objects—balls, equipment, other athletes, the ground (hopefully not for too long, though). Even cross country runners have to brush back the occasional tree branch. But do you know what your hands may be picking up?

Due to constant contact with unsanitary objects, your hands can begin to accumulate germs (bacteria, viruses, fungi), which can be transferred into your body by touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Viruses and bacteria can take a toll on your body, leading to a poor performance or even a spot on the IR (injured reserves) due to illness.

Nobody wants to get sick during the season, especially when an important game is on the line. Recently Tampa Bay Rays outfielder and MLB All-Star Carl Crawford had to sit one out during the pennant race, due to a stomach virus.

One of the easiest, yet often forgotten, ways to avoid getting sick is simply to wash your hands. Although it's impossible to keep them germ-free at all times, frequently washing your hands will help limit the transfer of germs.

Below, the Mayo Clinic staff outlines the proper technique for keeping your hands clean.Perform it both before and after practice to help prevent catching a locker room bug.

- Wet your hands with running water

- Apply liquid, bar or powder soap

- Lather well

- Rub your hands vigorously for at least 20 seconds, remembering to scrub all surfaces, including the backs of your hands, wrists, between your fingers and under your fingernails

-Rinse well

-Dry your hands with a clean or disposable towel or air dryer

-If possible, use your towel to turn off the faucet

For more info on staying healthy and treating simple ilnesses, visit, where more than 3,300 physicians, scientists and researchers share their expertise and offer advice.



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