Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

How to get sick


At the training camp in Hamilton, the Hott Johansens both talked about avoiding getting sick. Their advice -- wash your hands and don't share water bottles. Sandy said that the Norwegian team really pays a lot of attention to these basic steps to stay healthy.

I took a week long course in epidemiology a few years ago and learned about infectious illness. The idea is really simple; expose someone who is susceptible to illness to the bug and they might get sick. It boils down to three things:

1. Exposure to the bug.
2. Susceptibility to the bug.
3. The bad luck to get sick when your both susceptible and exposed.

What the Hott Johansens were talking about was mostly exposure.

You'll also hear a lot of people talking about how training affects susceptibility. Being worn out from training supposedly weakens your immune system, raising your susceptibility. Though in the long run, being fit might help your immune system.

I don't worry much about susceptibility. I don't think that being run down from training is really a big problem.

Instead, I worry about exposure.

Unfortunately, I screwed up. A number of co-workers were sick last week and I guess I got exposed. I made a point of staying a bit away from co-workers and washed my hands a few extra times. But, I guess it wasn't enough. Early Saturday evening, I noticed that my throat was a bit scratchy. Though I don't believe that being run down makes much of a difference, I've got to wonder if my long run on Saturday was just enough to push me over the edge. If I hadn't run so long (I did just over 4 hours), would my system have been able to fight off the bug? I don't think so, but I don't have any real reason for that, it is just a feel.

posted by Michael | 7:58 PM


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