Brutal weather has been hitting the nation. So has the flu. Unfortunately, ballet class can be the perfect place to pick up a nasty cold. Taking precautions and being aware of your surroundings can lessen your chances of getting sick. Consider 5 ways to help you avoid illness this season.
1. If you’re sick, stay home.
If you know for a fact that you are sick, please, stay at home. This means if you are running a fever, you should be in bed, not at the barre. Even if you seem to be doing alright, but another member in your household is sick, don’t risk being a carrier that could infect other people. Illness can spread quickly in groups so refrain from coming to class until you are 100% recovered. It doesn’t make you a hero. It makes you inconsiderate.
2. Wash your hands.
This is the most simple thing you can do to prevent the spread of germs. Think about how many door handles, rails, even money, you’ve touched. Now think of how many people have probably sneezed or coughed into their hands, and then touched these surfaces. Your hands are like your own personal traveling mule, transporting potentially harmful bacteria to everything you touch. Wash your hands frequently; when you come in from the outside, after you use the restroom, and definitely after ballet class.
3. Use hand sanitizer.
If you’re perfectly healthy for class, just remember that everyone who has been in class that day might not have been. That means the barre could be riddled with germs. Place a few drops of sanitizer in your hands before you ever touch the barre to serve as a protective barrier. Even during your water break or stretching, add a few more drops. If you don’t have time to stop and wash your hands after class, keep some hand sanitizer in your car. I like to keep a medium-sized bottle with a pump in my driver’s side door. That way I can pump a few drops while I drive without attempting to pull a bottle out from my bag, or take my hands off the wheel to squeeze the bottle.
4. Don’t share snacks or water.
There are three things you should never share: a comb, cosmetics, or eating utensils. This includes water bottles and opened snacks. Some of your peers may be very generous, and offer you some of their water or snacks. Even if neither of you are sick, it’s never a good idea to share these items. Germs are easily transferred orally, regardless if you attempt to stream the water by holding the bottle high over your mouth. Ditto with handling food. You really don’t know where their hands have been.
5. Don’t overdo.
This may seem to be a subtle, even unnecessary precaution, when actually it’s a very powerful one. If you are on the brink of getting sick, your immune system is in a very tenuous condition. It would be wise to listen to your body and recognize signs that you need to slow down before you push yourself over the edge. Drink warm herbal tea, or sip hearty broth. Take a hot bath with soothing essential oils. Be careful not to overdo it and your body will thank you.
Spread joy, not germs! Take steps to promote health in and out of the studio so you will have greater energy in the seasons to come!
image credit: Gaia Cilloni
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