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EIS help athletes manage illness over the holiday season

Mark Jamieson | 18 December 2018

The English Institute of Sport (EIS) has distributed gift packs to World Class Programme athletes containing health advice and illness prevention products to help them stay healthy over the festive period.

Funded summer and winter sports who registered their interest have received the packs to help athletes fight off winter germs.

Elite athletes are four times more likely to fall ill over the holiday season, which may be due to a break from training; a slight relaxation of nutrition, hand hygiene and training routine; alongside an increase in social events and exposure to germs. This can then affect an athlete’s availability for full training in January.

One thousand packs containing ColdZyme throat spray, INVIRTU Hand Foam Sanitiser and antioxidants-containing chocolate, have been distributed courtesy of the EIS Athlete Health team. The EIS Athlete Health team work with sports to provide injury and illness surveillance and analysis that can be used to inform individualised training programmes and medical plans, as well as supporting illness and injury reduction strategies.

The packs also include guidance leaflets on using the products and staying healthy, as well as easy-to-make recipes – such as a pineapple and ginger smoothie – courtesy of the EIS Performance Nutrition team, while the makers of INVIRTU, Byotrol, have kindly produced hand hygiene guidance to ensure germs are killed.

Athletes have access to EIS medical services over the holidays, with the packs containing opening hours and contact details for on-call support.

EIS Senior Sports Physician Anita Biswas has been leading the project. She said: “It is important for athletes to enjoy the holidays but in previous years we have seen many athletes returning after the break having been ill and often with ongoing illness.

“We hope that use of a few key products where necessary, as well as taking advantage of the EIS and their own sport medical support, will help athletes to enjoy the break whilst staying healthy. Our thanks go to everyone involved who has contributed.”

Illness reduction for athletes is an EIS Athlete Health objective. This project has seen staff identify a peak in illness and subsequently act to minimise the training and competition impact it can have.

Some simple steps over the festive period will support a healthy start to 2019 and a full return to training.