Playing sports with the flu?

So I’ve been asked a lot by anxious patients (and sometimes their parents) about whether it’s ok to play sports with the flu.  While I do think there are varying degrees of illness and severity, I did outline some general practices one should keep in mind if attempting to “power thru” the flu.

Below is an excerpt of an interview I conducted with USA Today on playing through the flu:

So could a lingering flu take down this year’s Cinderella? For The Winspoke with Asheesh Gupta, a sports medicine surgeon with The Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics in Virginia, to discuss the advice he’d give to a player in Thornwell’s precarious position.

FTW: What would you tell a basketball player who had flu-like symptoms but still needed to play in the biggest game of his life?

Gupta: The thing initially would be to figure out what types of symptoms the patient has. Oftentimes, people will talk about is it below the neck or above the neck? So if it’s above the neck, it may just be a simple cold that’s viral. If they’ve got a stuffy nose, maybe a low-grade fever, that’s something you probably can play through. Obviously you’d want to stay very well hydrated, especially during breaks, and make sure you good take of everything.

If it’s below the neck, the chest area, that’s when you kind of worry. You’d figure out if they have a high-grade fever. That’s when you’d be worried if they have something a bit more severe. Again, obviously, if it’s such an important match, it may be hard to keep them out of the game, but make them fully aware that this might be more severe and require extra precautions. And you may need to see your primary care doctor to see if you need to be on antibiotics.

 

You can find a link to the full interview transcript below:

We asked a doctor about Sindarius Thornwell (and Michael Jordan) playing through the flu

Avoiding Injuries in Cold Weather Workouts!

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If you’re motivated to start or keep up with a fitness routine this winter, that doesn’t mean you have to be stuck inside. There are plenty of activities – such as running, cycling and winter sports – that will give you the benefit of fresh air and sunshine, even if it’s chilly.

But before you lace up your shoes, it’s important to know how the cold air can affect your muscles, lungs and heart, and how to protect yourself from injuries. Here are a few extra precautions to keep in mind if you plan to exercise outside:

Your muscles tense up in the cold. When muscles lose heat, they contract, causing the length of the muscle to actually shorten. This puts you at a greater risk for strains, sprains and even tears, especially at the beginning of a workout, before you have warmed up.

A thorough warm-up can help prevent injury. It’s important to take your time warming up if you plan to work out in the cold. Stretch the muscles you’ll be using as much as you can. For example, runners should focus on their calves and hamstrings, which are most susceptible to an injury.

Don’t go from 0 to 100. A sudden burst of speed on a run could cause an eccentric contraction, which could easily lead to an injury such as a muscle strain/tear. You want to gradually increase the intensity of your exercise, even after you’ve warmed up carefully.

Layer up. Dress in layers that are sweat-absorbent, so they can dissipate your sweat without getting clammy or making you colder. The Mayo Clinic recommends you start with a thin layer of synthetic material, followed by a layer of fleece or wool for insulation and a waterproof, breathable outer layer. You’ll be able to remove layers as you build up a sweat, but can easily put them back on if you feel a chill. Be sure to protect your hands, feet and ears.

Measure your effort, not the results. Your body requires significantly more effort to work out in cold weather, so don’t expect to match your typical speed, distance or endurance if it’s chilly outside. It may be helpful to wear a fitness tracker to help measure your caloric burn instead of your pace.

Be mindful of the rest of your body – not just your muscles. Cold weather can exacerbate any pulmonary or cardiac issues you may have. It can also worsen exercise-induced asthma, or predispose you to bronchial spasms. To reduce the strain on your heart and lungs, it’s especially important to warm up your body by stretching prior to going outside. And if you already suffer from any of these issues, I’d recommend exercising indoors.

First blog post

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Hello everyone!  My name is Dr. Asheesh Gupta and this is my first blog post!  I wanted to introduce myself and what I’ll be writing about.  I was born in England, raised in Scotland and have been in the United States for 25 years.  I am a Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon with a sub-specialty board certification in Orthopedic Sports Medicine.  After residency I pursued a one year sports fellowship and then an additional one year comprehensive hip fellowship where I performed hip arthroscopy for labral repair and anterior total hip replacements.  My practice is predominantly sports and hips (hence the name hipster!).  In this blog i’ll be covering a wide range of topics from general sports training to discussing current sports injuries to athletes making headlines in the news.

If there’s any topics you want me to cover please send me a message and let me know!

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