Flu can spread fast among kids who play sports

Image: Big Stock

(ABC)– The flu can spread fast when kids play sports.

Rule #1: The flu can spread on germy hands.

“Maybe during flu season, we don’t do so much hand slapping,” said Dr. Nicholas Testa, Chief Physician Executive, Dignity Health – Southern California Service Area.

We’ve recruited the Carpenter Cougars, three-pete and reigning LA champions, for a little demonstration.

Related: Waterbury, Naugatuck churches & others take steps to prevent the spread of the flu

“I’m about to cover Axel in Glow Germ and see how far it spreads. Hands out Axel,” said Testa.

This harmless powder mimics the potential spread of a virus. Less than five minutes later that Glow Germ glows under a flashlight’s beam.

“You see that. If he had the flu, you might have it too,” said Testa.

Every single kid on the team, all of them, germy fingers. And it’s not just fingers.

Rule #2: Don’t touch your face.

“If you touch your face, we transfer that respiratory virus into our bodies,” said Testa.

We most often breathe it in. If that kid is sick, there’s a six-foot super infection zone around him, passing it on coughing, sneezing, breathing.

“Especially when you’re running. Your heart rate is up, you’re breathing fast. That’s more air exchange going on,” said Testa.

Rule #3: Coaches, parents: don’t let sick kids play.

“There’s a culture in sports that we push ourselves. Be the one to say, ‘It’s OK not to play,” said Testa.

There’s more.

“The flu virus will live on any hard surface for about 24 hours,” said Testa.

Related Content: Officials report 52 flu-related deaths in Connecticut

We have a germ meter that picks up harmless dirt but also bacteria, viruses. The practice bench? Any reading over 100 is considered potentially germ-ridden.

“It’s impossible to sterilize those every single day. So we need to practice good habits,” said Testa.

Rule #4: Clean water bottles.

“Cleaning the water bottle every day, not sharing the water bottle. Not touching the water bottle to our lips,” said Testa.

How about that game ball?

Rule #5: The golden rule.

“Guys, are you all gonna wash your hands after practice,” said Testa.

“Yes,” the team answered.

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