By: Bruce A. Sherman, Ph.D.
Compiled from recent research-reports
What is Swine Flu H1N1?
The pandemic strain of H1N1 influenza is descended from a never before seen combination of human and animal flu viruses.
How is Swine flu transmitted?
Swine Flu is transmitted mainly through large droplets from coughs and sneezes: Droplets from an infected person’s cough or sneeze move through the air and settle on both body and hard surfaces. Germs can be spread when another person touches the droplets on the affected surface—such as a piece of exercise equipment—and then touches their nose, eyes, or mouth before washing their hands. WARNING: Exercisers may be carrying transmittable bacterial or viral diseases…and they probably don’t even know it.
A person has a 1 in 4 chance of catching H1N1 from an infected family member.
H1N1 is slightly more contagious than initially believed. This virus has a household “secondary attack rate” of 27%. Secondary attack rate is the probability that an ill person will infect a family member.
By comparison, seasonal flu has a secondary attack rate of 10-12 %.
Once infected with the swine flu a person will pass it to another person in an average of 3 days.
Studies have shown that the influenza virus can survive on environmental surfaces and can infect a person for 2 to 8 hours after being deposited on the surface!
Cover your coughs and sneezes with your elbow, not your hands. Learn H1N1 cough and sneeze etiquette!
If you use tissue, throw the tissue in the trash after use and then wash your hands.
Avoid touching you eyes, nose or mouth. Gems spread this way.
Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze.
When soap and water is not available, alcohol-based hand cleaners (such as Purell® are also effective.
At the gym, wash your hands before and after your workout. Avoid letting your hands touch your eyes, nose and mouth during your workout. If possible, during you workout, use an alcohol-based cleaner to sanitize your hands.
Practical Prevention for Fitness Center Professionals and Members
• Educate employees on basic hygiene protocol; post signage for staff and member education.
• Exercisers or staff should clean and sanitize each piece of shared fitness equipment after each use. This includes cardio. and strength equipment, and all benches, mats and balls.
• Provide a high quality sanitizing (disinfectant) solution for equipment cleaning. Proper solution concentration is essential for optimal germicidal effectiveness.
• Convenient access and equipment cleaning system = Equipment cleaning compliance
• Provide ample supplies for hand washing.
• Provide alcohol based hand sanitizer stations throughout the fitness center where hand washing facilities are not available.
Create the best possible workout environment for your exercisers. Spread fitness, not germs!