H1N1, Hockey Equipment and You
Following is an excerpt from an article posted on the CBC web site, to read the remainder, click on the link at the end.
"The 2009/10 minor hockey season is expected to provide organizers, coaches, players and parents with all the usual highlights and challenges that make up a Canadian winter at the rink. This year, however, there's an additional challenge most hockey families have never had to confront. It's the H1N1 virus and all the speculation and uncertainty surrounding it.
The H1N1 influenza virus is expected to have a much more dramatic impact on Canadians than any other flu virus in recent memory. For hockey players gathering two or three times a week for games and practices, the spread of H1N1 could result in half-empty dressing rooms and shortened benches for the next few months.
So far, the spread of H1N1 has created more questions than answers. Hockey parents are wondering if the virus can live on hockey equipment. Kids want to know if there's anything they can do to help prevent the spread of the virus. Coaches and managers want to be armed with as much information as possible in the event the H1N1 virus hits their team harder than expected.
Some of these H1N1 questions and concerns lead straight into the dressing room and the wet and sweaty equipment the virus might thrive on.
Handling hockey equipment
Dr. Ashley Roberts is a Pediatric Infections Disease specialist with the Rouge Valley Health System in Toronto. According to Dr. Roberts, the H1N1virus can remain alive on most hard and soft surfaces, including hockey equipment.
"Generally speaking, the virus remains on hard surfaces like plastics and metals for about 48 hours and on soft surfaces like clothing,towels and tissues for about 8 to 12 hours," said Dr. Roberts.
So if the flu virus is living on the equipment, is there anything parents and players can do to keep the flu at bay other than the usual practice of 'airing it out' after games and practices? Dr. Roberts says keeping your hands clean after handling equipment is the number one preventative measure.
"The most important thing parents and kids can do is to be very vigilant about hand washing, either with soap and water or alcohol-based handrub, after using the equipment," said Dr. Roberts. "I'd recommend bringing little bottles of hand sanitizer with you to the rink.""
For the complete article, click here