3 Ways to Stay Healthy in Flu Season

Courtesy of BridgeAthletic

Fall is an important time of year for swimmers as they lay down an aerobic base to build upon for the season ahead. In the midst of competitions and heavy training, athletes need to maximize their health so they can maintain consistency and perform their best. Let’s discuss 3 things swimmers should do to stay healthy in the coming months.

  1. Get your Flu Shot

This is so easy to do that swimmers have little reason not to. Be proactive and do your best to protect yourself and those around you from getting the flu this year. You cannot get sick from the flu shot (this is a complete myth)1. Your arm may be sore for a day (something you are familiar with). Invest the few minutes it takes to get to a local pharmacy and save yourself the worry of getting sick when you can’t afford to.

  1. Get Appropriate Sleep

As we head into the winter months, the workload in and out of the pool always seems to pile up. Be vigilant about your bedtime, especially on the nights before morning practices. Sleep is the cure-all for sickness. It is also a preventative measure—the better sleep you get, the stronger your immune system will be, and the more prepared your body will be to fight infection.

  1. Wash your Hands and Don’t Touch your Face

Did you know that the recommended length of time for hand washing is 20 seconds with soap and warm water2? Try it next time—it takes about the same amount of time to sing the “happy birthday” song twice through. Many people do not wash for this long and therefore become easy targets for the cold or flu. The average person touches their face several times per hour, sometimes resting a chin on a hand, rubbing an eye or even biting a nail. Those germs can spread quickly from dirty surfaces to your hands, and then easily to your nose, mouth, and eyes. To minimize your risk of catching a bug, wash your hands after touching surfaces in public places such as doorknobs, railings, anything in the bathroom, and absolutely anything on an airplane. Do not rub your eyes, nose, or mouth after touching surfaces, and always wash your hands before eating.

These quick tips will help you stay healthy in the flu season with little effort on your part. Take care of your body off the pool deck so you can be ready for racing this winter!


  1. http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/misconceptions.htm
  2. http://www.cdc.gov/features/handwashing/


BridgeAthletic Logo 3BridgeAthletic works with elite professional, collegiate, and club swimming programs to provide a turnkey solution for dryland training. Led by Nick Folker, the top swimming strength and conditioning coach in the world, our team builds stroke-specific, custom-optimized dryland programs for each of our clients. The individualized workouts are delivered directly to athletes via our state of the art technology platform and mobile applications. Check Nick and BridgeAthletic out as recently featured in SwimSwam.


Nick FolkerNick Folker is the Co-Founder and Director of Elite Performance at BridgeAthletic. Nick’s roster of athletes includes 35 Olympians winning 22 Olympic Medals, 7 team NCAA Championships and over 170 individual and relay NCAA championships. Megan Fischer-Colbrie works as the Sports Science Editor at BridgeAthletic. Megan was a four-year varsity swimmer at Stanford, where she recently graduated with a degree in Human Biology. The Championship Series by BridgeAthletic is designed to empower athletes with tips from the pros that will help them reach peak performance come race day. We will be covering competition-focused topics such as nutrition, recovery, stretching, and mental preparation.

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Swimming News / Swim Training courtesy of BridgeAthletic, a SwimSwam partner.

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6 years ago

33 years on this planet, never got the flu shot. Since the end of grade school, I have only gotten the flu once and that was because I was taking care of my 12 year old sister throughout the night. That was 10 years ago. Nothing trumps a naturally built up immunity over the years.

Reply to  coacherik
6 years ago

23 years in a row I’ve had a flu shot, and I’ve never gotten the flu.

Kirk Nelson
Reply to  coacherik
6 years ago

Have you considered maybe you’ve just gotten lucky? Keep in mind it’s not just to prevent you from getting the flu. It’s to prevent the spread of flu.

I get a flu shot every year. An ounce of prevention and all that…

From someone who has had the flu...
Reply to  coacherik
6 years ago

…the flu really sucks. Whether or not one gets a vaccination is entirely up to the individual and some people just cannot get vaccinated because they are allergic to egg whites or another substance in the vaccine itself. That being said, wouldn’t it REALLY suck if you had made the cuts for Winter Junior Nationals in December and suddenly you came down with a strain of the flu a couple of days prior…were sick as a dog with a high fever…and that particular strain which you contracted just happened to be a flu strain which was in this year’s vaccine…and now you have to miss the whole meet that you worked so hard for? Hopefully you would not be one… Read more »


Actually that has happened to me! In February of 2012 I got the flu, I was out for a week, during the flu I got so dehydrated I passed out and hit my head on the kitchen floor, I ended up getting a concussion. That put me out for another week. After finally recovering from the concussion, I got strep throat and that took me out for another week. By the time I was fully recovered I had lost thirty pounds and come Texas Sectionals at the end of February, I was so weak that I had to cancel my plans for sectionals, a few weeks later and NCSA Juniors, I was still so weak that I had to skip… Read more »

6 years ago

Most important rule : avoid beer pong.

6 years ago

Also important rule : avoid peer bong.