Germ Warfare on the Mat

Biological warefare, also known as germ warfare, is the use of infectious agents or toxins with the intent to harm or kill humans, animals or other living creatures. Okay, maybe that is a little extreme for the world of combat sports. We aren’t trying to kill each other with germs, just with our ninja skills (Wink, wink). Perhaps the more applicable definition of Germ Warfare is humans engaging in battle against the GERMS.

Plenty of articles have been written about cleanliness of gyms and how to prevent or reduce exposure to bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Of the top articles available on the world wide web, this one was pretty interesting. Who better than a microbiologist to give us the scientific details of where germs lurk in the gym. What’s rare in these articles is the discussion about seasonal colds running rampant at gyms – especially when there are children taking classes as well. 

Welcome to Germ City!
Even the cleanest gyms will only be as clean as their dirtiest Pig Pen.

So what happens when the germs win and we come down with cold symptoms? The common cold is caused by any one of the hundreds of known virus strains. These viruses are hanging out everywhere – door handles, mats, on people’s skin, and even floating around on microscopic airborne droplets. It takes 1-2 days for the cold virus to take hold and symptoms of mild body aches, stuffy nose, runny nose, sneezing, cough or sore throat may appear. 

How to treat a cold? 

  1. Stay hydrated . . . and stay away from your BJJ gym.
  2. Rest. . . and stay away from your BJJ gym. 
  3. Use cough drops, nasal sprays, OTC meds, etc. . . and stay away from your BJJ gym.
  4. Conduct a thorough investigation into which teammate may have gotten you sick. . . and stay away from your BJJ gym. 
From an altruistic perspective, you’d be helping everyone else if your cold germ-riddled body stayed at home in quarantine. Why expose others unnecessarily? Think of time off the mat as a restorative break to rest and hydrate. Our bodies’ immune systems are pretty good at fighting cold viruses. If we overburden our bodies by adding intense exercise on top of fighting off virus infections, we might even delay recovery thus prolonging the return to Jiu Jitsu. So just Netflix and chill with your white blood cells next time you’re sick. Please and thank you.

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