The Sport Medicine & Science Council has gathered some information
related to the recent H1N1 Outbreak. Please review the below information if you are hosting or planning to attend a major sporting
event in the near future...

What is H1N1 flu virus?

The H1N1 is a new version of the flu virus. It is spread from person to person, and causes the same symptoms as regular flu. H1N1 flu virus was first detected in Mexico last spring. Within just a few months, it spread to many countries around the world, prompting the World Health Organization in June to declare the first global flu pandemic in 41 years. The H1N1 flu virus has affected many Ontarians and this coming flu season it is expected to affect many more.

How does H1N1 flu virus spread?

H1N1 flu spreads like any other flu virus, mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing. People can become infected by touching objects or surfaces with flu viruses on them and then touching their mouth or nose.

The H1N1 flu vaccine is now available

H1N1 immunization clinics will start in Manitoba during the week of October 26. However, as the vaccine will arrive in shipments over time, immunizations will start with people who will benefit most from the vaccine.

This includes people 65 and under with chronic conditions; healthy children six months to under five years of age; people living in remote or isolated communities; health care workers; and household contacts and care providers of persons at high risk who cannot be immunized or may not respond to vaccines

The H1N1 vaccine will be available to everyone else soon. Contact your local public heath unit to find out when and where you can get your flu shot.

Recommended steps in a team environment

Team staff need to emphasize to players and parents the need for total cooperation in all aspects concerning hygiene, but specifically to the prevention of the transmission of the H1N1 virus.

  1. Players should be urged to report all illnesses to their parents, coach or managers. Parents are urged to keep their children away from a sporting environment if they are showing any signs of infectious disease or virus. Sick players are encouraged to see their physician if showing signs or symptoms of the H1N1 virus, and to be fully recovered prior to returning to play.

  2. Players should be encouraged to wash hands routinely and always after handling sporting equipment. Frequent hand washing with soap and water is one of the best preventions we can recommend. Teams are encouraged to carry extra hand soap or hand sanitizer as not all gym and community centres have this readily available.

  3. Talk to your players about covering their mouths and nose when coughing or sneezing using their arm as opposed to their hands.

  4. Advise players to try and not touch their own mouths or nose when in a sporting environment to reduce the chance of them passing an infection on to themselves.

  5. Ensure all players and staff have their own water bottles labeled with names and players numbers. Sport drink bottles should be avoided as direct lip contact is possible when drinking.

  6. Officials and coaches should avoid drinking from other players water bottles and have water readily available to them on their perspective benches.

  7. Towels should be removed from all benches. Players should not share towels, clothing, bar soap or other personal items.

  8. Assist athletes in protecting their immune system by stressing they get sufficient sleep, that they do not over train and that they get proper nutrition.


Athletes - Protecting Yourself From The Flu

You may have heard a lot of information about a new kind of flu virus called H1N1 Influenza. It is always important to make sure you are doing your best to prevent the spread of germs. Now more than ever you should make sure that you are doing your best to keep yourself healthy.  Here are some extra tips to keep you healthy:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. Especially before eating and after games and practices, and after using communal computers, games, etc.

  • Carry a bottle of hand sanitizer with you and use it when soap and water is not available.

  • DO NOT share water bottles, even with members of your own team. Also wash your water bottle often with soap and water.

  • Keep your team uniforms clean and let your uniform and equipment dry out as best as possible.

  • DO NOT share other personal items such as pillows, headphones, towels, and other toiletries.

  • Bring sandals to wear in the shower and around the residence and pool decks. Avoid walking around in bare feet as much as possible.

  • Make sure you are eating properly and getting enough sleep. Keep yourself strong.

  • If you are experiencing symptoms such as shortness of breath, sore throat, fever, cough, muscle pain, and weakness let someone know.

Use these tips to stay healthy and strong to enjoy your sporting experience.

Protecting Yourself From The Flu

You may have heard a lot of information about a new kind of flu virus called H1N1 Influenza. It is always important to make sure you are doing your best to prevent the spread of germs.

Looking for more information related to hosting sporting events and HINI?

  • The Manitoba Health and Healthy Living website is very good

    More information can also be found on the Public Health Agency of Canada website ( as well as the American Centers for Disease Control website ( however the information will be similar to that found on the Manitoba Health and Healthy Living website.

  • At this point there are no specific guidelines concerning athletes, but please consider that guidelines that apply to schools/universities and to travelers will be applicable. It is recommended that any major sporting activity (especially where athletes from different provinces/countries are congregating) should plan for H1N1 influenza, and should have a medical/therapy team that is prepared and equipped to deal with H1N1. The most important prevention measure that can be taken is facilitating hand hygiene by making sure that athletes and officials have easy access to hand washing facilities, including the use of hand sanitizers.

  • Of course, when the H1N1 vaccine becomes available (in Nov/Dec hopefully), then athletes should be immunized. Procedures should also be in place for how to quickly assess sick athletes and isolate them from other athletes and officials while determining if they have H1N1 influenza infection.

  • Given the current nature of H1N1 influenza, it is not likely that schools will close, unless the number of sick teachers and students is so high that schools are temporarily unable to run their programs. But the proactive closing of schools to prevent H1N1 is not currently seen as an effective strategy.

  • At this point there would be no need to proactively cancel any sporting events or programs. Again, if H1N1 ends up affecting large numbers of people at once just before or during a major sporting event, so that not enough healthy athletes are available at any given time, then sporting events may need to be canceled or postponed, but there is no way of predicting in advance if this will be an issue at all.

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