Saturday 25 March 2017

Warning over shaking hands at Games

Shaking hands might be off-limits for athletes at the London Olympics, a medical expert has warned
Shaking hands might be off-limits for athletes at the London Olympics, a medical expert has warned

British athletes are being told not to shake hands in case they catch a bug which wrecks their Olympic dreams.

A mild bug which can knock athletes off their stride could be picked up in the "quite stressful environment" of the Games, according to Dr Ian McCurdie, the British Olympic Association (BOA) chief medical officer.

It could hamper an athletes' chances of performing at their best, he said.

On whether this means shaking hands should be off-limits, he said: "I think, within reason, yes.

"I think that is not such a bad thing to advise. The difficulty is when you have got some reception and you have got a line of about 20 people you have never met before who you have got to shake hands with.

"Within reason if you do and have to shake hands with people, so long as you understand that regular handwashing and/or also using hand foam can help reduce the risk - that would be a good point."

The advice is part of a detailed package of health and resilience issues which the BOA has looked at ahead of the Games.

Tips for the 550-strong team of athletes and 450 support staff who will work with them include regular handwashing and use of a special protective hand foam as an extra barrier.

The BOA has declared it intends to send a best-prepared team to London 2012. Everything from allergy screening through to warning athletes that any symptoms should be reported early has been noted.

Probiotic drinks, containing friendly bacteria to try to ward off infection, may be a preferred tipple for some athletes.

Press Association

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