Study shows athletes who travel further more likely to fall ill

 

New research has revealed that athletes who travel more than five time zones for competitions are more likely to get sick compared to when they play at home.

Athletes are two to three times more likely to get ill following extensive international travel, the study suggests.

Researchers at the Institute of South Africa in Cape Town examined 259 players competing in the 2010 Super 14 rugby tournament.

During the 16 week competition, 14 teams from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa travel to venues in all three countries which are in time zones between two to 11 hours different from their own.

The authors examined data taken by the team doctors on a daily basis.

The research, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, found that 187 of the athletes fell ill during the contest, with illnesses more likely to occur on foreign soil.

Researchers noted that most of the illnesses were infections. Respiratory problems, such as coughs, colds and chest infections, accounted for almost a third of all illnesses and gut problems including stomach bugs accounting for 27.5%.

The authors suggest that various factors could be linked to the increase in illness, including changes in pollution, temperature, allergens, humidity, altitude, as well as different food, germs, and culture.

In the run up to the London 2012 Games, athletes from both Australia and Canada fell ill following travel to England.

Two Canadian badminton players and three Australian athletes acquired a stomach virus during pre-Games training in Derby.

However, health experts said a small number of illnesses in athletes are to be expected.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has a team working in the polyclinic in the Athletes Village to detect any possible infectious diseases.

The HPA's director for London during the Games, Dr Deborah Turbitt, said every day "a few" athletes or team officials had attended the on-site clinic with rashes, vomiting or diarrhoea.

"Every day there is a few people turning up with those symptoms," she said.

"We knew we would see some bugs because there are bugs in the population all the time.

"We have seen a few people with the general respiratory and gastrointestinal illnesses you'd expect in any population really.

"We said we thought there would be a bit of tummy upsets and there have been. We knew there would be a few people with coughs and colds and sneezes and there have been."

The HPA has implemented a raft of measures to ensure that any potential diseases are spotted and addressed as quickly as possible in both athletes and the general population.

Dr Turbitt added: "We've had systems in place to detect that sort of thing because we set up surveillance systems to detect outbreaks and incidents of disease.

"We haven't detected any outbreaks in either athletes or work force or team officials but we have seen very low numbers.

"Across London we've not detected anything other than the usual background levels of all of the diseases that we normally see. There hasn't been any rise or fall in anything, it has been very steady."

News
people
Sport
FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Sport
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
athletics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
music
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam