Should Your Child Swim With Common Cold Symptoms

The latest cold snap in the Austin has quite a few swimmers under the weather and parents often wonder if it’s ok for their children to swim if they have cold symptoms.  With the younger swimmers, it’s always best to follow your own instincts as a parent and keep them out of the pool if they’re not feeling up to it.  If you have an older child in swim lessons in Austin right now or one on the swim team, here is an excerpt from an article by the American Swim Coaches Association about ‘Workouts and the Common Cold’.

Edward Eichner, MD, professor of medicine at the University of Oklahoma and an editorial board member of The Physician and Sportsmedicine has found that physicians who regularly treat athletes with colds use the following guidelines:  (Also from the June 1990 issue of The Physician and Sportsmedicine.)

“If the symptoms are located above the neck (runny nose, sneezing, scratchy throat), then exercise is safe…[however] athletes should not exercise with below‑the‑neck symptoms such as fever, muscle aches, loss of appetite, and hacking cough with sputum production.”

Some parents wonder if it is permissible for swimmers to participate in dryland activities and avoid the water during colds.  In fact, breathing the super humid air at the water surface may help relieve cold symptoms.  So long as athletes do not have a fever, history of serious virus infections of which the cold may just be the beginning of, or feel weak and lethargic, a light to moderate swimming workout may be beneficial.  The Swim Parents Newsletter editorial staff recommends the conservative policy of always checking with your family physician and encourages swimmers, coaches, and parents to remember that an upcoming qualifying meet is not as important as a child’s opportunity to recover from a cold.

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