Advice for Dancers

Should You Still Go to the Studio If You're Feeling Sick?

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I caught a bug that's going around and have a runny nose, cough, sore throat and no energy. Is this a cold or the flu? I want to dance but wonder if performing is a smart idea. Any advice?

—Achoo!, Brooklyn, NY


Please don't dance if you're sick! Besides spreading germs to your colleagues, it will take longer for your body to recover, regardless of whether you have the common cold or the flu. While it isn't necessary to see a doctor for a cold, the best remedy is rest, lots of fluids and possibly over-the-counter cough medicines or nasal sprays to help you sleep.

The flu can result in more serious health problems, such as ear infections, or even hospitalization. Red flags include a high fever, chills, extreme fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting. Tylenol can relieve a fever, and prescription antivirals like Tamiflu may shorten the intensity and duration of symptoms.

In the studio, you can reduce your risk of catching or spreading respiratory problems by practicing good hygiene: Wash your hands regularly, especially if you're touching the barre frequently; sneeze into clean tissues, handkerchiefs or your elbow to reduce airborne germs; and remember to get a flu shot once a year.

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