Public Health Recommendations for Athletes Attending Sporting Events

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Public health planning in advance of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games included an assessment of potential public health risks for athletes attending the Games and mitigation activities to reduce those risks, including provision of vaccination recommendations to athletes. Physicians providing care to athletes who will attend large sporting events at home or abroad should consider their need for routine and additional vaccinations well in advance of the event to permit completion of vaccination schedules, ensure development of immunity, and avoid adverse vaccine reactions in the final stages of athlete training. Specific vaccinations recommended will vary depending on the location of the event and time of year it is scheduled. Other simple prevention measures for athletes include hand washing recommendations, avoiding high-risk foods, practicing safe sex, and taking simple precautions to reduce the risk of injuries. No major public health problems occurred during the 2010 Winter Games, but a measles outbreak began in Vancouver coincident in time with the Games; no known cases occurred among participating athletes.

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