20. February 2018 | Marathon-News

Anyone can get it – Medical backgrounds and tips for (athletic) behavior by cold-like sicknesses – Dr. Willi Heepe

We don’t know exactly, when it comes or how long it’s there to stay, but it’ll probably come in the winter. It brings the weather with it that the running community doesn’t like the taste of and doesn’t understand. It starts with a cold or a bronchial infection usually more often, more often namely over long periods or at regularly intervals.


What is dangerous about this infection? What is special about it? Why aren’t runners safe from it? Since, we assume that staying in shape keeps us healthy, that to work out helps us to not get sick and we never have to confront such problems. This way of thinking is actually wrong.


In principle anyone can get it. Nobody is fully protected. What can we do? How can we protect ourselves? How can we minimize the danger of being sick very often?
In general, moderate exercise with lots of movement in the nature is an excellent workout for the immune system. Additional immune system training through alternating showers, sauna baths, and bathing cold are great ways that favorably promote the reactivity (responsiveness to external stimulus) of the immune system.


Also, healthy, vitamin-rich foods serve to the stabilization of the immune system. In general, there is no convincing medicinal evidence or even a general concept that can prevent the risk of an infection completely. There is no wonder cure.

What does work however are of course the vaccinations, such as the Influenza vaccination and the other usual vaccinations against other risks, that through active vaccinations offers you a better immunity.


Skincare is the first barrier
What does the protection regiment look like for us humans? We all possess a sophisticated immune system with a defensive from which any leader could learn from.
The first barrier represents the skin. A well-kept, and moisturized skin with an adequate acid layer is an excellent barrier to intercept contact with germs and others eliminated by the acid armor


Too much cleaning and intensive washing disrupts this protective layer and can reduce the infection defenses and makes us vulnerable to other infections. The second barrier is the mucous membrane, it starts in the mouth, continues through the throat and Adam’s apple area and continues on to the bronchioles. This barrier is the most sensitive and one of the most prone to infections. The mucous membrane already in the mouth area is filled with bacteria through bad dental care and has a weaker defense. The membrane itself can eliminate bacteria by transporting it through its permanent secretion flow, back to the outside. The brochi is especially great for the situation. On our bronchial mucous membranes down to the bottom of our branched-out bronchi there is an intricate defense system with a high amount cylindrical cells, which permanently produce a viscous mucous fluid, which is transported out by the cilia located on the bronchi in a continuously movement towards the larynx, so that all inhaled dust and dirt particles, including germs, in this way are excreted. The function of these cilia is interrupted through smoking. As by gases and poisons, can lead to interruption of this flow and therefore increased inflammation in the areas of the bronchi. This part of the body is extremely sensitive for many athletes. They react to cold and other stimuli with a so-called hypersensitivity, a hyper-responsiveness. This includes a lack of liquidation of the muscous, a local inflammatory reaction and a constriction of the bronchi.


Principally, this vicious-cycle can only be broken by a sophisticated medically prescribed medication. There is no antidote here and force is also not the answer, but a careful handling of the own body, a good consciousness and a building trust between the doctor and athlete at this point. More often in the branch of the bronchi, non-conventional strategies, non-conventional medication or non-conventional therapies develop and become quite dangerous. A thorough, and careful handling of this sophisticated defense system is one of the best basis of a healthy immune system.


Trainings break by an infection

In the event that some germs do reach to your body, a spread of infection is most of the time unstoppable. It spreads depending on the type in different body tissues. A common cold, attacks the muscle system, and it noticed by muscles and joint pain, which is usually accompanied by most viral infections. In this state, there is only one type of medicine prescribed: That is stay hydrated and if necessary take a medicine that either sinks your fever or a pain-reliever (ex. Aspirin or a Paracetamol or something similar). After such an infect, the necessary time to recover is required and this is necessary until the swelling has completely receded out of the tissues. This can take up to 4 to 6 weeks depending on the circumstances. In the area, many of the people sin and start their training back up way to early. Also, the mistakes of former running gurus, believed to beat out a fever, they had to artificially increase the temperature through running.
A dangerous mistake, that through fever sicknesses start to activate, this means this infection is now spreading to other parts of the body and this can especially be dangerous for your heart muscle.
Lastly, is our biggest problem child. The involvement of the heart muscle is difficult to detect in fever infections and is difficult to diagnose. The “inception”, of the laboratory numbers, the ECG and ultrasound, often do not provide proper information needed. More often, more extensive methods are needed such as a Stress-Echo Cardiograph, a stress-ECG, or an MRI to find the right answer. Then the data from all sport-related deaths, in Germany alone its around 1,200 athletes per year, to try to prevent further ones in the future. Most of the deaths, came from an infection in the heart muscle that wasn’t previously identified, not diagnosed or taken for granted.


Here lies the actual prevention potential! To use this, you need a harmonious and close collaboration between the doctor and the athlete. In this situation the doctor has more responsibility for the diagnostic potential in order to keep the athlete shielded from harm’s way. But the cloudy, grey weather is gone. The sun rays are coming and every athlete recognizes that the time is ripe: This is quite miraculous, to run healthy in the spring, it’s in us, to take care of our body in a healthy manner and the ability that an infection has to stop us from running and to make us only going walking once a week or do nothing at all. Even this is better for your health and condition than torturing oneself through infection.

What is dangerous about this infection? What is special about it? Why aren’t runners safe from it?