How to Get Through the Cold Season As a Dancer
Inhales – Exhales, Inhales – Exhales… Ok, I am ready to try this step one more time. Competition starts in 3 days and I need to focus. I keep telling myself that I must relax and have confidence. I am going to make it.
All of a sudden, I sneeze. I do it again and again. I am in a state of shock for a few moments and I realize that I may have gotten the cold. A cold? NOW? What the heck! This might ruin my chances of going to the competition. No, I won’t accept this. I keep practicing and I am forced to stop and ask my teacher for a paper towel.
That’s messed up! I worked so hard to prepare for this and now everything I worked for could get ruined because this cold is creeping in on me.
No, this can’t be real…It’s a nightma…
As soon as I think it I wake up in my bed. I stare at the ceiling for a few moments and then I look at my watch. It’s 5 a.m. in the morning. I check my calendar and I see that there are 5 days left before the competition starts.
Professional dancers tend to feel like they are untouchable when it comes to having a cold and other illness. We are not. But there is also a bright side. There are ways to treat the cold the moment it shows up and also to actually prevent it.
If you happen to go through something similar to the story I just presented to you, you can try to workout and push the cold outside of your body. Sometimes, sweating helps the organism to eliminate the virus thus having a healing effect. There is no scientific research to point out the efficiency of this technique but it worked for me. Pay close attention to how your body is responding to this type of treatment. If you notice that it’s getting worse, get some rest.
In general, the common cold lasts between 3 and 10 days and, after this time, our own immune system gets rid of the viruses. Meanwhile, if we got a cold, all we can do is treat the symptoms, which are varied: sneezing, headache, runny and stuffy nose, watery eyes, itching, pain in the throat, cough, tiredness and a sensation of general indisposition.
Fever almost always comes as a side effect. This is a bit tricky because you tend to feel like you are low on energy no matter what. It’s clear to me that you can’t practice with it but it seems like our body can take it up until almost 40 degrees Celsius. It is known that ibuprofen is good for this.
Under no circumstances should you treat a cold with antibiotics. The common cold is caused by viruses, not by bacteria, which are the ones that attack antibiotics. The self-medication with these is not only useless against the cold, it can also cause a weakening of your immune system, aggravating the cold, and causing a resistance to the bacteria.
Because the body is weakened during a time like this, it is recommended that you eat light food so you can keep your energy. Onion and garlic are known to have positive effects on your organism because they contain antiseptic and immunity-boosting compounds.
Cold is contagious and this is why it would be the best for you to stay home at least the first two days. It’s not cool to spread the cold to everyone around you, especially if you take dance lessons in a classroom full of students. When the fever starts to dissipate, it’s a sign that your immune system is getting back on track.
I know that you might have already heard about this but it’s worth the mention. A lot of doctors would say „Grab some vitamin supplements”. I personally don’t agree with this. Go grab some fruits that can give you the vitamins that you need and you’ll see the difference for yourself. Vitamin C is the antioxidant that will reduce the cold symptoms and is most commonly found in citrus fruits. What I usually do, especially in the cold season, is to have a power shot with ginger and lemon. It’s not as sweet as chocolate but it’s worth it because ginger is full of sesquiterpenes. These are chemicals that specifically target the family of cold viruses. Also, let’s not forget about honey which fights the virus in your organism and calms your throat.
Of course, you can add to this, a lot of sleep and plenty of water. If it happens that you can’t sleep, just lie down in bed and your body will get better. Since in winter the body does not ask us to drink so much water to refresh ourselves we would do well to add infusions and soups to our diet, something that forces us to increase our fluid intake.
The only drink we should avoid is alcohol. At first, it seems to warm you up, because it has a vasodilatory effect, but it is a chimera: it weakens the immune system and, in addition, dehydrates us.
We all have different ways of dealing with cold during the winter season. As dancers, we need to be ready to face the challenges that something like this will bring. We might be forced to take a vacation or to miss a performance. Don’t let this get to you because it will weaken your organism even more. Do your best to boost your immune system and you’ll be ready to come back in just a few days.
Dancing has been my passion since I was 13 and since then I've been doing things in that direction. Writing, creating and putting together the biggest community for dancers around the world!