There’s a good chance your schedule is pretty packed right now. Between school, homework, dance, extra rehearsals, and conventions and competitions almost every weekend, there’s simply no time to get sick! But when should you still go to school or hit the studio and “sweat it out,” and when should you stay home? Here’s a simple guide.
IF YOU HAVE A HEAD COLD
If you’re just a little sniffly or stuffy and your symptoms are all above the neck, it’s OK to try and resume normal activity. Dancing probably won’t make you feel worse. But be cautious: When you get sick, your body gets exhausted more easily and takes longer to recover, so don’t push it. And keep in mind that colds are contagious, so wash your hands obsessively and avoid coming in close contact with other (healthy) people. You don’t want to be the reason “something’s going around.”
IF YOU’RE CONGESTED OR HAVE ALLERGIES
If the congestion is in your sinuses, go ahead and dance — it may even help clear things up! Exercise releases adrenaline — also known as epinephrine, which is a natural decongestant, and may help clear your nasal passages. Allergies aren’t contagious (yay!), but beware that if your sinuses are clogged, you may feel slightly off-balance. So attempt those fouetté turns with extra caution.
IF YOU’VE GOT A RUMBLY TUMMY
If you have a stomach flu or food poisoning, definitely stay home (and probably near a bathroom)! Though food poisoning isn’t contagious, you probably won’t be up for dancing or sitting in class anyway. The stomach flu, on the other hand, is contagious, and you don’t want to pass that around. So when your stomach is acting up, it’s best to stay home. (But if you think you just ate something that isn’t sitting well, you should be OK to hit the studio and just take it a little easier than normal.)
IF YOU HAVE A FEVER, CHILLS, OR BODY ACHES
No dancing for you! Working out with an elevated body temperature is the ultimate no-no. You risk further compromising your immune system and setting yourself back. So instead of taking it easy for 24 hours and then feeling better, pushing yourself through a fever can end up sidelining you for weeks.
IF YOU HAVE ANY KIND OF RASH OR SKIN INFECTION
Bust out the cortisone cream and stay away from people. Skin infections are easily spread, and since dance involves lots of touching — touching the barre, touching the floor, touching each other — it’s best not to endanger your fellow dancers. Stay put.
THE BOTTOM LINE
No one likes the girl who comes in and gets everyone else sick. Avoid being “that girl” by giving your body the rest it needs — oftentimes when we’re sick, it’s the body’s way of saying “give me a break!” Let yourself rest and you’ll be back at the barre in no time!