Olympic athletes wary of H1N1 - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Olympic athletes wary of H1N1

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The U.S. Women's hockey team practices in Spokane ahead of Friday night's game against Canada The U.S. Women's hockey team practices in Spokane ahead of Friday night's game against Canada
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SPOKANE, Wash. - The spread of H1N1 is as big a story in Canada as it is in the U.S. and ahead of the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, it's top of mind for athletes trying to stay healthy.

In the U.S. the virus is spreading fast as 41 states, up from last week's 37, are now reporting widespread illness from influenza.

Now, top athletes in Spokane are doing what they can to prevent the spread of the virus.

The U.S. Women's hockey team has spent the last two days practicing at the Spokane Arena ahead of Friday night's game against Canada which is part of a pre-game tour building to the Olympics.

The athletes are concerned about any infection in their bodies, including the potential for the H1N1 virus.

"We're on the road a lot, so making sure we're taking care of ourselves, eating right, getting lots of sleep and taking advantage of our down time when we've got it," said U.S. Women's Hockey player Gillian Apps. "Just like everyone else, just washing our hands and making sure we're taking precautions so we don't get the flu."

Some doctors have even suggested athletes not shake hands with opposing teams after a game in an effort to combat the spread of H1N1.

That advice came from the Canadian Olympic Committee which suggested athletes find other ways to celebrate including 'fist-pumps' or simply a pat on the back.

Apps said her team hasn't heard that advice and still plans to shake hands after Friday's game, but it's a sign of the times that the recommendation was even made.

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