You've been working your butt off and you think you're ready for a Tough Mudder. You may have trained enough but there are some other dangers you might not have considered.
It is hard to predict what dangers may be lurking on your particular course as every race is different. The popularity of Mud races has increased with registration for these events rising 211% over the last 5 years.
Outside of the expected scrapes, bruises and sore muscles, here are some dangers
we hope you never have to traverse:
Just last month in France, more than a 1000 people displayed symptoms of norovirus (vomiting, diarrhea, fever) after participating in a mud run. "The virus is transferred from person to person, but it takes microscopic amounts found in vomit or diarrhea to make you sick," says Scott Youngquist, M.D., associate professor of emergency medicine at the University of Utah. Meaning, if someone vomits on the course, the mud you come in contact with might be contaminated and make you sick.
2. Flesh Eating Bacteria
As any of you mud run fans know, it is IMPOSSIBLE to get through the run without being covered in nicks and scratches. A woman in Texas lost sight in her eye after a run. Doctors believe that debris from the course cut her eyeball which allowed flesh eating bacteria to destroy her cornea. "Bacteria in the mud or on your skin—such as staph and strep—can get into a cut and cause an infection," Youngquist says. Unfortunately, there's not much you can do to avoid it, though wearing pants and a shirt with sleeves can provide an extra layer of protection for your skin, says Reshma Patel, M.D., an emergency medicine physician at New York University Langone Medical Center.
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) this bacteria, which is found in animal urine, can survive in water and soil for months. "You can get it from swallowing contaminated water or the bacteria can enter through a cut or scratch in the skin," Patel says. If infected, you could develop fever, chills, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, or skin rash.
"A lot of people sign up for mud runs because it seems like fun, but then they get to the course and discover how challenging it is," Patel says. If you haven't been working out regularly, and exhaust yourself on one of these courses, you could contract rhabdomyolysis. "Rhabdomyolosis occurs when you get traumatic breakdown of your muscles at the cellular level," Dr. Patel says. You might experience severe weakness, muscle stiffness, tenderness or bloody urine. If you notice any of these symptoms, especially redish or brownish urine and muscle pains that go beyond what you'd expect after a hard workout, seek medical attention immediately. If you don't, you risk permanent damage to your liver .
Obviously the majority people that participate in mud runs make it through exhausted but relatively unscathed. These are just some things to think about. It is worth paying attention to how you feel after the race!
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