With children at particular risk of H1N1 influenza, members of hockey leagues across the country are being told to shun sports drinks and to avoid sharing water bottles on the bench.
The directive, from Hockey Canada, was drafted last month by the organization's chief medical officer, Dr. Mark Aubry, but is being circulated now to parents of players as the hockey season starts getting into full gear.
Sports drinks are a no-no because the bottles don't have spouts, making direct lip contact with the container more possible, providing a possible transmission route for the highly contagious flu viruses.
Gone are the days when teams would provide water bottles on the bench for all to use. Hockey Canada wants all players and coaches to bring their own and label them with names and player numbers.
In the locker room, players aren't to share towels, clothing, or even soap. Towels should be removed promptly from all benches, and teams are being told to carry extra hand sanitizer, as not all arenas have the prophylactic substance readily available.
Hockey equipment is another possible transmission route, and players should wash their hands after handling skates, gloves and uniforms, according to the directive.