Medical and associated advice



For any medical issues please refer here for contact details.


Answered by Dr Jann Killops, Race doctor, Mediclinic –   the official medical partner to the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon

Question: Can I run when I have the flu?

Answer: The most common cause of flu is a viral upper respiratory tract infection.   If you have mild symptoms such as a runny nose and sore throat without fever and without general body aches and pains, you can safely resume training a few days after your symptoms resolve.

If you however have fever, tiredness, muscle aches or swollen lymph glands, you should wait 2 weeks before you resume exercise.

The following are signs and symptoms that suggest you are not fit enough to exercise:

  • poor performance and the inability to maintain pre illness exercise levels
  • fatigue
  • return of symptoms like headache, muscle pain and fever
  • increased heart rate at rest
  • if it takes longer to recover after exercise (compared to when you feel fit and healthy)If you are unsure, the safest course of action is to consult your doctor prior to the race.

Question: How do I manage cramp?

Answer: Cramps are common even in experienced runners. The exact cause of cramping is a contentious issue and may involve many factors.  Cramp can be experienced by individuals that over exert a fatigued muscle, or it can be due to electrolyte abnormalities or heat stress.

If you experience cramp, stop running, stretch the muscle and apply ice. Ice will be available at water points.  While you stretch the muscle, have an isotonic beverage.  It is recommended that the drink should be a 6% carbohydrate electrolyte solution.

Should you experience involuntary twitching of your muscles or you have more than one part of your body affected, it could have a more serious cause. Seek out the assistance of the physiotherapists available along the route.  The Mediclinic medical team will be on hand should cramping persist and it requires further medical treatment.

Question: Is it safe to take anti-inflammatory drugs on race day?

Answer: No, it is not safe or recommended to use anti-inflammatory medications during the race.

During sustained exercise, blood is diverted away from the gut and shunted to your muscles. Most anti-inflammatory medications have ulceration of the stomach lining as part of the side effect profile. Taking anti-inflammatory medications on an empty stomach and in a setting of lower blood supply to the gut will increase the risk of ulceration.

In the same way that these medications treat the pain and inflammation associated with injury, anti-inflammatory medications can mask the severity of the injury by removing the pain response and subsequently result in even more severe injury.

An unfortunate consequence of anti-inflammatory medications is that the same molecules that cause and cheerlead inflammation are also responsible for maintaining the flow of blood to the kidneys. Taking anti-inflammatory medication can block the flow of blood to the kidneys resulting in kidney damage.  Should you become dehydrated this effect could be enhanced further and the damage to the kidney could be more severe.  It might result in permanent damage.

Should you experience severe pain during the race, please present yourself to one of the Mediclinic crew members and you will be assessed and advised accordingly.

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