Whether you work as a nurse and take care of people with real, communicable diseases every day, or you’re a speech therapist who deals with predominately illness-free people, if you work in a clinic or hospital, you’re going to work with or tend to people who have the flu.
Read below for tips on staying healthy no matter where you work and what to do if you find yourself starting to feel under the weather.
Prevent the Flu
- Get your flu shot. Consider getting a shingles shot and possible a pneumonia shot, as well (if you’re susceptible).
- Wash your hands more often. Each time you meet with a patient, type on a keyboard, hang up a department phone, before and after eating in the cafeteria, wash your hands. Sing the “Happy Birthday” song as you wash them (this makes sure you wash your hands for at least 20 seconds) and use hot water. Consider keeping hand sanitizer in your lab coat or a pocket for those times you can’t get to a wash sink.
- Clean surfaces. Use a disinfectant cleaner and wipe down counters, phones, doorknobs, drawer/cabinet pulls, toilet seats, and so on.
- Exercise. Exercise is known to help keep illness at bay. Even if it’s just a brisk walk around the hospital at lunch time, it’s important to keep active. Find a physical activity you enjoy (lifting weights, running, Zumba, ballroom dancing, swimming, paddle boarding, bicycling, skiing)and make sure you do it at the very bare minimum for an hour three times a week (six times a week is better).
- Eat plenty of fruits and veggies. Limit your intake of sweets and processed foods. If you’re worried you won’t be able to resist the pies in the hospital cafeteria, pack a healthy lunch
If You Start Feeling Ill
- Drink lots of clear fluids. Coffee and sodas don’t count (they actually can dehydrate you). Drink clear broth, water, juice. Water is best, of course.
- At the first sign of a cold, take some zinc lozenges, which may help shorten the length and decrease the severity of colds. If you start feeling flu-like symptoms, consider taking an antihistamine right away, as well as a decongestant and even acetaminophen. If you start coughing and you feel it heading down into your chest (bronchial), consider using guaifenesin (also known as tussin) to help with your chest congestion and phlegmy coughs.
- If you’re truly sick, stay home. Your body needs the best medicine of all at this point: rest. In addition, you’ll decrease the chances of your co-workers and patients getting sick. Don’t be a “hero”; be caring to yourself and others and keep your illness with you…at home!
Once you’re feeling better and you’d like more information about a career as a healthcare traveler, contact the recruiters at MedPro Healthcare Staffing. We’d love to answer any and all questions you may have. We look forward to hearing from you.