Traveling healthcare professionals get a double whammy of exposure to illness. First, you’re (usually) working around sick people. Some of them incredibly ill. Second, you’re traveling a ton, riding on planes, trains and automobiles, becoming exposed to all manner of people – and their colds and flu bugs.

Read below for some tips on how to stay healthy and work around this double shot of ick that’s aimed right at you.

The best advice is applicable to anyone who works in an environment where you are surrounded by people, whether they’re healthy or not:

  1. Wash your hands frequently. You know this already, of course, but it always bears repeating. Wash your hands after caring for patients. Wash your hands after greeting people. Wash your hands after cleaning a patient room. Wash your hands after hugging your family hello when you return from work.
  2. Wipe down surfaces with disinfectant. If people touch it, see if you can wipe it down.
  3. Keep a small case of disinfectant wipes in your purse, satchel or briefcase, in order to keep them handy.
  4. Drink water until you feel your insides are going to float away. Water removes toxins from our bodies, so flushing your system with this miracle liquid is a great way to keep illness at bay.
  5. Exercise. Get that heart pumping! It’s best if you could get your heart rate going at a good clip for 30-60 minutes five or six days a week. At bare minimum, get your heart pumping at least three times a week for 30 minutes each session.
  6. Watch the junk food. Aim to eat as healthfully as possible. That means double up on fresh fruits and vegetables. Watch the saturated fats and the foods with processed sugars, such as cookies, cakes, pies, sodas, and other junk foods.
  7. Speaking of food, as you say no to the bad stuff, you might consider eating nature’s own flu and cold fighters, such as zinc supplements, which are known to help arrest colds; garlic, which might boost your immune system; and vitamin C (of course!).
  8. Cut back on alcohol and if you haven’t done so yet, quit smoking.
  9. When traveling, you’ll want to wash your hands frequently and keep those disinfectant gels and wipes nearby because you know that people generally wash their hands even less frequently than your healthcare colleagues, so you need to double up on the preventive measures. You also might consider taking Airborne or some other type of cold-prevention supplement (research has found that these don’t help keep you from getting sick, but many individuals swear by them), as well as Zicam or another zinc supplement.

What tips can you offer your fellow travelers to help them stay healthy this winter? What home remedies do you swear by?

If you’re an experienced RN, OT, PT, speech therapist, pharmacist, or other allied health professional with a yearning to travel to different healthcare facilities across the country for short-term assignments, contact a recruiter at MedPro Healthcare Staffing. We look forward to hearing from you.