Even with sick leave, paid time off, and other benefits, no one can afford to get sick. For truck drivers, a week off can really impact your bottom line, but it also leaves clients in the lurch and inconveniences your employer. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to keep from getting sick and to be healthier year-round.
Wash Your Hands
Your mom was right on the best way to avoid passing germs. Wash your hands multiple times every day. Use warm water and soap. Wash for at least 20 seconds and rinse well. It’s a good idea to wash every time you use a public restroom or are just out in public. Use the paper towel to open the door to prevent re-contamination. If you can’t wash your hands, at least use hand sanitizer after you cough or sneeze or are around someone who does.
Use Disinfectant Cleaning Solutions
There is a reason that grocery stores put disinfectant wipes near the shopping carts. Where hands go, germs go. Keep a pack of disinfectant wipes in your truck to wipe down surfaces where multiple strangers have touched. Use the wipes in stores to clean off the handles of carts. Simple steps help you avoid germs because the influenza viruses can live on surfaces for a long time.
The CDC says that the best way to avoid getting the flu is to get vaccinated every year. Although flu vaccines don’t offer total immunity, they do lower your risk of getting the flu and can reduce the symptoms if you do get it. There’s really no way to tell if the flu vaccine prevented an illness, but according to most studies, the vaccine reduces the likelihood of being hospitalized.
Get Your Vitamins and Take Supplements
Vitamin C fuels your immune system. Supplements can help during cold and flu season, but real foods are much better. Eat citrus fruits, berries and greens to keep your immune system working properly all year long.
Vitamin D supports your immune system, too. Make sure to get fatty fish like, tuna or salmon, to have better bone health and reduce your risk of high blood pressure. Many Americans don’t get enough vitamin D. If you do use a supplement, choose one with D3 which interacts with your own system more effectively. Some studies have shown that zinc supplements can help reduce the severity of a cold.
Eat Healthy and Stay Hydrated
Avoiding sugar, caffeine and alcohol can help prevent colds and flu by helping you stay healthy. While you should increase your vitamin C and D intake during cold and flu season, you need to eat right all year long. Choose lean meats instead of fried foods. Eat lots of vegetables and fruits. Make sure to include fiber in your diet. Make sure you drink plenty of water to keep blood circulating through your body, which helps you fight off bacteria and viruses.
Avoid Cigarettes, Cigars and Tobacco
Smoking increases your risk of respiratory infections. Stop smoking to improve your health. Even second-hand smoke can increase your risk of more severe symptoms when you get sick. Tobacco and smoke reduce your ability to fight off infections.
Get Enough Sleep
The benefits of a good night’s sleep go way beyond your immune system. You need sleep to restore your immune system and help fight off germs and viruses. Sleep helps you maintain good blood sugar levels, which is important even if you don’t have diabetes. It reduces stress and helps you fight off cancer. Sleep also reduces your risk of depression and helps the cells in your body repair themselves.
Exercise - Get Moving
Physical activity benefits your immune system and reduces your risk of respiratory infections. Plus, it helps you maintain a healthy weight, which also boosts your immune system. It reduces the risk of heart disease, stress, high blood pressure, certain cancers and type 2 diabetes. Even though you’re on the road a lot, you need to take time to get moving. Try to some kind of physical activity every day, even if it’s just a brisk 15-minute walk.
Reduce Your Stress
There is a connection between chronic stress and physical illness. The more stress you face, the harder it is for your immune system to fight off disease. Find ways to reduce and relieve stress, such as meditation, yoga or prayer. Take time to relax and enjoy your life when you’re away from work. When you do take a break, use that time to do something that gives you joy.
Can You Completely Avoid Getting Sick?
The real secret on how to avoid getting sick? Essentially, you need to remember all those things you learned growing up on how to take care of yourself. Practice good hygiene. Eat healthy. Don’t overdo alcohol. Don’t smoke. You may not be able to completely avoid all germs, but you’ll greatly reduce the likelihood of serious illness that keeps you off the road.