It is that time of year again … flu season! The two most dreaded words to people working in the transportation industry. It’s not you, it’s them – passengers – who while enjoying your service can repay you with germs and more germs. So how does one guard themselves against those pesky cold and flu viruses while being in close quarters with dozens of carriers?
Here are some tips to help you make it through the season relatively unscathed.
Get Vaccinated – Influenza vaccination is the best way to prevent infection with the flu, but no vaccines are available to prevent common colds. If you and your family should be vaccinated for influenza every year. Vaccination is particularly important when your job brings you in close contact with children under 5 years of age. Because they tend to put their hands and other things in their mouths, young children are more likely to pass on influenza than adults and older children. IF you are don’t like needles, ask your doctor for the mist version of the vaccine.
Eat Well and Take Vitamins – We all know that we should eat right every day, but sometimes it helps to be reminded. A healthy immune system thrives from proper nourishment. When traveling it becomes particularly important to make sure you are getting enough vitamin D and C, which helps boost immune system function and are found to be deficient in a surprising number of people.
Exercise Regularly - Not only can regular exercise lower stress, but research indicates that exercise can stimulate the immune system and promote healthy sleep.
Wash Your Hands Often – One of the best ways to keep from getting an infectious disease is to wash your hands often, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Washing your hands for at least 20-seconds with any kind of soap is the most effective means of avoiding sickness. Anti-bacterial soap is no more effective than regular soap. If you can’t get to soap and water, always carry an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to help kill cold and flu germs.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep - Lack of sleep is enough to bring about all sorts of disease, such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. The common cold occurs for the same reason all these other more serious conditions occur… from a weak immune system. To keep your immune system strong, it is advised to get at least 6 to 8 hours of sleep the night. Sleep restores the immune system by boosting the body’s natural levels of melatonin.
Have A Positive Attitude - Positive emotions have been found in studies by Carnegie Mellon University to bolster the immune system and help keep colds at bay. Interesting, it is not so much being happy during the moment you are traveling that is important, but rather your general outlook on life that seems to matter the most.
Drink Water – Put down that soda or coffee and pick up a water bottle! Your body needs to stay hydrated to be healthy. Sodas and coffee alone won’t give your body the water it needs. You should strive to drink at least 64 ozs a day, more is better.
Start Meditating – Reducing stress is a major factor in staying healthy. Being in the transportation industry can be stressful when having to deal with different types of people, traffic issues, other people on the road, by meditating you bolster your immunity to stress which helps fight off germs and viruses that normally would attack a weak immune system. Even if it is only for 10 minutes or so, learn to relax and find your happy place.