If you’re in the medical profession, you work with people who are ill all the time. It can be difficult knowing how to avoid getting sick when you’re working not only with people who are unwell, but also with people who have contagious conditions. Luckily, there are several ways you can stay healthy and safe, even when working in an environment surrounded by those who are battling illnesses. Here are seven tips:
1) Wash your hands.
The most basic preventative measure is to wash your hands often and thoroughly throughout the day. This is basic training at any healthcare environment, but making sure you wash after every contact with an open wound and every ill patient can really help you stay healthier.
2) Wear the right gear.
If you’re dealing with a patient with a higher risk, you may be asked to wear protective gear such as a facemask or gloves. Make sure you do so, to avoid spreading contagion and to avoid getting sick yourself.
3) Get out of the habit of touching your face.
Most of us touch our faces repeatedly throughout the day. Even when your hands are very clean, however, you could be spreading viruses and bacteria easily.
Get into the habit of noticing when you touch your face and do your best to break this habit. You will greatly reduce your chances of getting sick — even in flu season — if you do so. Keep your hair well off your face so you’re not fixing it throughout the day and touching your face in the process. Keep your hands away from your mouth, nose and eyes, especially.
4) Watch where you eat.
When you sit down to eat your meal, make sure you do so in a place where there are fewer people who are unwell. A staff lounge, for example, can be a better option than a hospital cafeteria were lots of patients go. Wash your hands very thoroughly before you start to eat, especially if you’re eating with your hands.
5) Strengthen your immune system.
A healthy immune system means you are less susceptible to illnesses and disease. Here are some immune system tips to help you avoid flus and other contagious illnesses:
- Get plenty of sleep. Fatigue runs your body down and makes it easier for you to catch colds, flus and other illnesses. Proper rest is essential.
- Eat well. A healthy diet means your body works better and has an easier time repelling disease. Studies have repeatedly linked a healthy diet with both better immune system and overall health. Diets high in dark leafy greens, vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, proteins and fiber and low in processed, fatty and sugary foods are best. Also, consider taking probiotics to boost your immune system.
- Stay hydrated. When you’re dehydrated, your nasal passages and throat may be dryer, potentially making you more susceptible to illness.
- Get a humidifier and air purifier. If you have your own office, run these gadgets there. Otherwise, run them at home to give your body an immune boost.
- Get vaccinated. One of the best ways you can boost your immune system is to get vaccinated. The flu shot and other vaccines can help you avoid illnesses, even if you’re exposed.
6) Be aware of sneezing and coughing.
Ideally, people should cover their noses and mouths when they cough or sneeze. Not everyone does, however. Breathe shallowly or hold your breath for 10-15 seconds after someone sneezes or coughs to avoid breathing in droplets.
7) Wash your clothes and accessories thoroughly.
After a long day at the clinic or hospital, take the time to get out of your scrubs and clothing and wash them thoroughly. Clothing, hair accessories, shoes and anything else you wear at work should also be thoroughly washed, as should your mobile device and any other personal items you have with you while on the job.
Since swapping out your scrubs and uniform can help you wash your scrubs more often and potentially prevent getting an illness, make sure you have plenty of extra scrubs on hand. Pulse Uniform makes it easy to order scrubs when you need them.