How to Keep yourself Healthy - No Matter What your Patient’s Bring in

How to Keep yourself Healthy – No Matter What your Patient’s Bring in

Judging by the ubiquitous sound of hacking coughs and blustery sneezes, we’re in the thick of cold and flu season.  And every winter seems to bring about a new round of aches, chills and just plain malaise.  But what if you’re the one who has to tend to numerous exposures on a daily basis?  How do you keep yourself from succumbing along with the rest of the stricken?

Let’s take a look at a few handy and immunity boosting tips to keep you healthy despite the bugs that lie in wait:

Washing Hands

This should come as no surprise for those in the medical community, especially since studies have shown microbial agents can live and breed up to days upon common surfaces.  The doorknob that you just opened could have previously been touched by someone with a ripe case of strep and could spell doom for you if you were to touch your mouth or nose.  Keeping your hands properly washed with soap/water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer could prevent a huge headache later.

washing-hands

Stress

Yes, reducing stress is more easily said than done, but if we could take a deep breath and keep our wits and our reactions to stressful events to a minimum, scientific evidence points to a far-healthier immune system.  When our body experiences stress, it responds with increased adrenaline, as our primitive ancestors also experienced it is seen in the ‘fight or flight’ response.  However, prolonged stress weakens our immunities over the long run, increasing our chances in developing much more dangerous diseases.  If juggling a busy household while tending to a waiting room of sick patients has you feeling a little stressed out; relax.  Often times, taking a brisk 30 minute walk will reduce the amount of adrenaline.  If at all possible before bed time, take a moment to unwind with breathing exercises.  Keeping yourself in tiptop shape is priority number one.  Don’t forget, you’ve got a lot riding on those shoulders, if you’re unable to tend to yourself, who will?

stress

Vaccines

Flus and other common viruses strike without warning and no matter how hard we try to prevent them, we are all vulnerable.  That is why it is imperative as a healthcare worker that you take every means possible to keep yourself healthy.   What was once thought of as a disease of yesteryear, ‘Whooping Cough’ has made a dramatic comeback in the adult population, which can also spell disaster for those who are very young and vulnerable.   An adult version of this vaccine is available and highly recommended.

Lifestyle

If the dreary days and the wintry blahs have you feeling a little rundown, make sure that you include healthy foods, vitamins and supplements to your diet, add moderate exercise (too much will paradoxically lower your immunities) and make sure to get plenty of sleep to help combat the weather and the bugs flying around.  During the deep REM sleep, your body is able to recover and replenish cells damaged by those stressful moments of the day and is essential to keep those foreign bodies at bay and your immunities in top running form.    Besides, you’ll look and feel better with a good night’s sleep under your belt.  And be better able to care for those toddler triplets, the ones with the three matching ear infections.

At the end of the day, good health is probably our only true asset in life.  Without it, all the money in the world would be useless.   Keep yourself healthy, reduce those areas of stress and take every prevention and precaution available.

Kathryn Norcutt has been an active member of the health care community for over 20 years.  During her time as a nurse, she has helped people from all walks of life and ages.  Now, Kathryn leads a much less hectic life and devotes most of her free time to writing for RNnetwork, a site specializing in RNnetwork.com.