Drivers, the dreaded cold-and-flu season is upon us —that time of year when you need to protect your personal engine from freezing up, locking up and shutting you down. Your job is tough enough without having to drive while feeling sick and tired.
It’s all about prevention. Just as you have to get your rig winter-ready, you have to get your body ready.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses. Getting a flu vaccine during 2020-21 will be more important than ever. The CDC estimates that last season, less than half of Americans got a flu vaccine and at least 410,000 people were hospitalized because of the flu. Increased vaccination coverage would reduce that burden.
Many trucking fleets organize flu clinics at their terminals. If you’re not sure where to go, visit www.flu.gov to find a nearby location.
Regardless of whether you get a flu shot, you must be proactive and be aware of your surroundings. It’s like the No. 1 rule in boxing: Protect yourself at all times.
Truck drivers are at a high risk for the flu because of the environment in which they work. The constant contact with fellow drivers when going in and out of terminals and travel centers heightens your risk. The life of a driver means using multiple public restrooms, standing in fuel lines as others cough and sneeze around you, and using different showers on a daily basis. The secret to keeping the flu at bay is ramping up your immune system and keeping it running strong to help fight off germs and viruses.
Here are a few proactive tips to help protect yourself:
- Take a good multivitamin. It may improve your overall well-being. Vitamins are essential for professional truck drivers because of it can be difficult to find proper nutrition from foods on the road. When taking any form of vitamins, it’s a good idea to consume them right after you eat.
- Take vitamin C and zinc supplements. These will support your immune system and may reduce the severity of a cold.
- Use garlic. It’s a natural antibiotic, and one of the best ways to support your immune system.
- Make healthy food choices.
- Don’t go long periods without eating. Your system will become weak and your immune system will lower its protection.
- Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds multiple times a day, and wear gloves when you can.
- Carry — and use — hand sanitizer and/or sanitizing wipes.
- Wipe down your truck’s steering wheel and door handles daily.
- Get plenty of exercise.