The holidays are a great time for family, friends and celebrations, but falling ill can ruin your holidays. Winter can take a toll on your physical and mental health, in the middle of a family gathering or while you’re at work tending to patients. So, what can you do to stay healthy this winter as a traveling medical professional? Check out our tips:
Remember to fully cover your head and ears, wear mittens rather than gloves and use well-insulated socks when dressing for the weather. Instead of wearing one big coat, dress in several layers of loose, warm clothing. This will better protect you against the wind, snow and rain. If you are working, layer under your scrubs with long sleeves and thermal leggings to stay warm. Staying warm is essential considering 50 million days of work are lost due to the common cold in the United States.
Limit time outdoors when it’s freezing
Pay attention to weather forecasts and wind chill readings. Dress accordingly, but also watch for signs of frostbite, such as red or pale skin, prickling and numbness. Seek emergency help right away if you experience any signs of hypothermia, including intense shivering, slurred speech, loss of coordination and fatigue. More than 13,400 hypothermia deaths occurred in the United States between 2003 and 2013. These cold-weather hazards can be prevented if you take measures to protect yourself against the cold, such as packing an emergency supply kit and warm clothing while traveling.
Drink lots of water
When it starts getting colder most people love cozying up with a cup of hot cocoa or cider, but always make sure that you’re getting enough water in your diet. The health authorities commonly recommend eight 8-ounce glasses, which equals about 2 liters, or half a gallon daily. While hot beverages can be great for warmth, remember to keep it balanced with at least eight cups of water per day. A glass of water with and between each meal can keep you hydrated, healthy and ready to fight off any germs winter may bring. That’s crucial for you traveling medical pros out there!
Over-the-top holiday excursions can be stressful, which is not how you should be spending this joyful season. Focus on your holiday traditions and don’t worry about the rest. Make time for friends, family and good times and embrace relaxation when you can. Don’t neglect your sleep either! Do all that you can to stick to a normal sleep schedule even around all the celebrations and traveling. Avoid or limit caffeine, alcohol, daytime napping and large meals before bed. These factors can interfere with a good night’s rest.
Exercise. Yes, Still.
Winter’s chill can sometimes discourage us to keep up with our fitness routines. It’s easy to let these habits slide during the season, but remember that regular activity can keep you healthy, both mentally and physically. If the temperature is below 0 degrees or the wind chill is extreme, use that time to choose an indoor exercise. Online workouts (on YouTube or Daily Burn) are a great tool to get you moving in the comfort of your home. If you’d like to exercise outside, dress appropriately. Too many layers can make you overheat, so choose layers that you can easily remove.
Keep the germs away
Hello! You work with people who are sick. Be sure to wash your hands as often as possible. This is one of the best ways to avoid getting sick and spreading the common cold. Germs accumulate through nearly everything you do or touch, so washing your hands frequently will help avoid as many germs as possible. Use soap and wash them in water for 20 seconds. It’s cheap and easy and more effective than alcohol-based hand sanitizers; but if you don’t have soap and water, sanitizers will do in a pinch.
Can you think of other ways that traveling healthcare professionals can take care of themselves during the holiday season? Let us know in the comments below!
If you know someone that’s looking for a traveling opportunity refer them to us! When you refer to Triage you can earn $750 per referral. That extra money will definitely be nice to have during the holidays.