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10 tips from a nurse on how not to get sick

Shutterstock | Photographee.eu
Shutterstock | Photographee.eu

Nurses are always in the “sick” season. We spend more time indoors. We spend more time shoulder to shoulder with our fellow humans. We create the perfect environment for those wonderful microscopic mortal enemies responsible for initiating the sickness.

I’m pretty sure we’re ALL a little sick (yes, pun intended) of hearing about tips to stave off the common (and not-so common) cold, but why don’t we go over it once again? I mean, repetition IS the mother of all learning, isn’t it?!

1. Wash your hands

This one always amazes me. For my nurses, this means washing your hands obsessively outside of work, also. Don’t reserve the clean hands just for clocking in.

2. Dress appropriately

Just because your car is parked in a covered garage does NOT mean you don’t wear the appropriate outdoor clothing. I don’t know how many times I see coworkers walking “quickly” from their car with little to no outdoor gear. Oh, and ladies, put something on your head!

3. Get some sleep

That wonderful immune system you’ve built up isn’t gonna do you any favors if you’re not properly rested. A sleep-deprived immune system is worth nothing to you.

4. Help your immune system

This is that sly reminder to make wise health decisions. I don’t think I need to explain to you what tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption can do to that immune system? Oh, this also goes for eating properly cooked meat, etc., too.

5. It’s okay to be around those who are sick

In fact, it’s a requirement! How else is your immune system going to recognize, fight and develop an immunity to those nasty bugs out there if it’s not being exposed to them? Stop avoiding everyone who looks, sounds or claims to be ill.

6. Don’t go to work sick!

This is a tough one for my fellow nurses. There is absolutely no benefit to showing up for work sick. If anything, it will make you feel worse and GET worse. Stay home. Get that sleep I was talking about.

7. Call the doctor when it’s time

Antibiotic resistance is not a myth. Don’t call your PCP just because you have a runny nose. This holds true for the other end of the spectrum, too! Don’t wait 10 days into your cold when you don’t have enough energy to make the phone call, let alone talk.

8. Stop taking shortcuts – OTC Meds

The list is endless here. Vitamin C, B12, D, E (pick a letter from the alphabet), echinacea, ginkgo biloba, elderberry, zinc, etc. Stop looking for lightning in a bottle…it doesn’t exist.

9. Tie back your hair

Just because you can’t see the germs doesn’t mean they’re not there. Tie it back, ladies! And gents!

10. Don’t touch your face

Most communicable diseases are transferred by touching your eyes, mouth or nose with unclean hands and fingers. Not to sound like a broken record, but make sure to wash your hands as much as humanly possible!

So. Did I miss any major tips? Care to add one?

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3 Responses to 10 tips from a nurse on how not to get sick

  1. Sean this is an excellent post with great tips for nurses. I think one of the hardest ones for many nurses is going to be not going to work sick. Many facilities will hassle nurses who call in when they are sick and even without this many nurses feel guilty because they think other nurses will struggle in their absence.

  2. Smithteamracing RN

    Eat healthy

  3. susiqblue

    Also I use those disinfectant wipes at stores for my cart. Just think of all the Ecoli from baby diapers that could be on my purse when I set it down. Also in public bathrooms, I wash my hands and then use my paper towel to open the door. If no towels then I use my sleeve and I never put my purse on the floor.

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