Preventive Maintenance: Don’t Catch Cold – ‘Tis the Season
December 1, 2003
Driving down the road this fall, you couldn't help but enjoy the scenery.The bright colours of the leaves looked great!But, now most of them have dropped, and so has the temperature.Winter is on its w...
Driving down the road this fall, you couldn’t help but enjoy the scenery.
The bright colours of the leaves looked great!
But, now most of them have dropped, and so has the temperature.
Winter is on its way, bringing with it a season of coughing, sneezing, and runny noses.
Is there anything we can do to avoid suffering from all of the common cold symptoms during the busiest cold season?
Here are 10 steps to staying cold free this winter:
1. Wash your hands using soap and warm running water frequently. This literally rinses germs away.
Your job puts you in contact with germs all day long: touching money, fuel cards, pens, bills of lading, etc.
Anything that is handed to you by someone else, or used by someone else is covered with germs.
2. Don’t share cups with anyone else. If you’re team driving (even with your husband or wife) use paper cups to drink out of. Throw them out after each use, and then each new cup is guaranteed to be clean. If you carry a pack along with you, you’ll always have a fresh one.
3. Use a Kleenex instead of a hanky. This goes back to the same idea as the paper cups.
Throw the used tissue out after one use. Then, you don’t reintroduce old germs into your system each time you blow your nose. Be careful to put the used tissue into the garbage.
Otherwise, it spreads the germs to everything it touches.
4. Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs pass easily through these ports.
So, if you have touched something infected, your infected hands are carrying those germs directly into your system.
5. Keep a roll of disposable towels on hand. When you’re wiping down the inside of your rig, use a paper towel instead of a rag. Both bacteria and viruses can live on cloth towels for hours. So, when you re-use the towel, you’re also re-touching the old germs.
6. Keep the equipment on your dashboard clean.
It carries germs. Regularly wash all areas in warm, soapy water to kill bacteria and viruses.
My husband carries a container of disinfecting wipes in his cab all the time. Every time he starts his shift, he wipes everything down: radio, CB (and microphone), knobs, steering wheel, gear shift, etc. Anything his hands are going to touch gets wiped. Remember that germs may rest up to three hours on surfaces that are touched a lot.
7. If you have to sneeze, sneeze away from others; no one wants to share your germs. Use a tissue so you can toss it out afterwards.
If you feel a sneeze coming on and don’t have a Kleenex, catch it in your hands, and be sure to wash them afterwards. (You don’t want to coat your steering wheel with old germs.)
8. Don’t smoke or allow smoking in your rig. Smoking irritates your nose and lungs and drastically increases your chance of catching cold. To stay healthy, it’s best to make your environment a smoke-free one.
9. Proper ventilation is important. Run with your window down a little, or your vent open a crack if weather permits.
This will help flush your cab of any germs floating around in the air.
10. Stay rested.
A rested body can fight any infection more easily than a tired one.
In the cold season, you Owner/Operators have it a bit easier.
If you’re the only driver, you know whether the last person driving your rig was sick, or not.
So, you know which of these steps you need to follow.
But, if you’re a company driver, and share your truck, it just makes sense to assume the last driver DID have a cold.
If this is the case, then take all the necessary precautions to make sure you don’t find yourself in the same situation.
But if you are mindful of these steps and take care of yourself this winter, we can make sure that Rudolph will be the only one with a red nose this time around.
– Karen Bowen is a professional health and nutrition consultant and she can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.