As temperatures dip everywhere from the onset of the winter chill and we begin our shift into the cold months, make note that it is also primetime for the cold and flu, or as I call it…”The Crud”!  Nowhere is this more prevalent to me than when I am inside a warehouse checking in and see people with red eyes, runny noses, and tissue boxes at the ready.  Not to mention that since my daughter started school this year, she is virtually a walking “petri dish” for every sniffle and sneeze brought in by her fellow peers!  Keeping the crud germs away and your health in top shape can be as simple as adding a few preventative steps into your routine.  

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We have gloves to protect our hands when working around the truck and trailer, so why not take a few extra minutes during the day to protect them when we are in the germ infested shipping and receiving areas?  You know the ones I am talking about, like the waiting areas where you’re even afraid to rest against the walls!  Even the cleanest waiting areas are still prone to germs on things such as doorknobs, communal writing pens and even on snack vending machines.  There are even many airborne germs and viruses waiting to invade just by breathing in the same air as others!

There are three simple steps I take to help minimize the risk of getting the cold or flu from having to frequent these types of germ infested areas.  These effective methods of prevention are to wash your hands often, sanitize whenever possible, and help filter the air you suspect is going to get you sick breathing.  I make it a point to wash my hands whenever a customer has facilities available to do so.  I figure that the more I wash, the fewer germs I can have on my hands.  Being slightly allergic to some chemical soap brands, I actually have my own all-natural anti-bacterial soap that I carry with me.  Throughout the day, especially when wash facilities are not available, I use an all-natural foaming hand sanitizer to further battle the germs I pick up.  If you suspect someone of being sick, (e.g. coughing, sneezing, blowing their nose, etc.) be sure to carry a simple hospital germ mask to wear when you are in close proximity to them.  It may look weird, but better to look weird for a brief moment than lose a day of work from getting “The Crud”.

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If you are unfortunate enough to come down with a cold or the flu, be cautious about rules for using and carrying medication in a commercial motor vehicle and while in operation of one!  Most companies even have policies of approval for over-the-counter medications of any kind and/or prescription medications.  Some may cause side effects that may not be safe while being behind the wheel of a vehicle, so choose and monitor what you take carefully.  When in doubt, ask a pharmacist or physician what side effects you will encounter ahead of time.  Your body is more easily fatigued when you are sick and can also get dehydrated very fast, so drink plenty of clear fluids.  This will also help ensure your body can help kick the sickness faster and flush out whatever is making you feel ill.

Comment (1)

Jimmy Nevarez

Jimmy Nevarez is the Owner/President of Angus Transportation, Inc., based in Chino, California.  Jimmy pulls a 53' dry van hauling general dry freight for his own small fleet, operating on its own authority throughout all of Southern California and Southern Nevada.

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Jimmy,
Nice article. You said a mouth full with this sentence: There are even many airborne germs and viruses waiting to invade just by breathing in the same air as others!
In August my wife contracted Epstein Barr Virus which is the virus that causes mono. Unknown to either of us but something to be aware of to all the Team Run Smart members, you can catch this from the air if you are in the vicinity of an infected person and they cough or sneeze in your direction. The virus is systemic so it gets into your lymphatic system and blood stream and travels throughout your body. In the vast majority of people the virus stays mobile and they "just get mono", and I don't say that lightly. However in a small percentage of people the virus settles somewhere in your body and causes all kinds of extra cruddy problems. With my wife it settled in the sacks around her heart and lungs which caused infections in both which resulted in fluid building up in both sacks, commonly known as pleuritis (lungs) and pericarditis (heart). That causes diminished lung and heart functions, intense pain, fever and discomfort in addition to the regular mono problems.
To make a very long story short, 8 fun filled days in the hospital and over two months off work were the result. She received excellent medical care and is getting better but they told her it could take up to 6 months to fully recover.
So as Jimmy said while all of you are at a shipper/receiver or just around sick people in general, a mask to protect yourself is a great idea if you notice people coughing. If you are an O/O do you have insurance to cover all your business expenses for an extended time away from work? Certainly something to think about when you think can happen from a single cough or sneeze in your direction from someone you don't know. While mono is called the kissing disease, according to the pulmonologists and cardiologists that treated her, it is also an airborne disease.

December 18, 2017 10:18:52 AM