Cold and Flu Season

Cold and flu season is upon us. What does that mean in the world of trucking? A truck driver cannot just call in sick.

Cold and flu season

What Causes a Cold?

A cold is caused by a virus. A person picks up a virus by coming in contact with the virus. A virus can be transmitted through the air, touching, or coughing and sneezing from a person who carries the virus.

Rules for Being Sick on the Road

  1. Find a safe place to stop. Preferably a truck stop. You cannot devote 100% of your concentration to driving if you do not feel well. Being sick with a cold on the road puts both you and the public at risk.
  2. Assess the situation. How sick are you? Is this something that will pass quickly, or will it require more down time to recover?
  3. Do you need help? If you need help, contact your family and your dispatch immediately. Provide information as to where you are located and what the problem is.
  4. Remain calm.
  5. Call 911 if you feel that you are losing the battle. It is better to be safe than sorry. Too many drivers try to ride out a serious illness in the bunk of their truck when medical attention is needed
  6. Listen to your doctor. If he/she says that you cannot drive for a week, listen to him/her.
  7. Know your limits. You are the best judge of the situation.

Treating a Sickness on the Road

  1. Stay rested. Avoid using screens. By closing the curtains to your bunk and avoiding screens, you will allow your body to settle into a deeper sleep cycle.
  2. Gargle with warm salt water. To reduce the tickle in your throat while having a cold, try gargling warm salt water.
  3. Drink hot liquids. Drinking hot liquids helps to loosen the mucus membranes and relieve nasal congestion.
  4. Take warm showers if available. The steam from the shower will help to moisten your nasal passages for easier breathing.
  5. Sleep with your head elevated. This will help with sinus drainage while you sleep.
  6. Apply hot/cold compresses around your sinuses. This will help to relieve pain from sinus pressure or sinus migraines.
  7. Use saline nasal sprays. A nasal spray will help to break up nasal congestion while removing virus particles and bacteria from your nose.
  8. Use hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer evaporates and kills 99.99% of common germs and viruses that cause you to feel sick.

Inevitably, everyone ends up getting a cold at some time or another. Being a truck driver is not an exception, so stay safe and follow these tips to get you through your cold on the road.

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