Cold and flu season is upon us. What does that mean in the world of trucking? A truck driver cannot just call in sick.
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
- 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.
- Assess the situation. How sick are you? Is this something that will pass quickly, or will it require more down time to recover?
- 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.
- Remain calm.
- 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
- Listen to your doctor. If he/she says that you cannot drive for a week, listen to him/her.
- Know your limits. You are the best judge of the situation.
Treating a Sickness on the Road
- 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.
- Gargle with warm salt water. To reduce the tickle in your throat while having a cold, try gargling warm salt water.
- Drink hot liquids. Drinking hot liquids helps to loosen the mucus membranes and relieve nasal congestion.
- Take warm showers if available. The steam from the shower will help to moisten your nasal passages for easier breathing.
- Sleep with your head elevated. This will help with sinus drainage while you sleep.
- Apply hot/cold compresses around your sinuses. This will help to relieve pain from sinus pressure or sinus migraines.
- Use saline nasal sprays. A nasal spray will help to break up nasal congestion while removing virus particles and bacteria from your nose.
- 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.