Tips for Staying Healthy as a Truck Driver

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, trucking is the eighth most dangerous job in the United States. Drivers are constantly driving long distances, harsh environments, and dealing with mental fatigue. Here are some tips to consider for keeping up with your health as a truck driver.

  • Pass medical exams – In order to become a truck driver, you must be able to obtain a valid Medical Examiner’s Certificate (ME Certificate). The document will recognize that the driver is stated at good health and is capable of driving.
  • Sleep – Long distances can lead to fatigue and driving while drowsy is just as dangerous as being under the influence. In order to combat drowsiness, one should sleep for at least 7 hours and develop good sleeping habits. This will help drivers to stay awake and concentrate on the road.
  • Take breaks – Similar to sleep, a driver should take frequent breaks in order to clear the mind and destress. Take 10 to 20 minute naps and stretch your body so you can refresh and get back on the road.
  • Exercise – Even though truck drivers have a strict deadline, there is always time to perform a quick workout. By doing simple exercises like pushups and squats, 1) you’re keeping your body fit 2) as your heart rate rises, so will your energy level and 3) you’re maintaining overall good health mentally and physically.
  • Consume nutritious snacks – Treat your body like it’s your truck. If you fill it up with bad fuel, you can damage the truck as the same goes for if you eat bad food, then your body won’t preform at the level it needs to be. Snacks like peanuts, yogurt and fruits is great for acquiring the vitamins your body needs.
  • Avoid energy drinks – Energy drinks do provide a quick boost but it can lead to some long term effects. Consuming too many energy drinks can lead to a high intake of sugar, high blood pressure, and heart problems. A better alternative to energy drinks is water. Water helps maintain body temperature, weight, and gets rid of waste.
  • Constant contact with loved ones – This may sound obvious, but truck drivers are spending countless of hours driving alone to reach their destination. According to The New York Times “loneliness can impair health by raising levels of stress hormones and inflammation.” In order to avoid this state, it is important or drivers to contact their family members or loved ones every opportunity they have.

Trucking is a dangerous occupation but can be rewarding as it provides many benefits and great pay. However, health is the number priority for any occupation and as for truck drivers, implementing these tips while on the road should serve well.

 

Written by Julien Gonzalez

Sunscreen

Summer is in full swing. While enjoying time outdoors with your family and friends, it’s easy to get caught up in all the fun and relaxation, and forget about protecting your skin against the sun.

Sunscreens help shield your skin from the sun’s dangerous ultraviolet (UV) rays Some work by scattering the light, reflecting it way from your body, and others absorb UV rays before they can even reach your skin. Whether the sun is out or it’s cloudy outside, you’ll still need to apply sunscreen to protect your skin from damage. While sunscreen should be used every day of the year, it’s even more important during summer – the days are longer, the sun is stronger, and more time is spent outdoors.

Sun protection factor (SPF) is a number that indicates how much protection a product offers against UVB light. A product with a higher SPF number will offer greater protection. When choosing a sunscreen, make sure the label says:

  • Broad spectrum. A broad spectrum sunscreen protects against UVA and UVB rays, which are different types of UV rays that can damage your skin.
  • SPF 30 or higher. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that you select a sunscreen with an SPF rating of 30 or higher, especially for extended stays outdoors. A sunscreen with an SPF of 30 will block out 97% of the sun’s UVB rays.
  • When going in and out of the sun on a daily basis, your skin gets a lot of exposure to UV rays. Using a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 on a daily basis will help protect you, only if you won’t be in the sun for long time.

Here are the proper ways to use sunscreen to protect your skin.

  • Make sure to apply sunscreen at 30 minutes before you go outside.
  • Use sunscreen on all areas that will be exposed to the sun. That includes your face, ears, hands, arms, and chest area.
  • Wear a wide brimmed hat (and sunglasses) that covers your face.
  • Reapply sunscreen every two hours, especially after you’ve been in the water or if you have been sweating a lot.
  • Apply water-resistant sunscreen if you will be around water or swimming. Water resistant sunscreens can last for up to 80 minutes in the water, and some are also sweat resistant.
  • Use sunscreen even when it’s cloudy. UV light can pass through clouds, too.
  • Check the expiration date, since sunscreen becomes less effective over time. Never, under any circumstance, should you use expired sunscreen – it will not give you the protection that you need.

Consider your skin type and allergies when you are purchasing sunscreen. If you are experiencing rashes from sunscreen, it’s important to try to figure out why. Instead of not using sunscreen at all, find one that doesn’t result in you having an allergic reaction. The amount of time it takes for an allergic reaction to show depends on the person – it can happen within minutes or it can take a few days. If you are still having allergic reactions to sunscreen, it’s important to speak with your doctor. They will be able to tell you the proper ones that you should use.

Try to avoid being out in the sun during the day. The sun’s rays are at their strongest between 10 am and 4 pm. A combination of shade, proper clothing, and using sunscreen year-round will help to protect your skin from the sun.

Written by Dami Falade

 

Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle on Vacation

Summer is in full swing! Summer signifies warmer weather, and the warmer weather calls for vacation. Going on vacation and having a few days off is always a fun time. You get to go someplace new and unwind without the stressors of daily life.

When on vacation, it’s easy to get out of your normal routine and do things that you normally wouldn’t do. Staying healthy is more difficult when you’re in an unfamiliar environment and under stressful conditions. However, you don’t have to break your habits completely and overindulge. Here are some tips that will help you.

  • Stay hydrated. Bring your own water bottle, if possible. Limit your caffeine and alcohol intake so that you can avoid dehydration while traveling. Dehydration leads to headaches and tiredness, so if you start to feel sluggish, drink some water.
  • Sleep. The National Sleep Foundation recommends at least 8 – 10 hours of sleep each night. Make sure you’re sleeping enough at least three days before you travel so that when you go on vacation, your body has time to get used to the time difference (if any).
  • Incorporate fruits and vegetables into your diet. Have a side of fruit with your breakfast and a salad filled with greens on the side of your dinner. Avoid eating large meals.
  • Eat smaller portions. Cut your portion size by sharing your meal or dessert, or even take it to-go so you can eat it the next day.
  • Make time for exercise. Rather than driving or taking public transportation, explore the new location by walking around. Be sure to pack comfortable tennis shoes.
  • Pack your own travel snacks. Whether you decide to fly or driver, having non-perishable snacks on hand is a healthy alternative as opposed to processed food on the road. Nuts, seeds, and dried fruits will give you plenty of energy when you don’t have that many food options.
  • Avoid eating large meals before you go to sleep. Not only can this lead to indigestion, eating late at night may result in less hunger the next day.
  • Plan ahead – limit dining out. If you’re driving to your destination and your hotel has a refrigerator, cook some food to take with you before you leave and put it in an insulated cooler.
  • Bring your own gear – proper running shoes, yoga matt, and/or workout clothes.
  • Be prepared for emergencies. Pack sunscreen, antihistamines, bug spray, band-aids/first aid kit, and hand sanitizer. You never know what can happen and it’s better to have these essentials on hand in the case that you need it.

Give yourself a break when you get home. When a great vacation is over, there is usually tiredness from the travel and excitement. Take a day, if possible, to get back to your normal routine and run errands, whether that is doing laundry, grocery shopping/cooking, or even taking the whole day to sleep.

Eating healthy and having a healthy attitude while on vacation is challenging, but it’s also not impossible. By having these tips in mind, you will feel more satisfied, both physically and mentally while you are enjoying your time away from home.

Written by Dami Falade

Summer Safety Tips

Now that spring has officially started, summer is fast approaching, and the warmer weather calls for fun in the sun. Summer is filled with a lot of outdoor activities -camping, hiking, and swimming, just to name a few.

However, fun in the sun also comes with a number of safety concerns to be mindful of. Keep yourself, your friends, and your family safe and healthy, while also having fun, during the summer months with a few precautions:

  • Use protective gear – sunglasses, a hat, and sunscreen. Wear a broad spectrum sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 15. Make sure to cover every area that will be exposed, including the neck, arms, legs, and feet and reapply every 2 hours. Also, wear sunglasses with 100% UV protection and wear hats that are wide-brimmed that will cover your face.
  • Drink plenty of water, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Avoid beverages with caffeine, alcohol, or large amounts of sugar. This can lead to loss of bodily fluid, which promotes dehydration. Dehydration can lead to problems that range from headaches to more serious illnesses such as heat stroke.
  • Practice safe food handling. When dealing with any kid of food, wash your hands first to prevent contamination. Food poisoning peaks in the summer months when warmer temperature provides a breeding ground for bacteria. Keep food tightly sealed until it’s ready to eat, and try to keep it out of the sun, if possible. When you are grilling, make sure the meat is properly refrigerated before use and cooked thoroughly – use a food thermometer to ensure meats reach a safe internal temperature.
  • Have a first aid kit on standby. It’s important to have one especially if you are going hiking or camping. According to the American Red Cross, your kit should contain bandages, dressings, tweezers, scissors, cloth tape, a cold compress, non-latex gloves, and antihistamines. Keep a first aid kit in your home and in your car, and include any personal items, such as medications and emergency phone numbers. Make sure you are checking the kit regularly for any expiration dates and replace any used or expired contents.
  • Limit your time in the sun. The sun’s ultra violet rays are at its strongest between 10 am and 4 pm. Make an effort to minimize your time outdoors during those hours. Plan your outdoor activities early in the morning or later in the afternoon.
  • Swim smart – practice proper safety near water. Always go in pairs. Make sure that children are under constant adult supervision and provided with the correct flotation devices. If lightning and thunder are nearby, get out until the storm has passed.

If you are worried about the wellbeing of someone under your care, don’t hesitate to seek medical attention immediately. Even while practicing these tips, life-threatening situations such as dehydration and heatstroke are still a possibility.

Prioritize safety first for all summertime fun. This gives you a peace of mind while enjoying pleasant activities and making great memories with your loved ones.

 

Written by Dami Falade