Practicing Good Hygiene in Your Work Environment

Maintaining a clean and safe workplace can lead to a more productive environment for everyone. The last thing employees or guests want to question is if the facility is clean or feeling too uncomfortable to be present.

Hygiene Tips for Work

  • Wash hands with soap in between meeting clients and patients. Wash hands after using the bathroom facilities, before and after preparing food or drinks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a minimum of 20 seconds for cleansing your hands to ensure germs are significantly removed.
  • When coughing, yawing, or sneezing cover your mouth and nose with a Kleenex or turn into the inside of your arm. This way you are keeping germs to yourself instead of spreading them through the air or your hands.
  • Wipes down workspace at best once daily; this includes the mouse, keyboard, phones, and surface areas.
  • Keep hand sanitizer at your desk. For other reasons, you are not always able to access soap and water; CDC advocates using hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Fresh breath. Since you are not at home to brush your teeth after meals, carry gum or travel size mouth wash with you.
  • Wash work clothes before wearing them again to get rid of any germs or dirt, even if it’s not visible. The National Health Service UK acknowledges clothes as being one of the most common ways germs are spread. Bacteria naturally come from our own body then onto our clothes which can easily spread to others from small actions such as brushing against an object, sitting close or near a coworker.
  • Practice keeping public shared areas clean and sanitary after each use—bathrooms, breakrooms, conference rooms.
  • Report any symptoms or illness to your employer.

Many companies have their own work hygiene policies for employees to abide by, but it is always good to refresh good practice tips every so often. You may consider putting up reminders in public areas such as the bathrooms, break rooms or even coordinate mini staff meetings. By positively reinforcing good hygiene, you can mold employees into developing thoughtless cleanly habits.

Survival Guide: Night-Shift

For those of us that workdays, you can almost feel the sleepiness when thinking about taking on a night-shift. Though this particular shift may be challenging, there can be benefits. Here are some solutions that will encourage you to adjust and embrace it.

Survival Tips 

  • Stick to a routine. By setting a daily schedule, you are aiding your mind and body into expecting and preparing for what’s to come for a long night shift. Over time as you stay consistent, your body will reduce in feeling sluggish or overworked.
  • Incorporate a healthy diet. University of Nottingham article adds, “We consume at least a third of our daily calories whilst at work…” Consider what we put into our body reflects our performance and health at work. Try eating meals that keep you full and restore your energy. Pack healthy easy snacks and drink a lot of water. Hydrated muscles are very important when you are on the go.
  • Exercise keeps you fit and physically prepared for your active shift. Exercising before your night- shift also influences a positive mind, allows you to feel more alert and awake. The Mayo Clinic supports a daily exercise routine prior to work and suggests you intake “both carbohydrates and protein within two hours of exercise” for muscle recovery and to avoid fatigue.
  • Take your scheduled naps. If allowed, take advantage of your time to sleep. It is important not to burn your body out from exhaustion as it can affect your work performance. The National Sleep Foundation encourages employers to “nap strategically”. For night shift workers try breaking up your sleep in two’s, meaning sleep at home after work and again before you go back in. In doing this, you will be able to meet your essential hours of sleep. 
  • Build relationships with co-workers. Healthy friendly relationships can be beneficial as you can seek work advice, emotional support and a more exciting boost to going to work. 
  • Set small goals throughout the day. Goals are important because they can increase your work productivity and allow your shifts to feel swifter. By setting and achieving small goals, you’re more focused and excited about your work accomplishments than dwelling over the duration of your shift.

In reality, give yourself time to adjust to your new overnight position. Everyone’s body and way of coping are going to be different. It may take various trials and errors to figure out what works best for your body and mental wellness.

Don’t Sleep on a Concussion

Summer fun began and left! For some parents, that means the start of a new school year and a new active schedule, especially if you have a child in sports. It is ideal to want to keep your kids active in and outside of school, given, that playing a sport or being active can be exceedingly rewarding to you or your child’s social, mental, and physical health. As a parent to a new or developing athlete, these are the stages where monitoring your child’s physical health should increase. Unfortunately, with physical activity come injuries, commonly, concussions. With early detection, the likelihood of a shortened recovery time and an opportunity to a swift release back to full participation is abundant.

What is a concussion?

In a Forbes News article, Dr. A. Chainey Umphrey, concussion expert practicing at Kaiser Permanente’s Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in San Jose, briefs, “…a concussion is caused by a blow or jolt to the head or body that disrupts the function of the brain.” Dr. Umphrey extends, “that initial symptoms often appear quite mild but can lead to significant and lifelong impairment.”

Concussions are not to take lightly, statistics pulled from the UPMC Sports Medicine Program showed:

  • Unreported or undetected concussions are 5 of 10
  • High-school athletes participating in a contact sport — this year 2 of 10 will endure a concussion

Possible Symptoms

Levels of a concussion vary from the person and how it may develop. Others may notice symptoms immediately or, even, weeks or months later. The Mayo Clinic addresses common concussion symptoms to be aware of during and after a sporting event, some include:

  • Slow to rise after fall
  • Dizziness
  • Light and noise sensitivity
  • Confusion with memory
  • Unstable first few steps after a collision
  • Wandering in the wrong direction or team
  • Needing a constant reminder for things or instructions
  • Change in the mood
  • Challenging to focus

If you or your child notice or mention developing signs of a concussion, always inform a coach, personal trainers, or physician right away. It is valuable to know the symptoms of injuries, not just for self, but for your loved ones or anyone you may know who is involved in any type of physical activity. A parent’s favorite motto, “safety first” and that’s for all aspects of your life.

Staph Infection Prevention

Staph is not the worst infection, but it is a common and unpleasant one to develop. Staph can be easily spread amongst patients and employees in and between hospitals, clinics, and other health care facilities.

Risks

Staph infection comes from the bacteria strand, staphylococcus. Staph is an infection that affects the skin; the majority of the times it causes no severe problems and is considered a minor condition. It was documented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “more than 119,000 bloodstream staph infections occurred in 2017”. So, it is still important to seek treatment when the first symptoms are noticed. When staph is developed over time, it could result in severe complications once the infection penetrates deeper into your body.

Common symptoms vary from skin rashes, redness, or blisters on the skin. As infection prolongs, you may develop fevers, chills, diarrhea or even vomiting.

Treatment for staph is by doctor prescribed antibiotics.

Prevention. If you ever had a Staph infection, reoccurrences, or never want to experience it, here are some helpful prevention tips to practice.

  1. Clean hands at all times. Wash hands before eating, after using the restroom, and keep hand-sanitizer with you or at your desk.
  2. Keep open wounds clean, dry, and covered to prevent spreading infections to others and to other parts of your body.
  3. Try not to share. To prevent germ exchange, avoid sharing food, drinks, and any personal items.
  4. Clean your linen and towels in warm to hot water to kill germs.
  5. For health care facilities, CDC encourages practice in keeping all medical devices sterile before placing them into patients’ bodies.
  6. Contact precautions include proper disposal and renewing of patient-care equipment and protective wear—gloves and gowns.
  7. Make a habit of disinfecting your home, workplace, or any rooms you encounter.
Running apps

Every Shoe Has A Purpose

Biofoot-me states that “We must, therefore, wear comfortable footwear suitable for every occasion.” However, Shoes are built and worn specifically for every occasion. You wouldn’t want to run on a treadmill in vans or wear sneakers with a suit and tie. You must wear shoes that will provide the best functionality.

If you are someone who walks a lot, you should consider buying shoes that support your arch and back. Avoid wearing shoes that have a flat bottom like vans or converse. Look into shoes that have the appropriate sole that will ease your walks. Shoes like crocs, sketchers, or new balance are fantastic due to having a good sole, well-rounded build, and comfortability. Spectrum foot clinics gave an insight on crocs stating “They offer good arch support, but also have very cushioned insoles, making them a very comfortable choice for people experiencing this kind of pain.” They’re also cost-friendly, with shoes and crocs ranging from $30-$60.

Like most jobs, you are usually seated and not doing much walking or standing. This can give you some flexibility on what type of shoes to wear. You can wear classic flat bottoms, sandals, dress shoes, heels or athletic footwear. However, make sure that you fall in line with dress codes that your employers have set.

If you’re a physical therapist, trainer, or coach, it’s recommended to wear shoes that will be best suited for physical activities. Look into running shoes that have ridges at the bottom. These ridges help increase balance and grip for when you walk, run, and jump. Running shoes will not only bring out the most of physical activities but can bring out the most out of your wallet. Athletic shoes can be expensive, so be ready to commit to a hefty price tag. However, it will pay off in the long run.

Construction and warehouse workers must wear shoes that provide a sturdy base and padded protection. Look into shoes that have a strong cushion in the interior. This can help soften and ease the load on your feet when lifting or pushing objects. Also, look into lightweight work boots. A heavy shoe can increase pain at your ankles and bottom of your feet. Check out your local retailer to see which work boot would be economical.

If you’re unable to purchase a pair of shoes, you could look sole inserts. A sole insert can fit into almost any type of shoe and can make one of the most uncomfortable shoes feel like you have pillows on your feet.  If you have really flat feet, and I mean almost parallel to the floor just like me, visit your local doctor. Have your feet examined and listen to their expert opinion on what type of soles you should purchase.

Shoes come in various shapes and sizes but serve the same purpose. Make sure to buy the right shoes for your feet as it brings health a long way.

 

Written by, Julien Gonzalez

Beat the Heat

With 2019 becoming one of the hottest years so far as January through March ranked as the third hottest YTD on record according to NOAA.gov, it has forced many people to stay inside rather than enjoy the beautiful days outside. If you were to go outside for a long period of time, it could have significant t effects on your body and health. Here are some ways you can beat the heat.

Drink plenty of water – It is said to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day according to Healthline. The harsh environments during the summer switch the narrative from recommended requiring. Make sure to drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated and refreshed.

Avoid dark colors – Black colored clothing absorbs more heat from the sun than white. Before you make your trip outside, be wary of the colors you wear. Darker colors tend to make your body warmer than usual.

Avoid sodas/energy drinks/alcohol – According to an insider, “alcohol is a diuretic, which makes the body lose fluids by making you have to go the bathroom more often.” Coffee, energy drinks, and sodas all fall under as a diuretic. High sugar content associated with these drinks also prevents your body from absorbing the water it needs.

Bring a water bottle – Make it a habit to bring your own reusable water bottle. This will ensure you to have water at your hands at all times and help reach your daily consumption of eight 8-ounces a day. You can find tumblers for as cheap as five to ten dollars.

Apply sunscreen – If you plan on staying outside for a long period of time, then you should consider applying some sunscreen. Sunscreen is used to prevent your skin from heating up and sunburns. If you plan to walk your dog or workout at the neighborhood park, it might be a good idea to rub some sunscreen.

AC – Make sure the ac units in your car and home are up to date. Check the maintenance and all parts are functional. Add free- on to make sure you’re getting the coldest air possible. The heat can be so overwhelming, that it will cause your AC units to blow hot air or force your unit to work harder than usual. Keep it a priority to check up on your AC during hot times.

Limit your time outside – It’s difficult to stay indoors on a beautiful day, but the longer you stay outside in high temperatures increases the likelihood of suffering a heat stroke. Heat strokes include dizziness, headaches, and rapid pulse. According to Medicine Health “Confusion, hallucinations, seizures, loss of consciousness, organ damage, coma, and death can occur if not treated quickly and effectively.” the same can go for younger kids and pets. Make sure to regulate their time outside as they have a higher risk to obtain symptoms of heatstroke. Take a look at our Heat stress blog that will further inform you about heat-related symptoms.

Park under the shade/garage – When driving to a convenient store; park in spots that have shade. This will prevent the car from getting too hot or overheating when you’re at the store for long hours. If you have a garage, take advantage of it. Leaving your car with the blistering sun pounding on it can ruin paint and any objects left in your car.

It’s hot and you know your body better than anyone. Always pay attention to what your body is signaling to you so you won’t have to suffer from any heat like symptoms.

Benefits of a Good Chair

Whether you’re at work or home, you usually spend at least eight or more hours sitting down and you begin to realize that your legs or back begin to feel uncomfortable. Chairs are one of the main pieces of furniture that you use daily and it’s important to choose the right chair for you. Here are some reasons why you should invest in a good chair:

  • Health benefits – Owning a good office chair can have many benefits, one of the most important one is your health. A high end office chair can solve the problems of back, leg, and rear pain. Apartment therapy states “a good office chair provides proper lumbar and pelvic support which results in your back muscles being less stressed.” You should never ignore the screams your body has been telling you. By buying a quality office chair, your health issues will be solved.
  • Durability – The common saying of “you get more for what you pay” doesn’t always apply to everything, but you should consider for a chair. The more expensive the chair, chances are that it can last you for a long time. A well rounded chair can last for ten years or more and still provide the proper lumber for you back, legs, and rear. A chair is meant to be seated on for long hours, and if it is on the verge of collapsing, then you have the wrong seat. You’ll actually save more money owning a long lasting chair compared to a cheaper one due to the possibility of last only a few years. Consider the wear and tear you put in, and buy a durable chair that will last for a long time.
  • Increase productivity – You may be thinking that end of the day a chair is a chair, but did you know that it can actually improve your productivity at work? According to the 3 Benefits Of, “a workplace equipped with office task chairs for everyone experiences an average 17% increase in productivity.” The more comfortable you are will ensure less distraction from any type of pain. Focusing on your task is important. After all a chair is a chair at the end of the day. However if you can buy the right one for you, then your work will reflect.
  • Posture – One thing for certain is that when you own a bad chair, your body is going to act just as bad. Habits like slouching or leaning can be the result of owning a decent chair. The potential of having bad posture can result in “serious blood flow issues and potentially damaging spinal tension after just 20 minutes of sitting in a poor posture.” stated by Inc. Better posture also helps your appearance stand out and makes you look determined and confident. No one wants to see a sloth at work, so if you invest on a quality chair, you just might be able to get the raise you deserve. 

Good chairs these days aren’t cheap, but you don’t have to break your bank either. Spend your money where you spend your time. Before you know it, a single piece of furniture will be able to accommodate for many things. Always do you research and buy the chair that will best for you.

*Pictured chairs are not a recommendation or endorsement

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

Implementing a Culture of Safety in the Workplace

Creating and maintaining a safe work environment should be a high priority for organizations. Implementing and maintaining a safety program in your work environment can be daunting, but it is absolutely necessary. These programs are designed to make employees aware of what is going on around them in their work environment to keep them safe and healthy.

A safe workplace helps to minimize sick leaves and absenteeism, reduce the costs of injury and worker’s compensation, maximize productivity, and most importantly meet legal responsibilities and employee obligations. Below are important steps to take in order to ensure a safe workplace and promote a strong safety culture.

  • Provide visual aids. Areas, where dangerous equipment is stored, should be clearly labeled and the walkways should be highlighted with necessary signs.
  • Make sure that all employees are properly trained. The organization must provide all workers with safety training using the language they can understand. This training should be given to all new employees, with refresher courses required for existing workers or when workers switch positions within the company.
  • Ensure employees have the proper equipment. When worn correctly, protective gear can dramatically decrease your risk of injury.
  • Host monthly safety meetings. Establish a workplace health and safety committee made up of employees from different departments. The committee should meet at least once a month and keep employees and senior management informed about safety topics, inspections, injury and illness statistics, and other safety-related issues.
  • Implement emergency procedures.
  • Make new employees understand workplace risks. They need to be aware of possible general risks (fire, flood, or other natural disasters), risks that are specific to their position in the company, and a plan of action in case of an emergency.
  • Take regular breaks. Staying alert will help prevent an injury or other health conditions. Instead of scheduling more strenuous tasks in the middle of the day, do them first thing in the morning (if possible) when you are the most alert.
  • Address any concerns with your employer or Human Resources department. They need to be informed of any hazards or risks and are legally obligated to provide a safe working environment.
  • Instead of trying to lift a heavy object yourself, use mechanical aids when needed. Don’t overexert yourself.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Every job has imminent dangers, whether you are working at a place that has heavy machinery or even tripping over small items in your office. The best way to be safe is to know what’s going on around you. The more familiar you are with your settings, the more aware you’ll be of the potential hazards. Knowing your surroundings and being aware of potential hazards will help you and your colleagues avoid dangerous situations.
  • Keep emergency exits clear. Never, under any circumstance, place any object in front of an emergency exit, even if it’s only for a few minutes. Ensure that the pathway to the emergency shutoff is clear in the case that something needs to be powered down immediately.

If you believe working conditions are unsafe or unhealthy, you may file a confidential complaint with OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and ask for an inspection. If possible, bring the conditions to your employer’s attention.

As regulated by OSHA and under federal law, you are entitled to a safe workplace. Your employer must provide a workplace free of unknown health and safety hazards. If you are concerned, you have the right to speak up without fear of retaliation.

 

Written by Dami Falade

Pollution and its Long-Term Effect on the Body

Pollution from the environment may be making you sick! Air pollution is difficult to escape. Most air pollution is caused by people – in the form of cars, planes, wildfires, cigarette smoke, or even using a wood stove to cook.

Air pollution is a mixture of natural and artificial sources in the air we breathe. Outdoor air pollution includes tobacco smoke and gases such as sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide. Indoor air pollution can include tobacco smoke and carbon monoxide as well, but also include chemicals from household cleaning products and asbestos.

High levels of air pollution can cause added stress to the heart and lungs and can damage cells in the respiratory system. The impact of how bad you can be affected by air pollution depends heavily on your current health status, the pollutant type, and how long you are exposed to air pollution.

Those who are more vulnerable to severe health problems as a result of air pollution are individuals who have heart disease, individuals who work outside, athletes who exercise outside, and pregnant women. Short-term effects of air pollution include temporary illnesses such as pneumonia or bronchitis.  People who develop these illnesses often have headaches, illnesses, and irritation to the nose, eyes, skin, or throat.

Long-term effects of air pollution can last for years or even for an entire lifetime. Long term effects of air pollution can cause heart disease, lung cancer, and diseases that directly affect the respiratory system, such as emphysema.

Indoor air pollution can be lessened by making sure that a building is cleaned on a regular basis and well ventilated, in order to prevent harmful agents such as dust and mold from spreading. Try to reduce outdoor air pollution by taking public transportation or riding a bike instead of driving a car, avoiding heavy traffic if possible, avoiding secondhand smoke from cigarettes, or even cutting down if you are someone who does smoke cigarettes. If you feel that you are experiencing serious symptoms such as shortness of breath or chest pains, you need to seek medical attention immediately.

 

Written by Dami Falade