5 things you can do to avoid the flu this season

Covering your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing can help prevent spreading germs.

Flu season is here, and truck drivers risk being exposed to the virus while on the road.

Influenza (the flu) is a respiratory infection typically spread by air or direct contact from one person to another, according to Prevention. Flu epidemics peak during the winter months, and the flu is highly contagious and spreads quickly.

The following five tips can help truck drivers avoid contracting the flu virus:

1. Get Vaccinated

The Centers for Disease Control recommends that people get vaccinated against flu soon after the vaccine becomes available, preferably by October. It recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against the flu. According to the CDC, it takes about two weeks after vaccinations for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the flu. This year’s vaccine is now available.

2. Maintain Good Hygiene

Wash your hands with warm water and soap after each time you shake hands with someone or touch a surface that may be germ-covered. Regularly disinfect surfaces that you touch and do no touch your mouth, eyes or nose without washing your hands first, according to WebMD. After visiting gas stations and truck stops, take care to follow these steps to avoid the germs that you risk exposure to at such high traffic places.

3. Stay Healthy

According to WebMD, you should keep your immune system in good shape so that it can fight off the flu and other germs to keep you healthy. You should maintain a balanced diet, exercise at least four days a week and get seven to nine hours of sleep at night. If you’re at a loss for what kinds of exercises you can do in your cab, consider these or these.

4. Avoid Close Contact

The CDC says to avoid contact with those who are sick. The flu is highly contagious and close or direct contact with someone who is sick puts you at greater risk for contracting the virus. If you encounter someone sick with the flu while on the road, try to keep them at a distance if possible and sanitize after any contact you may have with them. You don’t need to treat them like they have the bubonic plague, but be mindful of the germs they could share with you and protect your personal space.

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5. Disinfect

Purchase some quality disinfectant such as Lysol or Clorox wipes and keep them stocked. Most truck stops or convenience stores sell disinfectant. Wipe your cab down and consider keeping some with you for when you enter a store or rest area. You may get some odd looks for wiping down the handle on the refrigeration display or the handle to the bathroom stall before you open it, but that’s a small trade off for avoiding the flu.