Dealing with the flu or a cold is awful when you’re cooped up in the truck instead of at home in your comfy bed. Truck drivers rarely have the opportunity to call in sick or take the day off while dealing with your cold and flu symptoms. There are things you can do to help deal with your symptoms.
What to do When You’re Ill While on the Road
Communication is key – talk to your dispatch. When our symptoms are at their worst, so are we. Fatigue, weakness and a general lack of concentration are common symptoms. You may not be able to perform all of your regular daily duties, and depending on the severity of these symptoms, you may not be fit to drive. Safety is our number one concern. Your dispatch should be made aware, at the earliest time possible, that you’re not 100% and may be delayed.
Plan on shutting down early. Generally, when we are sick we feel worse as the day progresses and as the sun goes down. All we want to do is curl up in a ball and die. There are a few key reasons for our symptoms getting worse. One, during the day we have a lot of distractions and less time to focus on how crummy we feel. When night hits and we no longer have to deal with heavy traffic, deliveries, shippers/receivers, and the rest of our long daily task list – we have more time to focus on your symptoms. Second, our immune system goes into overdrive at night and while we have to respect that it is healing us, it will make our symptoms worse in the process. The fever, mucus, and other symptoms are our bodies fighting the virus. Getting as much rest as possible will help us heal faster. Plan on shorter days when you are sick so that you can get some much-needed rest.
Turn up the heat and we mean more than the thermostat. Mothers all over the world have known this for years, chicken soup and hot tea can ease our symptoms. Why? As the warmth moves down our throat it helps loosen mucus, making it easier to cough up, also as we lean in to take a sip of these warm beverages the steam we breathe-in helps loosen the mucus in our sinuses, therefore, making it easier to blow our nose. Taking a hot shower will help in the same way, it will also help with those aches and pains.
Stay hydrated. We all know about the rule to drink plenty of fluids when we have the flu, but did you know the same rule applies for a cold? Drinking plenty of fluids, water or fruit juice, will keep our body hydrated.
Fun body fact: when your body produces mucus it uses up your body’s moisture. Getting extra fluids will thin out mucus and make it easier to blow or cough out. Limit the amount of caffeine and alcohol you consume while sick, as they can be dehydrating.
Know the Symptoms
It may be hard to determine if you are suffering from a cold or the flu because the symptoms are very similar.
Regardless of what you have, it is important to take care of yourself so that you can recover and prevent complications from occurring. Cold and flu symptoms are generally over within 7 to 10 days, if not sooner unless a complication develops.
If your symptoms are severe or aren’t getting better after a week, or if you have a fever for more than 3 days, see a doctor. See a doctor right away if you have any of these symptoms: difficulty breathing, persistent fever, vomiting or inability to keep fluids down, painful swallowing, persistent coughing, or persistent congestion and headaches.