This year, flu activity is widespread in every state, and hospitals are struggling to keep up. According to Time, some hospitals in hard-hit states like California have set up “surge tents” to accommodate flu patients, cancelled elective surgeries, and asked healthcare providers to work longer shifts.
Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believe the epidemic is about to peak, it’s still too soon to tell. With many weeks of flu season still ahead, it’s important for healthcare professionals to practice good coping skills as they continue to provide patient care. So, how can you stay healthy and cope during flu season?
- Get vaccinated: We know we’re probably preaching to the choir here, but most healthcare professionals get the flu vaccine for a good reason — it’s still the best way to prevent getting the flu. Even if you do get the flu after being vaccinated, studies have found that the vaccine can reduce the severity and duration of your illness.
- Continue to educate your patients: Despite all the benefits associated with the flu vaccine, many people in the U.S. don’t get one. As a medical professional, you can educate your patients about the importance of herd immunity and help them make informed healthcare decisions. The CDC suggests using the acronym SHARE when talking to your patients about the flu vaccine.
- Follow CDC guidelines: The CDC also strongly recommends that all healthcare providers wash their hands regularly and wear a face mask while treating those with known cases of flu. While these guidelines seem like a no-brainer, it’s not always easy to remember, especially when you’ve been working longer hours to accommodate a heavy patient load.
- Practice mindfulness: That being said, this time of year can be particularly stressful for caregivers, so carve out some time for yourself. Go for a walk in the park, read a book, or spend some time with friends and family whenever possible. Not a lot of free time on your hands? Sometimes, even taking a quick 10-minute break when needed can be beneficial. Don’t forget that a healthy diet and plenty of sleep can also go a long way to helping you stay fit.
Is there something missing from this list? Let us know how you cope during the flu season in the comments below!