Monday, November 10, 2014

Sick Day

Sad Pumpkin
I already missed a day of work. I was supposed to work an extra shift on Halloween and I wound up at home vomiting instead. Holidays and parties are big deals for recreation programs with a lot of extra work so my not going will have been a problem to my co-workers. Besides-- I wanted to go! The staff and residents could dress in costumes, and we had decorations, cake and treats to give out. There was a pumpkin carving contest,  a musician performing, and a bake sale with the proceeds going to the Alzheimer's association and that all sounded very exciting to me. It is a larger event with the residents families and our community invited to share in the fun.

One of the issues with working in places with a larger group of people.. is that you get exposed to a whole lot of different infectious organisms. So many residents, staff, and visitors all in one place and in closer physical contact increase your risk of picking something nasty up.  There are several categories of how disease is spread. It can be via what you are eating or drinking, by touching contaminated surfaces, by touching someone or some animal who is infected or by breathing in air that is contaminated. All the different types of microorganisms have their own particular needs for spreading and what they need to multiply.

In fall we aggravate some of the issues by closing windows and turning on forced air heating systems that circulate air from one area to another. Even with good filters the risk of air born infections increases.  People let me yell here; BEING COLD does not actually cause colds despite the common belief. Colds are caused by viruses. Period. Now being cold makes you huddle together with other people who might be infected. Being very cold can be a stress on your system and make your immune system more stressed and therefore less able to fight away that virus. Being sick with something else, being exhausted, being malnourished or on certain medications can mess with your immune system big time.

Where things get really serious is that infections can be devastating to people who have compromised immune systems. It is a real danger to so many residents of nursing homes.  There is a huge amount of effort put into sanitation efforts and other methods of preventing the spread of infections but the fact is people sneeze and cough. Visitors might not even realize they are getting sick and could still be contagious.

What can you do? Wash your hands. Use hand sanitizers.  Eat nutritious foods.  Get plenty of rest and basically try to live as healthy a life as possible.

And--- if  you are sick don't share your germs. Stay home and get better, even if it means missing the Halloween party.

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