How Truckers Can Stay Healthy on the Road

April 3, 2008

Stay Healthy on the Road

Want to stay healthy on the road? There is one very simple rule to follow. Wash your hands! The constant reminder to folks to wash their hands often goes unremembered or disregarded by many in a hurry and this oversight causes tens of thousands of illnesses every year. In fact many attribute the lack of clean hands to the majority of cases of colds or flu every year.

Colds, flu, diarrhea and a host of other common afflictions and disorders is simply the result of bacteria on our hands that enters our bodies as we rub our eyes, bite fingernails, insert fingers into noses, eat with unwashed hands or otherwise provide opportunities for the germs on our hands to enter our bodies.

It takes about 30 seconds to sanitize our hands. One has to wonder why we risk illness over such a short period of time. Every day, we open and close doors, come in contact with a variety of contaminated surfaces, shake hands with others and touch things that are teeming with bacteria. Did you ever wonder what might be lurking on the steering wheel? It might be advisable to take a disposable sanitizer and give it a ride around the steering wheel every once in a while.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) suggests the following technique for hand washing

  • Wet your hands with warm, running water and apply liquid soap or use clean bar soap. Lather well.
  • Rub your hands vigorously together for at least 15 to 20 seconds.
  • Scrub all surfaces, including the backs of your hands, wrists, between your fingers and under your fingernails.
  • Rinse well.
  • Dry your hands with a paper towel.
  • Use a towel to turn off the faucet.

I'd go one step further especially prior to eating – use the paper towel that you may have dried your hands with to open the restroom door. Sorry – I can't help but think of all those people that use restroom facilities and don't wash their hands.

If water is not available there are many hand sanitizers on the market that will work well. One note of caution, they should contain at least 60% alcohol to be effective.

You don't have to be paranoid about washing your hands, but do be conscientious about this routine hygiene task. It will prevent many common illnesses.

NOTE: I don't know if I have an above average immune system, are amazingly lucky or it is that I am am conscientious about washing my hands, but I haven't had a cold or flu for over 10 years!

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