Staying Healthy This Cold And Flu Season

The months of September through March can be brutal on the immune system, and staying healthy can seem impossible. The harsh New England winters can take a real toll on immune health, and being trapped indoors only increases the spread of germs. Working in hospitals and other healthcare facilities only heightens the risk of getting sick. With flu season quickly approaching, here are a few ways to help prevent sickness before it strikes.  

Staying Healthy This Cold and Flue Season

Get Your Flu Shot

As a nurse, you may have even administered flu shots to some of your patients. But what about yourself? When was the last time YOU were vaccinated? In a hospital setting, germs are constantly being spread around. Even if you typically do not get the flu, you can still carry the sickness around with you. If you have younger children or elderly parents at home, they are even more susceptible to the effects of the flu. When it comes to the flu, it is better to be safe than sorry. It is important to keep up with your flu shots, too. Healthcare professionals advise patients to receive one shot a year. October is the best time to receive your vaccination. While the shot may have a lasting effect, different strains of the flu become present every year, which is why it is recommended you get vaccinated yearly. Staying healthy starts with preventative care.   

Get Some Sleep

Sleep is vital to living a healthy life. Not only will you feel better physically, but your body does all sorts of good stuff while you are asleep. Sleep helps to improve your immune health, which can help fight off colds and the flu. Most healthcare professionals recommend that adults get at least eight hours of sleep every night. 

Eat Healthy Foods

Vitamin-rich diets help to fight off viruses. Foods high in vitamin C are especially helpful. Grab yourself an orange before you head out to your next shift, or try incorporating strawberries into your morning breakfast routine. If you are a fan of yogurt, the probiotics do more than just balance out your gut. The probiotics in Greek yogurt can help to fight off flu as well. If you do happen to get sick, yogurt can also help soothe sore throats, too! Eating nutritious foods goes beyond just staying healthy for the winter. Start practicing good health all year long! For tips on healthy food choices, check out our previous blog.

Sanitize, Sanitize, Sanitize

As a nurse, your hands are going to be everywhere. Keep your hands clean with pocket-sized hand sanitizers. Engage in frequent hand washing and encourage others to join you as well. The best way to stop the spread of colds is to kill the germs before they have a chance to infect others. If you work in a facility where many people are sick, take the necessary precautionary measures to keep yourself healthy. Try wearing gloves, or even a face mask if necessary.  

Know the Warning Signs

If you feel yourself coming down with a cold, it is important to take the proper precautionary measures. Preventative care is always important, but sometimes getting sick is inevitable. If you do happen to catch a cold, try to minimize the spread of germs as much as possible. Remember to cover your coughs (and encourage younger kids to do so, too!). If you are sick, make sure you take some time to rest. As a per diem nurse, try to schedule some days off in advance to give yourself a chance to relax. Overworking yourself can lead to immune system deficiencies. Working per diem allows you to have the schedule flexibility to take time off when you need it. Schedule a few days to allow yourself to re-fuel. Your body will thank you (and your coworkers will, too!) 

No one wants to spend their time being sick. As a nurse, it is your job to help people feel better. However, you cannot take care of others if you are not feeling 100% yourself. It is important to take precautionary measures during this cold and flu season.  

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Stay Safe This Fall: Leaf Raking Safety Tips

No matter what time of year, it is always important to practice safety. Here in New England, Summer has officially ended and Fall is here. The air is getting cooler, the days are getting shorter, and the leaves are beginning to fall from the trees. While the tree leaves are beautiful to look at, they can certainly be a pain in the neck (or should I say, back,) to clean up. The following safety tips will help to keep you healthy during your yard clean up this Fall.


  Stay Safe This Fall: Leaf Raking Safety Tips

Clothing Safety: Dress Appropriately

Safety begins before you even leave your house. Prevention of back pain and shoulder injuries begins with dressing appropriately. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes with good arch support. Additionally, try to look for shoes that have a “no-slip” sole on the bottom. When the leaves are wet, they become slippery. These no-slip soles will help to keep you stable while raking. It is also important to keep your skin safe. Wear long sleeves and pants to prevent ticks and other bugs from attaching to bare skin. It is also important to wear gloves when handling the leaves. The gloves will help prevent the hands from getting injured by sharp twigs and branches that may be in the leaf piles. Gloves will also help prevent blisters from forming while using a rake.


Form Safety: Maintain the Proper Stance

After hours of raking, you may begin to feel yourself starting to slouch. While a more relaxed position may feel good in the moment, your body is going to regret it later. Be sure to stand tall, and distribute your weight evenly on your feet. Switch off between your dominant hand and your non-dominant hand to ensure that you are not overworking one side of your body. When lifting heavy bags of leaves, be sure to always lift with your knees while keeping your back straight. This will prevent you from suffering from a back injury while doing yard work.


Body Safety: Know Your Limits

While you may want to try and finish the entire yard in one day, it is best to break up leaf raking over a few days. For example, start on a Saturday, and then finish on a Sunday. When you try to do too much all at once, your body begins to suffer. Your posture will start to slouch, and you may even cause your muscles to strain. When you feel yourself getting tired, take a break. Be sure to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water. When you feel that you cannot do any more, stop for the day and come back to it later. There is no sense in giving yourself a long-term injury for a short-term project.


Cleaning up leaves may seem like a long and difficult task. Many people even try avoid cleaning their yards because so much work is involved. However, with these simple tips, you will be able to clean your yard up safely in no time at all.

To find out how you can become a member of the Northeast Med Staff nursing team, click here.

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5 Superfoods to Power You Through Your Next Shift

A healthy diet is important to staying alert, energized, and focused. However, when you work crazy hours, it’s easy to skimp on meals, order takeout, or go through the drive-thru on the way home. Usually, these options do not provide the nutrients that prolong and sustain energy. You need superfoods that will keep you working hard all shift long.

5 Superfoods to Power You Through Your Next Shift
5 Superfoods to Power You Through Your Next Shift

If you don’t know what superfoods are, they are extremely efficient in providing health benefits to the consumer. This is because they are nutritiously dense. Many vitamins and nutrients are packed into every bite. Superfoods can make you feel ready to tackle your busy schedule, and prevent burnout. Here are a few quick and easy ways to incorporate superfoods into your diet:


Almonds are a great source of calcium and protein, and these nuts are an easy snack to throw in your bag quickly before work. You can even pack them the night before to save you time in the morning (They call that meal prep, right?). These small nuts have enough health benefits to give you a little pick me up when you’re in the middle of a crazy shift.

Snack packs of almonds already come in a convenient serving size package for an easy on the go snack!


Blueberries are great during flu and cold season because they are filled with antioxidants. With their intense flavor and tangible health benefits, blueberries will easily become one of your favorites. Try adding them on top of a spinach salad for a vitamin-packed lunch.


This protein is fantastic for boosting heart and brain health. In addition, salmon can be prepped and cooked quickly, making for a quick, and healthy dinner. Even better, try packing the leftovers for lunch the next day! This recipe is perfect for a hassle-free weeknight meal.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes taste delicious, have great health benefits, and can be cooked in five minutes! Just pop them in the microwave for a quick and tasty side dish that any busy nurse will love. You can also slice them thin, toss them in some olive oil, and bake them. Just sprinkle the slices with salt and pepper after they come out of the oven and you have a healthy potato chip alternative. Sweet potatoes are versatile and can be incorporated into any meal!


This versatile little fruit is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help to keep your cholesterol levels healthy, thus improving overall heart health. Add slices of avocado onto your next sandwich or mash them up and make guacamole. Avocado is a great superfood to incorporate into your meals because it curbs your hunger and provides sustained energy throughout your day!

Making homemade meals or preparing snacks may seem impossible, but by just taking a few extra minutes for self-care, it can huge health payoff.  You are not only improving your health, but also saving money. See you later fast food; hello superfoods!

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