As humans, we come in contact with millions of potential pathogens on a daily basis. From our smartphones to door handles to using public bathrooms, we can ingest, inhale or touch germs or bacteria at any given moment in our everyday life.
When you’re a medical assistant, your risk for getting sick could go through the roof as you’re working all day with people who are ill in addition to everyday exposures. Whether it’s flu season or a stomach bug is going around, it’s essential that you learn how to take precautions so that you can stay healthy while also helping others heal.
Here are five ways you can stay healthy as a medical assistant:
Take Precautions to Prevent Coming into Contact with Infections or Bacteria
Your first line of defense will be to stay up-to-date with your vaccinations so that you can be free of diseases like measles, flu, and chicken pox. Not only will this keep you healthy, but it will help prevent disease from spreading to your patients and co-workers.
Another way to take precautions while working as a medical assistant is to wear protective equipment. By wearing gloves, eye shields, and a mask while treating an ill patient, you can help prevent yourself from contracting the disease.
Also, be sure to address any concerns you may have about disease prevention at your facility. You and your team can work together to keep your workplace as germ-free as possible.
Get Plenty of Rest
While we typically hear that an average of eight hours of sleep every night is best, the truth is that it depends on the individual person. Depending on your age, health, gender, genes, and other factors, your required amount of nightly sleep can vary from other adults.
However, the one thing that doesn’t vary is that we all need sleep to stay healthy. As a medical assistant, you will have busy days that will require focus and energy. Without adequate sleep, you’ll end up fatigued and experience some lack of mental clarity, which will eventually impact your performance.
In addition to reducing the ability to do your job, sleep deprivation can negatively affect your immune system. You could end up being more susceptible to infectious diseases and a host of other health problems.
Try getting into a routine of winding down at least an hour before you go to bed to help you sleep better. You may also want to avoid electronic devices before bedtime that could interrupt your natural sleep pattern.
Stay Hydrated On & Off the Job
We hear it all the time. Drink at least eight glasses of water a day. Like the required amount of sleep, the amount of water you should drink will vary depending on certain factors.
Experts are now saying that it’s best to drink at least a half an ounce of water for every pound that you weigh. So, if you weigh 120 pounds, you should drink 60 ounces of water every day. Of course, this will vary if you are more active or in warmer temperatures to replace water lost through perspiration.
Drinking enough water will help to keep you healthy as it aids in the removal of toxins and waste in your body. To stay hydrated, drink a glass of water with every meal as well as in between meals, before and after exercise, and keep a filled water bottle with you at all times.
Eat Healthy Meals and Snacks
When we don’t eat right, we don’t get the right nutrients into our body, which means we can’t operate with peak performance. Not getting enough nourishment will also jeopardize your immune system and make you more likely to contract a disease or illness.
Poor nutrition can also cause you to feel fatigued and unable to cope with stress. As a medical assistant, your job requires you to be active and can be stressful at times. If you’re constantly eating meals high in fats, sugars or carbs, or you’re skipping meals, your health will decline.
To stay healthy, remember to eat the required amount of fruits, vegetables, and proteins. Avoid sugary, fatty, or salty foods as much as possible, and eat three meals a day.
Take Time for You During the Day
More often we hear about how our mental and emotional health can impact our physical health. The two are actually much more connected than most realize, which is why taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical body.
Constant stress and fatigue can seriously impact your mental health, which can also lead to a series of issues including depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety. If not taken care of, these mental illnesses can lead to more serious complications such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Taking care of your mental and emotional health means that you need to take care of yourself. Get in the habit of practicing self-care such as taking time to relax, unwind, and de-stress. No one person is the same, but with regular practice, you can figure out what helps you, and that will help you perform your role as a medical assistant with accuracy and efficiency.
If you’re struggling with your mental health or experiencing emotional distress, please speak with a health professional immediately or contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.
Want to learn more about what will be required of you in the medical field? Read our post about the job duties of a medical assistant here.
You can also contact us here or at 856-324-3535 if you have any questions about medical assistant training or the programs we offer at the Delaware Valley Medical Center Institute.