It’s that time of year. Cold and virus season where there are more bugs floating around than ants at a picnic.

Or aunts at a family reunion picnic. (I just remembered the time that my aunt threw a baked chicken at a bee at our family reunion. Never knew that dead chickens could fly!) But where was I? Oh yes, it’s the time when we all bring in germs to our vulnerable, immunocompromised residents. What I don’t get is those that fuss and act like the world is ending when we ask them to adhere to strict hand hygiene procedures, good cough and sneeze etiquette, and participation in FREE flu clinics.

Come on, people. We work in healthcare with the oath to protect the people we CARE for. So stop that whining and do what’s right. Sanitize those hands when you walk in the building (see that big container of hand sanitizer by all doors?), sanitize those hands between residents, procedures, etc.

Sneeze and cough into the inside of your elbow; NOT your hands. Last year I was walking into a building as an employee was exiting and the dude literally gave a big wet sneeze into his hands then opened the door. I was like, “Gross, go back in, wash your hands, get a sani-wipe, wipe off the doorknob while I stand here making sure no one touches it.”

Needless to say, he acted like I asked him to vertically climb the fiery heights of Mount Doom while piggybacking a Hobbit.

And I know I am going to get a ton of flak here, but please, unless it’s medically contraindicated or for a religious reason, get your flu shot. We need to try to not bring the flu in with us and protect our residents and co-workers, (I know how much you all love working short, right???)

The flu shot will not always prevent you from getting the flu, but it will help prevent a lot of complications from the flu-like pneumonia. And remember: The flu shot won’t stop you from getting all the other viruses out there so make sure you take good care of yourself. Eat right, get as much sleep as your overworked body can, distress, etc.  

So fight those bugs — and no throwing chickens. 

Take care of each other!

Just keeping it real,

Nurse Jackie

The Real Nurse Jackie is written by Jacqueline Vance, RNC, CDONA/LTC, an APEX Award of Excellence winner for Blog Writing. Vance is a real life long-term care nurse. A nationally respected nurse educator and past national LTC Nurse Administrator of the Year, she also is an accomplished stand-up comedienne. She has not starred in her own national television series — yet. The opinions supplied here are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of her employer or her professional affiliates.