Media reports about an emerging pandemic are in the news every day. Whether it’s avian flu, swine flu, or something else entirely, people are concerned about their health and the well-being of their families.
If you work in a profession that requires physical activity or that is physically demanding, your risk could be higher if a pandemic happens. For example, if you work in a hospital, nursing home, or assisted living community, your risk could be much higher than other people because of the number of sick people around you.
In situations when many people have fallen ill with an illness that’s not recognized yet by medical professionals, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) generally recommends that people in these professions stay home from work.
It’s hard to go against the recommendations of the CDC, but many people feel that they should not leave their jobs because they want to provide for their families and continue with their lives as normal.
If you’re in a situation like this and you’re wondering how you can balance your work and family life, here are a few suggestions.
1. Educate yourself about the virus or illness that’s causing people to get sick before you take any other steps. Try to find information from experts in the field because facts about viruses and illnesses change quickly as medical professionals become better informed.
2. Talk with your family about the pandemic and the illness. Discuss whether your family thinks it would be wise for you to stay home from work.
3. If you go to work, wear a mask or a hand covering of some sort while you’re at work, especially if there are people getting sick around you. This will help reduce the spread of the illness to your family and you. You can get more information on how to do this from your doctor or go online to look for more specific information about what type of mask and how often it needs to be replaced.
4. If you cannot afford to stay home from work, try to take some precautions when you get home. These might include wearing a mask when you’re around your family and washing your hands frequently.
5. If you’re not feeling well, see your doctor right away and get a medical clearance before going back to work or continuing to go about the normal activities of daily life.
Since a pandemic is a global risk, there’s no way to know when one will happen or how many people it will reach. With the right precautions, however, you can protect your family and still go to work.