With increased healthcare challenges during winter, medical assistants need to lead by example.
Based on an article by Jill Carlson, RMA(AMT) from the AMT Pulse.
As a medical assistant, I’m sure you’re aware of the joys and challenges that come with the winter season. While it can be a time of snow days and outdoor activities, it also brings an increased risk of illnesses and injuries due to colder temperatures and a change in weather.
What are some healthcare challenges that become more prominent during wintertime, and how can we, as medical assistants, actively promote disease and injury prevention while also practicing self-care?
Winter is the peak of flu season, and every year, influenza rates spike during winter months. Additionally, various viral infections become more prevalent as people spend more time indoors, and viruses spread easily in close quarters. This spike in respiratory illnesses, especially respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), does not just happen in colder climates but also in states with milder climates, such as Florida and Arizona.
As medical assistants, it is crucial that we lead by example. We should encourage hand hygiene among our colleagues and patients, promote the routine use of hand sanitizers and disinfectants, emphasize proper cooking of foods to prevent foodborne illnesses, and remember the importance that sleep plays in a properly functioning immune system.
To reduce transmission, we should also remind our patients, coworkers and family members to limit their contact with others when they’re sick or suspect they have the flu or another illness.
Heavy Snow and Snow Removal
While snow days can be fun, heavy snowfall presents health risks if it’s not approached with caution. Shoveling heavy snow can strain the cardiovascular system, increasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Shoveling raises a person’s blood pressure, and the cold air constricts blood vessels, potentially leading to severe cardiac problems.
As a medical assistant, it’s essential to spread awareness about safe snow removal. We should encourage people to pace themselves, take frequent breaks indoors and recognize the signs of heart distress while shoveling. Prioritizing heart health during snow removal is essential to ensure everyone’s safety.
It is also important to ensure that our healthcare facilities have clear walkways for patients and staff.
Temperature Drops and Icy Paths
The decreasing temperatures in winter pose various health risks if individuals do not dress appropriately and plan accordingly.
Medical assistants can play a role in educating patients and the community about staying safe in cold weather. We should emphasize the importance of wearing multiple layers when going outside in freezing temperatures to prevent hypothermia and frostbite. We should also recommend the use of winter boots designed for icy conditions and advise caution when on icy walkways to reduce the risk of slipand- fall injuries.
In our role as medical assistants, we must remember that self-care is equally important. We should ensure we practice what we preach by dressing warmly, wearing appropriate footwear and maintaining good personal hygiene to stay as healthy as possible during the winter season.
By addressing healthcare challenges and promoting self-care, we can contribute to a safer winter for everybody.