Warning--Pink eye is highly contagious. Please wash your hands thoroughly after reading this post!
Pink eye is an infection that settles in the eye and turns it a lovely shade of pink, hence the clever name. Even though all four of my kids have had it at one time or another, I've managed to avoid it all these many years....until this week. I thought it was a "kid's disease" but apparently not. Besides looking like a bunny rabbit, and hurting like the dickens, one of the effects of this thing is that you can't see. The infection causes your eyes to secrete an almost clear liquid. The key word there is "almost". When the stuff builds up in your eye, you can almost see through it, but not quite.
Tuesday and yesterday, I guess you could say I had pink eye (singular). That was bad but at least I could see out of one eye. This morning I was greeted with the plural version (pink eyes?). As the liquid comes and goes I can sometimes see out of one eye, sometimes out of both eyes, but most of the time I can't see squat. So, please forgive any typos or strange word choices.
I mention this malady, not to solicit a flood of get well wishes, but to hopefully help you avoid a similar fate. It's the fourth quarter; the busiest time of the year for most of us both professionally and personally. None fof us can afford the time to be sick. It's the time when taking care of ourselves is most important and often overlooked. Scarfing down a fast food burger and fries at our desk may seem like a good idea at the time, but in the long run it just doesn't pay.
According to this article from WebMD.com, "The most important thing you can do for your immune system is to achieve lifestyle balance and adopt the fundamentals of healthy living. This will give your immune system what it needs to function at optimal capacity,"
Here are some tips:
- Avoid stress. It's not easy, but it's important.
- Get plenty of sleep...seven to eight hours per night. Letterman and Leno are reruns anyway.
- Have a healthy support system including lots of hugs and handshakes. Really.
- MODERATE alcohol use. Note the word "moderate". It has the same effect as a hug.
- MODERATE exercise. Again "moderate" is the key. Wearing yourself out is counterproductive when it comes to avoiding diseases.
- Chicken soup. It's not an old wives' tale. It really works. So do mushrooms. Also a diet "low in red meat and high in fish, fruits, and vegetables, particularly blueberries and broccoli", according to WebMD.
- Listen to your favorite music.
All of these things increase your IGA, which is a protein that helps your body fight infections.
Finally, your immune system doesn't have to get involved at all if you avoid the germs in the first place. I know that's easier said than done, especially in the retail business at Christmastime. But you can take some proactive steps. Use a germ-killing spray cleaner on all of the surfaces you touch during the day. Spray counters, door handles, sample products, and other surfaces frequently.
Also, keep bottles of waterless hand sanitizer at every check-out and every work station and use the stuff constantly, especially after you've been handling merchandise or money. I picked up this eye infection somewhere and it was most likely from touching something that had been touched by someone else who had the virus and then touching my mouth, nose, or eyes.
Keep your holiday season happy and productive by taking good care of yourself and make sure your staff does, too. They'll thank you. Your family will thank you, and your customers will thank you.