AEHSA Safety Blog

AEHSA is introducing a new blog that will equip you with the essential tools and information you need to navigate the world of occupational health and safety. 

Blog posts can reflect what is being discussed in our AEHSA membership group. Members are able to gain access to a wealth of knowledge, expert advice, practical tips, shared resources, and real-life experiences that bring the community of like minded safety professionals together. 

Stay tuned for upcoming articles! Please leave your comments below!!! 

How to Protect Yourself From Respiratory Illness

The COVID-19 pandemic has raised awareness of controls used to stop the spread of respiratory illness. As government restrictions have relaxed, some workers may ponder what can they do to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses.

During heightened COVID-19 restrictions we experienced different controls for the source of the virus; social distancing, disinfecting protocols, masks, use of sanitizer, etc. These types of controls should be a last resort. If these are a last resort, what should we do to protect ourselves?

It’s simple, but it can be hard to put into practice, live a healthy lifestyle that will boost your immune system.

When we are stressed, not eating well, not exercising, not sleeping well, sooner or later we are going to get sick – especially if we put ourselves into a room with a lot of people.

We need to take time to increase our daily wellness. We need to exercise, eat a well balanced diet, sleep well and reduce stress. If you are interested in why this works and would like more information, please read this article by Harvard Health.

Let’s go back to the controls used to reduce the source of the virus.

In order for any virus to infect you, you need to hit a certain viral load (amount of the virus) before your immune system will be overrun by the virus and you get sick. If we reduce the amount of virus we come into contact with, our immune system should handle the job.

Ideally we want a high immune system paired with a low viral load.

A high viral load paired with a low immune system – is the recipe for us to get sick.

The first thing we can do to minimize viral loads is proper hand washing. Proper handwashing is always preferred over using hand sanitizers.

If we suspect someone is sick, try to minimize the close contact time you spend with that person. You shouldn’t get sick talking with that person for a minute or two. But once we get to about 15 minutes, breathing the same close contact air as that person, the respiratory viral load is high enough for us to get sick.

If you are concerned about being in public and your respiratory health, you can always don a KN95 mask.

In a school environment, we can move around the classroom to minimize time we spend around a student. However it’s not always possible for us to avoid being close to a student. Therefore we need to focus on boosting our immune system. Boosting our immune system should always be our first step to protect ourselves from respiratory illnesses.

~Andrew Benn, AEHSA Director

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