There is nothing like spending a week away from the office alternating between being sick and caring for sick family members to give you an appreciation for wellness. As I continue to dig out from the mountain of work that piled on my desk in my absence, I can certainly value my wellness a little more than before.
I would actually say that I have taken my wellness for granted. I rarely get sick and when I do it doesn’t usually last for very long or be serious enough to keep me out of the office. I often come in with a cough or a cold and just muddle through it. It’s a practice that I’m not alone in, but one LMU does not promote.
At the height of the H1N1 pandemic a couple years ago, LMU took several steps to protect and prepare its community for a flu outbreak on campus. In addition to the Healthy LMU and You awareness campaign, the University also instituted a flu leave policy that gives employees paid time off for absences related to the flu. It was an effort to encourage sick people to stay home and stop the spread of the flu. Though the threat of a pandemic event had dissipated, LMU has kept the flu leave policy and elements of the award-winning Healthy LMU and You campaign can still be seen around campus. The University also encourages the use of hand sanitizers around the campus, especially in classrooms. Staff and students are encouraged to: wash their hands frequently; use alcohol based hand sanitizers; cover their nose and mouth when they sneeze or cough and stay at home or in their dorm rooms and recuperated until their symptoms have been gone for 24 hours. It all seems like common sense, but these simple steps can keep our community well.
I’m not one to insist on a regular flu shot, but since my daughters were born four years ago, I have tried to do better. A flu shot could not have helped with the bug we passed around most recently, but it does go a long way at keeping illness out of our home. Once again, LMU takes a proactive stance on flu shots. The University Medical Clinic stocks flu shots and makes them available to faculty, staff and students. LMU is home to the DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine, and one of the hallmarks of the osteopathic medical profession is preventive health care. Eating well, exercising, getting plenty of sleep, practicing good hygiene, limiting alcohol consumption and avoiding smoking are all things each of us can do on a daily basis to help maintain our best level of health. Anyone who is sedentary, overweight or abuses drugs, alcohol or tobacco products runs the risk of increasing their changes for serious illness, including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer. Oftentimes taking care of yourself may only take a few minutes out of each day, but it could add years to your life.
We all have to do our part to keep our community well.