The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that between 5% to 20% of all Americans get the flu each year. But you don’t have to be one of them.
As an escort, you can’t afford to get the flu
Not only would the flu make you sick enough you would have difficulty seeing clients, but you have an obligation to avoid exposing your clients to the flu. Not being able to work for a week to 10 days because you’re down with the flu can cause quite a hole in your pocketbook, as escorts have no sick days.
But this doesn’t have to happen to you this year. If you play your cards right, you might be one of the few escorts who stay healthy all year long just by following these simple tips:
- Take common precautions. Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough. If you cover yourself with a tissue, dispose of it immediately, instead of reusing it over and over again. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water repeatedly throughout the day. Wash them for the time it takes you to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice. If soap and water are unavailable, rub your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub. (It should be at least 60 percent alcohol.) Avoid touching your nose, eyes or mouth throughout the day with your hands. Your hands pick up germs from phones, door handles, keyboards and other surfaces that you touch during any given day. When you touch your hands to your face (bite your nails, rub your eyes or pick your nose), you are directly transferring any germs from your hands directly to your face. Also, avoid spending time with other sick people. If you know that a client has a cold or the flu, refuse to see him until he is well.
- Eat a healthy, nutritious diet. When you’re on the go, it’s sometimes difficult to eat healthy. But, this is the most important time for you to do so. A healthy diet full of fruits, vegetables and lean protein will help boost your immune system, which is essential during the flu season. A healthy diet will help your body to fight infections and ward off illnesses. Eat a diet with plenty of natural vitamins and antioxidants derived from dark green, red and yellow fruits and veggies. Foods high in Vitamins C, A, E and beta-carotene are important elements.
- Exercise regularly. Studies have shown that people who work out regularly for at least 30 minutes per day have fewer colds and flu bugs and, if they do get sick, have less serious symptoms and shorter-lived illnesses. You can choose to walk daily for 30 minutes each day or break it up into three intervals of walking for 10 minutes each. The point is to get up to 30 minutes of exercise daily where your heart rate increases. Exercise helps to build the immune system and enhance its ability to fight off infections and the flu. Plus, exercise certainly helps to keep all aspects of your body functioning healthily, in addition to toning up muscles that make you look great for your clients. (And, it helps you build stamina for extra virile clients, too!)
- Sleep on it. Adults should get between seven to nine hours of sleep nightly. Anything less than that can cause the body to go into sleep deprivation mode, which decreases your immunities and causes other aspects of your body to run more inefficiently, as a result. Plenty of rest helps your body recuperate each night and fortify its process, including your immune system. Sometimes it may be difficult to get the straight eight hours you should when you’re escorting late at night or in the early mornings, but during the flu season, especially, you should try to block out enough time for you to get a daily dose of zzzz’s.
- Don’t sweat over the small stuff. Stress is a big immunity sucker. When your body is stressed, it produces increased cortisone levels, which weaken the immune system and increase chances of heart-related illnesses. Additionally, stress can cause us to make other unhealthy choices such as losing sleep, maintain a healthy diet and consuming alcohol. Reduce your stress as much as possible by adopting a less uptight attitude about life, in general. If that doesn’t work, attempt to de-stress your life as much as possible by becoming better organized, preparing for appointments ahead of time and thinking ahead. If you’re ready for anything life throws at you, life will seem much less stressful over time.
- Don’t smoke. Smoking not only lessens our immune systems because our bodies have to fight off the toxins that are in first-hand cigarette smoke, but also because it directly affects the body’s abilities to fight off infections. When you smoke, the smoke you inhale from your cigarette paralyzes the cilia. Cilia are hair-like cells in your nose and nasal pathways. The cilia help sweep viruses away before they infect the body. If these cilia are paralyzed, they are unable to do their jobs. Additionally, escorts are advised against smoking for many other reasons: it yellows the teeth and fingertips; makes you smell bad; wrinkles your skin; and makes your kisses taste like ashtrays.
- Use tissues instead of a hanky. While tissues can harbor just as many germs and bacteria as a handkerchief, tissues can be readily disposed when you’re done using them. They are intended to be a single-use option. Handkerchiefs are used repeatedly, causing more and more germs to collect.
- Drink less alcohol. According to studies by the American Medical Association, heavy drinkers of alcohol tend to suffer from more cold and flu during the season due to a weakened immune system. Drinkers often lose sleep during their binges and fail to make healthy choices. Additionally, when your body must recover from dehydration and other effects of drinking liquor, your immune system works to combat these symptoms, instead of staying strong and ready to fight off other infections. As alcohol is absorbed, white blood cells have a harder time fighting off disease and infections. Alcohol also combines with red blood cells and causes them to clump together. Smaller blood vessels plug up as a result and reduces the flow of oxygen to vital organs. Your organs and immune system function at less than normal efficiency. Now, this is not to say that you can’t have a drink with a client for fear of harming your immune system. One or two daily drinks will not do enough damage to cause weaknesses in your immunity.
- Stay hydrated. It’s essential to get adequate intake of fluids on a daily basis in order to keep your immune system functioning properly. Drink at least eight glasses of water per day. Water helps to oxygenate your blood and flush toxins from your body. It helps your digestion system so that your body is able to extract the vitamins and nutrients necessary from your food. All in all, water helps keep your body going and working the way it should. Additionally, hydration through humidity and temperature help keep flu virus germs to a minimum. Keep your inside humidity to 50 percent using a humidifier and manage room temperatures so they are at least 69 degrees F. Additionally, when you’re in dryer air (such as hotel rooms, airplane cabins or other locations), use a nasal spray that will moisten nasal membranes. Moist nose pathways help keep bacteria and viruses out.
- Take a daily dose of probiotics. Probiotics are friendly microbes that help boost your immune system by crowding out bad germs. Take three servings daily of probiotics, including: yogurt, aged cheese, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi. If it’s easier for you, take a daily supplement, instead. You should look for a supplement that contains three to five billion CFUs (colony-forming units).
- Disinfect surfaces. When clients come to your incall, they are carrying germs they’ve picked up throughout the course of their days. They touch your door handles and knobs, countertops, faucet handles and many other surfaces in your incall. After each client leaves, disinfect all surfaces with an anti-bacterial cleaner or bleach. Burn candles or use air freshener to disguise the heavy scent of the cleanser.
If you do get the flu, start taking over-the-counter flue remedies within the first day or two. Most doctors indicate that your symptoms will be fewer and your recovery time shorter if you utilize the remedies that you can get at your local pharmacy. Additionally, if you have a temperature exceeding 100.4 degrees F (38 C) and symptoms that are not relieved by over-the-counter remedies for more than 10 days, you should see your physician.
As an escort, you are at a higher risk of getting the flu, just because of the nature of your job. But if you feel clean and strong, there is nothing to worry about.