Need advice from you night-owls

  1. Hello everyone, I need some advice on how to stay healthy!!!
    I graduated from nursing school in May of 2001, and after completing the critical care internship on day shift I began nights and evenings in December. Since I've gone to nights I am SO SICK, all the time!!! In December/January I fought bronchitis for a month, on Valentines day got a helluva cold (thought it was the flu), and now I have an upper respiratory infection--on antibiotics again! It seems like I feel completely good for less than a week before I am hit with a new illness.
    I have two small children at home, I know they bring bugs home, but it was never like this before. Some have told me that it is because I work nights and my body isn't used to staying up--that makes sense to me, but how long is this going to go on??? I am missing work left and right (all with Dr.'s orders, of course)--and being a new grad in the ICU is hard enough without getting a reputation as a frequent call-in person. I eat a good diet, go to the gym regularly, and I try my best to get adequate rest (but for a mother that is pretty near impossible). I also use standard precautions at work, always wear my gloves and wash my hands, yada yada.
    I was just wondering if those of you who work nights had the same problem when you started, and if there is anything in particular you do to ward off the germs. I worked in a hospital prior to being a nurse, so the environment is not new, and I didnt' have this problem on days. My doctor suggested increasing my vitamin C intake. I will try it. Does anyone else have any suggestions--other than going back to day shift. I can't afford to lose the shift diff, and even if I could there are no day positions available--that's how it is when you are a newbie.

    Thanks for any suggestions!!
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  2. 7 Comments

  3. by   night owl
    I am a night owl and have had my share of colds, flus, URIs, but I work with this lady who NEVER and I mean NEVER gets sick at all, and she is in her 70's! her secret? She has a maid and a cook, (she's married to a doc) she makes sure she gets 12 hours of sleep every night, plus she drinks this chinese tea with little red berries in it ALL NIGHT LONG! When she does give off a little tiny cough, everyone kids her and says, "Gosh, I hope you're not getting sick!" and of course she doesn't.
    For me, well, get as much sleep as you can, take vitamins and hope for the best...Good luck!
  4. by   betts
    http://ky.essortment.com/workingnightss_rfyj.htm

    This site isn't only informative but worked.
  5. by   canoehead
    When I have cold symptoms coming on I gargle with listerine tid and usually can head it off.
  6. by   GreytNurse
    (that's a yawn)........

    Hi all, so far, I'm doing great on nights.....new facility with only 4 pts......but I know it will change. My schedule includes days and evenings, so my sleep schedule is crazy, but I do the following:

    1. put cardboard/foil/dark curtians over window
    2. ear plugs...........these are a must!
    3. wear one of those cute little sleep masks.......
    4. put a blanket at the bottom of my door to mask out extra noise
    5. Threaten to do 'great bodily harm' to anyone who wakes me up before a certian time....
    6. UN-PLUG THE PHONE!!!!!!

    I also take the following: Vit. C/ Zinc/ Valerian to help w/ sleep (melatonin is good too) Drink plenty of H2O.
    I also use a small fan to keep air circulated and it helps with extra noise as well.
    I'll be going to days in a couple of weeks as new ADON. I'm actually enjoying nights since I hate to get up at 4am, but that's the life of a nurse, right??
    Anyway, I wish you the best. Take extra care of yourself and really try to end the freq. call-offs.......we nurses don't like it when it happens, especially when you have to stay and pull a double because the next shift nurse called off........again.
    Take care:kiss
  7. by   nurseleigh
    Some people just aren't cut for Night shift work. On the other side, some aren't cut out for day shift either. I would be the latter. I had the same syptoms you are when i worked day shift. I now know that i am a night person.

    All the sleeping aids and advice in the world does absolutely NO GOOD when you have two small kids!!!!! I know, I have a 2 year old and a 5 year old. Even with my husband home(the days he is) I don't get very much sleep because my kids are home.

    By the way, when i did work day shift, it took about 2-3 months before i got used to the schedule and the colds and other illnesses stopped.

    but this is just my experience, everyone is different.

    Traci
  8. by   RNinMay
    One thing I haven't been doing is unplugging the phone. That's because my kids are at kindergarten and preschool. But I think I am just going to have my friend be the one they call in an emergency, and she can call my cellphone if she has to.
    Sleeping during the day is no problem for me (until school is out!), because our bedroom is a converted garage that still has no windows--we call it the bat cave. I wasn't crazy about it when we bought the house, but now that I am on nights I love it.

    I think I just have to wait for my body to adjust, and to remember that I am not superwoman. I can't be with my kids all the time if I have to work that night. I have to let go of the guilt, and the control, and just let my hubby handle things. Not easy, but it's just something I have to do! Wish me luck!
  9. by   RNinMay
    One thing I haven't been doing is unplugging the phone. That's because my kids are at kindergarten and preschool. But I think I am just going to have my friend be the one they call in an emergency, and she can call my cellphone if she has to.
    Sleeping during the day is no problem for me (until school is out!), because our bedroom is a converted garage that still has no windows--we call it the bat cave. I wasn't crazy about it when we bought the house, but now that I am on nights I love it.

    I think I just have to wait for my body to adjust, and to remember that I am not superwoman. I can't be with my kids all the time if I have to work that night. I have to let go of the guilt, and the control, and just let my hubby handle things. Not easy, but it's just something I have to do! My supervisor also asked me to pick up more 3-11s than 7p-7as, so that should help me stay on the same schedule more often. Wish me luck!

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