How to Stay Healthy as a Trucker: 5 Steps
Whether you're already in the industry or are planning to start a new career, truck driving is one of the most needed professions in the country. Although it is sometimes long hours and plenty of driving, the amount of pay earned is more than enough to offset many of the negatives. Many of these negatives deal with potential health hazards from driving or remaining sedentary.
Here are five tips to help even the most hardcore trucker improve their health or prevent possible hazards while on the road.
1. Avoid “Trucker Food”
If you're in a time crunch, then often you find yourself trying to find a quick bite to eat in order to get back on the road as quickly as possible. However, even fast food chains and diners offer a surprisingly wide array of entrees for the health-conscious trucker. The first step is to order foods without heavy condiments such as “special sauce” or mayo. These items have high levels of fat and add to fatigue. Additionally, chicken is always a better alternative than pork or beef.
One healthy alternative is the Charbroiled Chicken Sandwich with a fruit cup at Chick-Fil-A, which has only 400 calories. For the lover of a “home-cooked” meal, KFC offers grilled chicken with mashed potatoes and corn on the cob, and it has only 460 calories. Above all, remember that salads with a light dressing are always the best way to go.
2. Get a Little Shut-Eye
Because you're paid by the mile, cutting back on sleep is a common habit to make your trip the most profitable. However, sleep deprivation leads to a variety of problems including weight fluctuations, memory loss, immune system deficiency and high blood pressure. It also leads to risks of falling asleep while on the road, which can often lead to an accident. If you do find yourself in an accident, traceylawfirm.com offers some tips on what to do to get the situation under control.
3. Work Out
While you think it might be impossible to have a proper workout while on the road, think again. There are many ways to get exercise you might not have considered. One such way is to put a foldable workout bench in the cab of the truck. With this bench, you can bench press, do curls, or work the triceps.
If you don't have weights, use a full gallon of water. Since it weighs 8.34 pounds, it contains enough resistance to increase the heart rate. Alternatively, just go for a walk at a rest stop or when you get to your destination. You'll feel better and be able to drive longer.
4. Quit Smoking
One of the obvious pitfalls of the trucking industry is smoking. It's an easy way to pass the time and something to do with your hands if you grow tired holding the wheel. The problem with smoking is that it’s addictive and terrible for your health. To make matters worse, you lose track of how many cigarettes you actually smoke while on the road.
For example, if you drive from Denver to Chicago, it's 1,003 miles or 15 hours. If you smoke one cigarette an hour, you've smoked almost an entire pack in one day. If you haven't quit, find an alternative such as gum or even a prescription drug like Chantix. You'll be healthier and have a little extra money in your pocket.
5. Take Breaks
Once again, the deciding factor in taking breaks is that it cuts into your potential profitability. However, it's imperative to take breaks, as you'll be able to focus and break the monotony. You don't have to do it all the time, but pulling over every four to six hours allows you to be more aware of other motorists and be more effective at driving.
It's no surprise that many truckers in the industry are not healthy. It’s very easy to give into poor decisions because they are easy and quick. However, by planning and executing a daily routine, you'll find yourself making better daily decisions. This will lead you to be a better trucker, a healthier person, and in better spirits than you ever were before.
The challenges to vaccine distribution affecting everyone
While it is comforting to know that vaccines against COVID-19 are showing remarkable efficacy, the world still faces intractable challenges with vaccine distribution. Specifically, the sheer number of vaccines required and the complexity of global supply chains are sure to present problems we have neither experienced nor even imagined.
Current projections estimate that we could need 12-15 billion doses of vaccine, but the largest vaccine manufacturers produce less than half this volume in a year. To understand the scale of the problem, imagine stacking one billion pennies – you would have a stack that is 950 miles high. Now, think of that times ten. This is a massive problem that one nation can’t solve alone.
Even if we have a vaccine – can we make enough? Based on current projections, Pfizer expects to produce up to 1.3 billion doses this year. Moderna is working to expand its capacity to one billion units this year. Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine producer, is likely to produce 60% of the 3 billion doses committed by AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Sanofi. This leaves us about 7 billion doses short.
Expanding vaccine production for most regions in the world is complicated and time-consuming. Unlike many traditional manufacturing operations that can expand relatively quickly and with limited regulation, pharmaceutical production must meet current good manufacturing practice (CGMP) guidelines. So, not only does it take time to transition from R&D to commercial manufacturing, but it could also take an additional six months to achieve CGMP certification.
The problem becomes even more complex when considering the co-products required. Glass vials and syringes are just two of the most essential co-products needed to produce a vaccine. Last year, before COVID-19, global demand for glass vials was 12 billion. Even if it is safe to dispense ten doses per vial, there is certain to be significant pressure on world supply of the materials needed to package and distribute a vaccine.
It is imperative drug manufacturers and their raw material suppliers have clear visibility of production plans and raw material availability if there is any hope of optimizing scarce resources and maximising production yield.
It is widely known by now that temperature is a critical factor for the COVID-19 vaccine. Even the regions with the most developed logistics infrastructures and resources needed to support a cold-chain network are sure to struggle with distribution.
For the United States alone, State and local health agencies have determined distribution costs will exceed $8.4 billion, including $3 billion for workforce recruitment and training; $1.2 billion for cold-chain, $1 billion vaccination sites and $0.5 billion IT upgrades.
The complexity of the problem increases further when considering countries such as India that do not have cold-chain logistics networks that meet vaccine requirements. Despite India’s network of 28,000 cold-chain units, none are capable of transporting vaccines below -25°Celsius. While India’s Serum Institute has licensed to manufacture AstraZeneca’s vaccine, which can reportedly be stored in standard refrigerated environments, even a regular vaccine cold chain poses major challenges.
Furthermore, security will undoubtedly become a significant concern that global authorities must address with a coordinated solution. According to the Pharmaceutical Security Institute, theft and counterfeiting of pharmaceutical products rose nearly 70% over the past five years. As with any valuable and scarce product, counterfeits will emerge. Suppliers and producers are actively working on innovative approaches to limit black-market interference. Corning, for example, is equipping vials with black-light verification to curb counterfeiting.
Clearly, this is a global problem that will require an unprecedented level of collaboration and coordination.
Disconnected information systems
While it is unreasonable to expect every country around the world will suddenly adopt a standard technology that would provide immediate, accurate and available information for everyone, it is not unreasonable to think that we can align on a standard taxonomy that can serve as a Rosetta Stone for collaboration.
A shared view of the situation (inventory, raw materials, delivery, defects) will provide every nation with the necessary information to make life-saving decisions, such as resource pooling, stock allocations and population coverage.
By allowing one central authority, such as the World Health Organization, to organize and align global leaders to a single collaboration standard, such as GS1, and a standard sharing protocol, such as DSCSA, then every supply chain participant will have the ability to predict, plan and execute in a way that maximises global health.
Political influence and social equality
As if we don’t have enough stress and churn in today’s geopolitical environment, we must now include the challenge of “vaccine nationalism.” While this might not appear to be a supply chain problem, per se, it is a critical challenge that will hinge on supply chain capabilities.
In response to the critical supply issues the world experienced with SARS-CoV-2, the World Health Organization, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) formed Covax: a coalition dedicated to equitable distribution of 2 billion doses of approved vaccines to its 172 member countries. Covax is currently facilitating a purchasing pool and has made commitments to buy massive quantities of approved vaccines when they become available.
However, several political powerhouse countries, such as the United States and Russia, are not participating. Instead, they are striking bilateral deals with drug manufacturers – essentially, competing with the rest of the world to secure a national supply. Allocating scarce resources is never easy, but when availability could mean the difference between life and death, it becomes almost impossible.
Global production, distribution and social equality present dependent yet conflicting realities that will demand global supply chains provide complete transparency and an immutable chain of custody imperative to vaccine distribution.
The technology is available today – we just need to use it. We have the ability to track every batch, pallet, box, vile and dose along the supply chain. We have the ability to know with absolute certainty that the vaccine is approved, where and when it was manufactured, how it was handled and whether it was compromised at any point in the supply chain. Modern blockchain technologies should be applied so that every nation, institution, regulator, doctor and patient can have confidence in knowing that they are making an impact in eradicating COVID-19.