Truck Drivers May Face Health Risks Unrelated to COVID-19

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Our nation’s truck drivers have continued to lead the front line of defense during this pandemic but other health concerns lurk around the corner. As supply-in-demand rose, they stayed on track. They went above and beyond to see people’s needs met. Data suggests that they have also been some of the most effective essential employees when it comes to stopping the spread of the virus. But they aren’t out of the woods yet.

Recent studies show that the trucking industry has managed to stay ahead of the case numbers. When news about the pandemic first broke, fleet owners immediately ramped up sanitation efforts. They distributed PPE. Some went so far as to buy and use electrostatic sprayers, deionizers, and UV lights when cleaning. A few companies have reported baking their truck cabs at 140 F to destroy the virus.

And so far? It’s working. Surveys show about two positive test results per 1,000 trucking employees. The nature of their work already involves a great deal of social distancing. Plus, companies often provide temperature checks and virtual medical attention when drivers now feel under the weather.

But the greatest threat to truck drivers’ health is still to come.

Truck Drivers Have Stopped Going to the Doctor

Truthfully, no one wants to visit the doctor right now. Patients are showing up in case of emergency but otherwise staying home. And while this might suit the general population, it doesn’t suit drivers. Truck driving already involves a great physical demand. What happens when we leave chronic pain and conditions untreated?

Prescription fill rates have plummeted 15% for pain-reducing medicine and 6% for cancer treatment. Breast cancer screenings have dropped a whopping 94%. Just in general, 40% of drivers that used to utilize their health plans are no longer doing so.

This might not seem like a pressing concern. But chronic conditions can act like a pressure cooker. If they are left untreated for long enough, they may eventually lead to dramatic destruction.

So, yes: it’s important to do your best to avoid the virus. And yes: staying away from medical institutions might help with that. But be sure you are also attending to your other health conditions. And if you are driving and find yourself experiencing chronic discomfort, reach out to a doctor to discuss your options.

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