We have been up and down with colds, and sick kiddos, and sinuses... the WORKS! So hey! What better time than now to talk to you about the challenges of running a birth photography business during flu season?!
Flu season is typically considered the months of October-March, and as birth professionals working with pregnant women and infants, it is SO important that we take the health of our clients into consideration! In order to help manage being on-call during flu season, we have compiled a list of important tasks for you to do each year at the beginning of flu season. And, of course, how to handle things if you DO contract the flu virus (knock on wood!).
What To Do As Flu Season Approaches
- Contact your client's planned location of birth and determine their policy on visitors, vaccinations, etc. during flu season.
Anytime you are attending a birth in a new-to-you location, you should do this. However, it is of particular importance during flu season as the policies can temporarily change. While as the professional it is our responsibility to check these policies, you should also have your client talk to their care provider about your presence at their birth.
Secure a back-up for your back-up.Of course we always recommend you have a back-up for every birth client you book, but during flu season it is vital to secure a secondary back up in the event both of you are sick. It is common for geographical areas to be hit with viruses at once and it's possible you both may be sick. In order to ensure someone will be able to attend your client's birth, another back-up is imperative.
Educate your client about your policies.Ensuring your clients understand that you are not willing to put them or their baby’s health at risk during flu season is vital to giving them the experience they deserve. This is something you should be discussing with them at their consultation and you should include in your contract. We find that educating our clients proactively is the number one way to secure their satisfaction in working with you.
Pay closer attention to your self-care.Be sure you drink plenty of water, eat a balanced diet and get plenty of rest. Take extra vitamin c and pay close attention to how often you are washing your hands, particularly after being out in public and before touching your face. We carry hand sanitizer in our bags, purses, and cars to be sure we always have something on us to help prevent contracting any new germs. Avoid being around family members or friends who are sick unless it’s absolutely necessary.
You Have the Flu, Now What?!
- Contact your back-up.
First and foremost, alert the person who is responsible for attending your client's birth if you are unable to do so. Contact your secondary back up as well, and be sure both have your client's questionnaire on hand, as well as her contact information.
- Rest, take care of yourself.
Getting better as soon as you can should be your top priority if you contract a cold or the flu. Follow your doctor's suggestions and get as much rest as possible. If you can, give your phone to your partner or a trusted family member so you may rest, and have them alert you if your client does contact you.
- If your client contacts you with early signs of labor, here is a template you can adjust and use:
“Thank you for the update! It is important to let you know that I am currently fighting the flu/cold symptoms and am not willing to risk you and your baby's health in order to be there. My back-up photographer has been alerted and will be on-call for me for the next 24 hours or until my symptoms resolve and it is safe for me to attend your birth.”
It is important to note that before this point, we have educated our clients on the possibility of this happening, so it shouldn't be a surprise that a back up photographer will attend their birth. Relax, and rest assured that your trusted back-up photographer will take care of your client and that you are doing the right thing by not jeopardizing their health.
- If you are through the thick of your illness, and have not had a fever (or been cleared by your doctor) we recommend wearing a mask if you attend your client's birth.
Finally, illness happens.
In our line of work the most important thing is the safety of our client's and their family’s health, as well as our own health and that of our family. Be confident in your business's policies, your contract, and educating your clients. This ensures having happy clients!