The Biological Risks of Being a Law Enforcement Officer

While arresting suspects, investigating crimes, conducting searches, or taking samples, police can be exposed to a staggering number of pathogens.

Flu Facts

  • A person can spread the flu a day before he or she feels sick
  • Adults can continue to pass the flu virus to others for another three to seven days after symptoms start
  • Children can pass the virus for longer than seven days
  • Symptoms start one to four days after the virus enters the body. Some people can be infected and show no symptoms, yet still spread the virus to others.


Do you have a cold or the flu? Because flu symptoms are quite similar to cold symptoms, it's often hard to tell the difference. There is one clue that can help you determine that you have the flu. When you have the flu, you will feel symptoms sooner than you would with a cold, and these symptoms come on with much greater intensity. Both the flu and the common cold are viral versus bacterial infections; antibiotics will not work to treat either disease. However, there are many antiviral medications that can be used to treat the flu.

Either way, you are probably contagious and should stay home and take care of yourself.

There are all kinds of bad guys out there. Some are pretty obvious, like the criminal firing off rounds or the one swinging a machete. Others come in the form of pathogens that you can’t see with a naked eye. Take the steps you need to in order to protect yourself from the countless little guys who surround you every day and everywhere.


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About The Author:

Pamela Kulbarsh, RN, BSW has been a psychiatric nurse for over 25 years. She has worked with law enforcement in crisis intervention for the past ten years. She has worked in patrol with officers and deputies as a member of San Diego's Psychiatric Emergency Response Team (PERT) and at the Pima County Detention Center in Tucson. Pam has been a frequent guest speaker related to psychiatric emergencies and has published articles in both law enforcement and nursing magazines.

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