Small preventative steps cost little and can save you huge health-care expenses over time.
Washing your hands often, for instance, requires just soap, water, and a few seconds but protects us from colds, flu, and infectious diseases. One study found that hand-washing cut children’s risk of pneumonia and diarrhea in half. And if soap and water aren’t available, alcohol-based hand-sanitizers also work well.
Here are other inexpensive ways to boost your health:
- Get regular checkups: Your annual checkup can help detect serious health problems, so don’t put off screenings such as blood work, cholesterol, blood pressure, pap smears, mammograms, colonoscopies, and bone-density tests.
- Take advantage of free screenings for skin cancer and blood pressure in your community.
- Take a multivitamin daily to supplement nutrients missing in your diet.
- Donate blood. Not only is this linked with a lower risk of certain cancers, you also get a mini checkup.
- Eat fish twice a week to reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke. Chunk light tuna, salmon, herring, mackerel and sardines are best.
- Walk after lunch each day. You’ll burn off stress and calories, and make fitness a habit.
- Avoid antibiotics if you have a head cold, the flu, a sinus infection, an earache or bronchitis. Taking unnecessary antibiotics can build up your resistance for when you really need them and might cause an adverse reaction if you don’t.
- Get immunized. Ask your doctor which vaccines (such as pneumonia, shingles, HPV and flu) are best for you.
- Enjoy a good night’s sleep. Seven to eight hours is recommended. Go to bed and get up the same time each day, avoid caffeine and alcohol late in the day, and take time to unwind before turning out the lights.
For more ways to better your health, Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point offers free community events each month. Browse our calendar here. You also can contact our free Consult-A-Nurse® service to find a physician and answer any health-care questions 24 hours a day at 1-888-741-5119.