Tips for a Healthy New Year
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – “The new year is a time to celebrate and make resolutions for better health,” said Dr. Albert Arteaga of LaSalle Medical Associates.
The Center for Disease Control offers 10 tips that almost everyone can follow to make their new year a great one.
1. Wash hands often.
“Keeping your hands clean is one of the most important steps you can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others,” Dr. Arteaga said. “Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and if they are not available use a hand sanitizer or similar alcohol-based product.”
2. Stay warm and dry.
“Cold temperatures can cause serious health problems, especially in infants and older adults,” said Dr. Arteaga. “In inclement weather, people should take special precautions to stay dry, and dress warmly in several layers of loose-fitting clothing.
“While this may not seem to be a big problem in Southern California, the recent rainy weather proves precautions are necessary,” Dr. Arteaga noted. “We also sometimes must contend with frost, and even snow in the higher elevations of the Inland Empire.”
3. Manage stress.
“The holiday season is often a time of over-commitment and over-spending,” Dr. Arteaga noted. “Now that they are over it is a good time to resolve for more balance between work, home and play. Keep a relaxed and positive attitude, and if you are struggling to find that balance, get help from family, friends or a physician.”
4. Travel safely.
“Whether traveling across town or around the world, stay safe,” said Dr. Arteaga. “Don’t drink and drive. Don’t travel with a driver who has been drinking. Fasten your seat belt, and if you are traveling with children, make sure they are buckled into a child safety seat, booster seat or seat belt, as appropriate for their size and age. Infants should be in rear-facing car seats if they are less than 1 year old or weigh less than 20 lbs.”
5. Be smoke free.
“Avoid smoking and don’t breathe others people’s smoke,” said Dr. Arteaga. “Talk to your LaSalle doctor or other health care provider if you need help quitting.”
6. Get check-ups and vaccinations.
“Exams and screenings can help find problems before they start, or at least early, when the chances for treatment and cure are better,” Dr. Arteaga said. “Vaccinations can help prevent diseases.”
Dr. Arteaga recommends scheduling a consultation with your LaSalle doctor or other health care provider to determine what tests and screenings are needed, as they vary based on a person’s age, lifestyle, medical and family health history and even plans for travel to foreign countries.
7. Watch the kids.
“Children are at higher risk for injuries that can lead to death or disability, so keep a watchful eye on kids when they’re eating or playing,” Dr. Arteaga said. “Keep potentially dangerous toys, food, drinks, household items and other items out of kids’ reach.”
8. Prevent injuries.
“Injuries can occur anywhere, anytime,” Dr. Arteaga said. “Many occur in winter months, and most residential fires occur during winter months. Prevent fires by never leaving fireplaces, stoves or candles unattended, and don’t use generators, outdoor grills or other gasoline or charcoal burning devices inside your home.
Dr. Arteaga also recommends every home have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, which residents test monthly and replace batteries in twice yearly, at the start and end of daylight savings time.
9. Handle and prepare food safely.
“Keep you and your family safe from food-related illnesses,” Dr. Arteaga said. “This is another reason washing hands is important. It’s also important to keep food preparation surfaces clean, and avoid cross-contamination by keeping eggs and raw meat, including poultry and seafood, away from other food preparation and eating surfaces. Foods should be cooked to the proper temperature, and that which isn’t consumed immediately should be refrigerated promptly, at the very latest within two hours of cooking.”
10. Eat healthy, and be active.
“Choose fresh fruit instead of candy,” Dr. Arteaga said. “Find fun ways to stay active for at least 2.5 hours a week. Kids and teens should be active at least one hour a day.”
For help in making any of the above tips a part of your new lifestyle for 2011, contact a health care provider such as LaSalle Medical Associates.
The LaSalle medical clinics are at 17577 Arrow Blvd. in Fontana, (909) 823-4454; 1505 West 17th St, (909) 887-6494, and 565 N. Mt. Vernon Ave., (909) 884-9091 in San Bernardino, and 16455 Main St. in Hesperia, (760) 947-2161.
For additional information about LaSalle Medical Associates, call (909) 890-0407.