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10 Tips to Start Out a Healthy And Happy New Year

Happy 2013!  The start of a New Year is the perfect time to take stock of what you can do to make 2013 a healthy year for you and your family. Here are 10 tips that will help you get underway.

  1. 1. If you only do one thing in 2013, stop smoking!  Tobacco cessation adds years to your life by reducing the risk of lung cancer, heart disease, and stroke. Consider trying hypnosis, acupuncture, and medications to help you break the habit. Contact your local health department to find smoking cessation assistance in your area. Don’t delay, start today.
  2. 2. Check your medicine cabinet. Throw away all expired medications. Crush medications and put in sandwich bags with kitty litter or coffee grounds and dispose in the trash. Ladies, old and unused cosmetics should be treated with care, too. This includes mascara that is 6 months old; it may be harboring bacteria you don’t want in your eye. Each time we open mascara to the air we introduce bacteria to the tube. Check your skin creams for any discoloration as they will start to oxidize, as indicated by color change, and lose potency when they are repeatedly exposed to air.
  3. The pictures of the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy were shocking and were a reminder of the need for a home disaster kit. Put together one for each member of the household. A backpack with water, protein bars, batteries, radio, solar cell phone recharger, water purification tablets, cash, medications (a week’s supply), nuts, and chocolate bars should get you through the initial days after a disaster.
  4. Make doctors’ appointments for the year. This includes: pap smears, children’s physicals, teeth cleanings, eye exams, and mammograms.
  5. Check your running shoes. How old are they? Are they in good condition? Buy new ones if yours are “going flat.” Remember, if you are starting a new exercise routine, make sure your feet are properly outfitted to prevent injury and provide maximize comfort.
  6. Think about changing your mattress and pillows. Dust mites and dander live in our pillows and mattresses, so clean, replace, and/or cover them. A new pillow/mattress can cut down on allergens and reduce coughing and sneezing.  (An old pillow can be recycled at a local animal shelter to provide comfort for our four-legged friends.)
  7. Buy a pedometer. Walking 10,000 steps everyday puts you on the path to good health. Exercise improves sleep, sugar control, and slims down waistlines effortlessly.
  8. Check batteries in carbon monoxide and smoke detectors throughout your home.
  9. Improve indoor air quality by changing AC/heater filter. Disposable or reusable filters increase the life of your AC/heater and remove allergens from the air. We spend more time indoors in the winter, so let’s breathe easy.
  10. If you don’t make your final wishes known, then someone else will. Create a durable power of attorney for healthcare so that your wishes will be honored if you are incapacitated.


Dr. Morris


Start out the New Year with these healthy habits and be well.





Sylvia E. Morris, MD, MPH, is a board-certified physician in internal medicine and holistic medicine. In addition to her clinical responsibilities, she speaks at many community forums and delivers health awareness presentations. Tell her what you think on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

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