by Robert S. Dinsmoor
70. Size up your feet. Have the shoe clerk check your size each time you buy shoes because people’s feet tend to widen and lengthen with age. Shoes that are too short or too narrow can cause blisters, corns, calluses, ingrown toenails, hammertoes, and bunions.
71. Save your skin. To lower your risk of skin cancer, the Skin Cancer Foundation recommends wearing a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day and avoiding direct sunlight between 10 AM and 4 PM.
72. Wear UV-blocking sunglasses whenever you’re out in the sun for a while. There is strong evidence that ultraviolet sunlight can predispose people to cataracts.
73. Wear a bike helmet. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 1,000 people die and 550,000 people wind up in the emergency room every year from bicycle-related injuries. One study showed that wearing a bicycle helmet could reduce the risk of head injury by 69% to 74%.
74. Know what to do when lightning strikes. Among natural phenomena, lightning is the second most common cause of death in the United States. (Flooding is number one.) The American College of Emergency Physicians recommends seeking shelter when a thunderstorm is approaching, avoiding tall structures such as isolated trees and flagpoles, and staying away from open fields and water.
75. Stretch during long flights. When taking long airline flights, get up and stretch every hour or so to prevent the formation of blood clots in the legs.
76. Have your heating system professionally inspected. Carbon monoxide from faulty heating equipment kills an estimated 500 Americans and makes countless others ill each year.
77. Wash your hands several times a day. This is one of the most effective ways of protecting yourself from the common cold and making sure you don’t spread it if you have it.
78. Learn the warning signs of a heart attack. The key warning signs of a heart attack are chest discomfort (uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain) that lasts for more than a few minutes; discomfort in the arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach; shortness of breath; and other symptoms such as cold sweat, nausea, or light-headedness. Treatment is most effective if started within one hour of the onset of a heart attack. Even if you’re not sure it’s a heart attack, seek medical attention immediately.
79. Consider volunteering for a clinical trial. Enrolling in a study can help other people with arthritis and advance medical science. To find out about government-sponsored clinical trials, visit www.clinicaltrials.gov.
80. In May, walk the Arthritis Foundation’s Arthritis Walk, which raises money for arthritis research. For more information, visit the Arthritis Foundation’s Web site.
81. Join an online arthritis support group. Studies suggest that people with arthritis who participate in online support groups have less pain, disability, and health distress. Some support groups are available through the Arthritis Foundation.
82. Take an arthritis self-help course. These classes can help you better communicate with your health-care team, manage your medicines, and reduce arthritis pain. To find out about classes in your area, go to the Arthritis Foundation Web site and enter your zip code under “Find Programs Near You.”
83. Case the supermarket. That way, you can plot your course through the store, putting items on your shopping list in the order you will be encountering them. This can save you time and energy.
84. To save time, regularly stock up on nonperishable items you eat often, such as pasta, rice, and canned goods.
85. Get a grip on your toothbrush. A fatter handle can make your toothbrush easier to hold and maneuver. Many toothbrushes now come with wider handles, and special grips are available that can be fitted around standard toothbrushes.
86. If possible, shop for groceries by phone or the Internet and have them delivered to your home. That way, you don’t have to navigate a crowded store or carry heavy grocery bags.
87. At the grocery store, ask the bagger to pack the bags lightly, putting fewer items in each bag. This will make them easier to carry, even if you have to make several trips to the car.
88. Don’t hesitate to ask friends and family members for help. Sometimes just having someone help you with errands for a few hours at a time can make life a whole lot easier.
89. Take up meditation. Research has shown that meditation can help build confidence and alleviate anxiety and depression in people with chronic pain.
Last Reviewed on November 10, 2010
Robert S. Dinsmoor is a medical writer and editor based in Massachusetts.
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