Your Medication Checklist: Taking (and Trashing) Drugs Safely

Man looking at medicine while sitting by woman using laptop computer in kitchen at home

Whether you’re taking “over-the-counter” medication, or a prescription drug from your doctor, it’s easy to lose track of what you take and when. Review health history, and talk with your doctor about the specific medications or supplements that you’re on now, or the ones he/she may be recommending. A medication checklist for the fridge (and a copy to have with you for emergencies) can help keep your meds routine at your fingertips. This “mini chart” should include your name, plus your doctor’s and local drugstore’s phone numbers, at the top. List what medication you take, the start date of taking it, why you take it, how much you take, when you take it, and if you take it with or without food. Include any drug (or supplement) interaction dangers as well (as in, “don’t take this, with that”). Also note when you should stop taking it. Leave room at the bottom to list any of your drug allergies.

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She Swims Safely at the Seashore (or Pool): Avoid Waterborne Diseases

Family relaxing on inflatable rafts in a swimming pool

Whether to stay in shape, relax, or just cool off, swimming is one of the best exercises around, because you work all muscle groups. Great for arthritis sufferers, you’re also buoyed by the water, which means less muscle and joint strain.

Learning how to swim through a trained and certified professional in swimming and water safety (at your own level and pace) can help replace any fear of the water with a healthy respect and love for it. The place to start is with a visit to www.redcross.org for a state-by-state list of Learn-to-Swim Providers, as well as your local beach, community center, or parks and recreation department. You’ll find classes for everyone from six months old up to adult.

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Bed Bugs: Unwelcome Bedfellows

Baby bedbug or cimex after sucked blood from skin

Bed bugs are small, (think Lincoln’s head on a penny), flat, brick-colored, wingless parasites that dine on animal and human blood. (They can survive several months at a time without a meal!) Avid travelers, they show up world-wide where people sleep, and don’t discriminate between lodgings (that includes five-star hotels — and the cleanest of homes.) Bed bugs hitch a ride and hide, which means they can stow away in luggage that you bring back home. In a bedroom, they’re known to journey more than 100 feet in one night, even though they tend to live within eight feet of where people snooze. Dirt is not so much a factor, but what they do like are areas behind wallpaper, bed frames and box springs, mattress seams, cracks, crevices, and clutter.

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Smoke Alarms and Escape Plans Go Hand in Hand

Sound the alarm (the smoke alarm that is). Smoke alarms are your path to safety in the event of a house fire, because if one sounds, that’s your cue to move you and your family calmly and quickly outside, and call 9-1-1. Smoke spreads fast, and can not only incapacitate you, causing serious injury (smoke inhalation can be deadly), it can impact visibility to escape.

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Be Wheel Smart: Drive Without Distractions

We are indeed a nation of multitaskers, and we give ourselves pats on the backs for accomplishing so much daily. But while we may pride ourselves on this juggling act, at the office or at home, a key place where it doesn’t work is in the car. There, reaching for that cell phone or balancing a drive-through burger can cost you (or someone else) a life.

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Where There’s Smokeless, There’s Still Fire: Smokeless Tobacco Dangers

The list of diseases resulting from smoking is long and devastating, from COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and emphysema, to lung cancer, and more. Cigarette smoking alone accounts for more than 480,000 deaths per year (about one in five deaths annually), and more than 16 million people live with a smoking-related disease.

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