We all know that smoking, fast food and distracted driving are bad habits to avoid—but here are a few more that may surprise you. These seemingly habits may not warrant their own PSA, but are discouraged nonetheless.
SLEEPING IN YOUR CONTACT LENSES
If you don’t have extended-wear contacts specifically designed for sleep, remove and clean your contacts every night as advised. Your corneas need oxygen directly from the air, and contacts behind your snoozing eyelids prevent oxygen getting to the corneas, which could lead to serious infection, cornea scarring or blindness.
If you occasionally nod off with your lenses in, clean them with fresh disinfecting solution as soon as you wake, and wear glasses for the next 24 hours to allow better air flow to the corneas. If you notice any redness, pain, or sensitivity to light, call your eye doctor immediately.
RELYING ON THE PHARMACY DRIVE-THRU
Drive-thru pharmacies are convenient, but a recent study indicates you may be at a higher risk for a medication error. Drive-thru pharmacies average six errors per every 10,000 prescriptions dispensed annually—that’s 2 million medication mistakes a year. So always check your prescription carefully, especially if it’s from the drive through. If it’s a new prescription or you have any questions about side effects or drug interactions, skip the drive-thru and talk directly to the pharmacist.
SKIPPING WELL-CARE VISITS BECAUSE YOU FEEL ‘FINE’
Getting an annual or biannual physical exam is an important way to stay healthy. Even if you feel fine, you need to see your health care provider regularly to check for potential problems. Most people who have high blood pressure don’t even know it. Likewise, high blood sugar and high cholesterol levels often don’t produce any symptoms until the disease becomes advanced. What’s more, women may think their ob-gyn appointments are sufficient for all of their health needs. But your ob-gyn doesn’t screen for problems like type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and skin cancer. So get a primary care doctor, and keep that appointment!
(And while we’re at it, don’t skip the dentist’s office either. Poor oral health is linked to a number of health problems including cardiac and pulmonary diseases, diabetes and an increased risk of dementia.)
EATING AT YOUR WORKSTATION
According to a 2011 American Dietetic Association and ConAgra Foods Home Food Safety program survey, 27% of us eat breakfast at our desks, 62% eat lunch there and 50% of us eat snacks throughout the day at our workspace. Now the gross part: A 2007 University of Arizona study reported that a typical workstation has 400 times more bacteria than a bathroom! Think about it: How often do you clean your workspace? Take a few minutes once or twice a week to wipe down surfaces with an antibacterial agent and give particular attention to your phone and computer keyboard.
RUSHING TO THE LOCKER ROOM AFTER YOUR WORKOUT
Give yourself some time to cool down after an intense cardio workout. If you jump into the shower immediately afterwards, your body is still adjusting to a plummeting heart rate—you’ll feel dizzy and faint. A 3- to 5-minute cool down routine (like walking or slow cycling) allows your blood flow and body temperature to return to normal.