Health Tips – June
Posted by dorian on June 1, 2009
5 Things To Do For Your Health This Month – June
Doc Gurley, Internist Physician
Monday, June 01, 2009
June brings changes in weather, schedules and sleep. Summer officially starts, bringing with it a host of new opportunities for health. Here are five simple things you can do this month to improve your health. Check in regularly with the Doc Gurley monthly health tips – at the end of the year you’ll have completed a seasonal checklist of simple tasks to help you live WELL.
1) West Nile Abatement. June is a great time to patrol your home’s area, looking for sneaky mosquito breeding sites. Now’s the time to dump the aging water out of bird-baths, urns, scooped swing-seats and empty flower pots – even a cupful of stagnant water can be mosquito breeding ground. Places to be sure to check? Look in culverts, wheelbarrows, old buckets and blocked drains/gutters. If your neighbor’s property looks like a mad-scientist mosquito-genetics breeding ground, be sure to gently remind them about West Nile risks too. West Nile is especially dangerous for the elderly, immune-impaired, and very young. If you’re planning one of those lazy sunset family bar-be-ques, be sure to bring long-sleeved loose tops and long pants for covering up as the sun goes down. Use your mosquito-repellent of choice on remaining (minimized) bare areas. Or, better yet, just head inside a bit earlier for some around-the-table board games and dessert.
2) Wa-Hoo – It’s Soda-Free Summer Again! The Alameda Health Department kicks off, once again, it’s fabulous Soda-Free Summer Drive. If you’re looking for the world’s easiest way to live a healthier life, cutting out the soda is a fabulous first step. Head over to www.sodafreesummer.org for some eye-popping statistics, including the fact that drinking only ONE 20-oz soda-a-day for one year results in a 25 pound weight gain. Soda-free summer is a great way to send a powerful message to your kids (the average teen drinks more than 750 cans of soda a year!) that you can live without soda. The site is full of great tips, lots of resources, support, and a way to track your soda-free days. Commit to a healthier you!
3) June 21 Summer Solstice – How’s Your Sleep? With changing schedules and lengthening days, sometimes we don’t realize just how little sleep we’re now getting. It pays to watch the clock at bedtimes in June, otherwise it’s all too easy to realize mid-July that everyone has gotten crankier and crankier and then (ominous Hollywood soundtrack) the run-down summer colds/flus settle in. If you and your family are burning the day at both ends (up early for camps, going to bed late at sleepovers and working hard at job deadlines/projects), consider at least trying to live a more siesta-oriented life. Sure, your teens and tweens might sneer at first about going to their rooms for a 45-minute quiet time each day, but you’ll see prompt results and a changing level of energy and happiness. If you’re tied to a desk all day, consider locking the door and putting your head down for twenty minutes each day if you can swing it – your work will benefit from your increased productivity and focus.
4) June Is Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month – Hit the Farmer’s Markets! June is when even the most veggie averse can find something to love at a Farmer’s Market. It’s a great month to nudge your eating habits toward a more colorful, crisper and less-processed diet. If you load your breakfast plate with two servings of fruit, you’re well on your way to getting your Five A Day servings of fruit and veg. It’s tempting when the weather’s great to avoid the kitchen altogether and hit the drive-thru for meals, but now is, in fact, the time of year when it’s easiest to throw together quick, healthy and appealing meals with minimal stove-time. Think French-style salad with beans and crumbled cheese on top. Or hack up some crunchy-fresh cucumber and vine-ripened tomatoes, drizzle with olive oil, then grab a baguette and stuff with slices of mozzarella, beefsteak tomatoes and basil leaves (garlic-rubbing optional). Besides saving you money, June also is the perfect time to tote your food to the outdoors and have an impromptu picnic. Studies have shown that the more meals you make at home, the healthier most people eat.
5) June 15 – Power Of A Smile Day. Every month should have a reminder to find some joy in your life. Some months we can feel like we’re just slogging through. June makes cultivating your Joy Habit seem easy – there’s Father’s Day, the chance to celebrate Juneteenth, and more hours in the day to connect with others. Take a moment June 15 to celebrate the small ways that you can make others feel better – with just a smile. For one day, power up your smile all day and see how it affects those around you. Then take a moment to find some free summer concerts and events for friends, family and loved ones to share. Grab your joy before the opportunity passes.
About Doc Gurley:
Doc Gurley is the only Harvard Medical School graduate, ever, to have been awarded the coveted Shoney’s Ten Step Pin for documented excellence in waitressing. She is a board-certified internist physician, with UCSF residency training, and as a Robert Wood Johnson Fellow in the Stanford/UCSF program. Her scientific publications cover areas of lab/basic science, cost-effectiveness, and health services research. She sees patients (for which she’s paid an hourly wage) in a public health clinic for the homeless. Her health writing has appeared in Salon, and the L.A. Times, among others. She’s been called “the Dave Barry of medicine.” She grew up in Calhoun, Georgia and, if given enough caffeine, speaks with a Southern accent.*
*Obligatory Conflict-Of-Interest-Notice: Doc Gurley does not own any drug company stock, or accept drug company “honoraria,” or go on drug company junkets, or allow drug company ads on her site, www.docgurley.com. She considered having her infant daughter’s cheek tattooed with Merck, but the price wasn’t quite good enough.