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Six Tips to Spring Clean Your Health

David Ross, MD, ACMC-Litchfield, Family Medicine

Spring is in the air! You know what that means. It's time for spring cleaning—no rags or brooms required. We're about to spring clean your health with these quick and easy tips.

  1. Schedule screenings and doctor appointments. Life is busy. But you should still make—at minimum—an annual appointment to see your doctor. Plan ahead now to keep track of your family's wellness visits for the year.
  2. De-clutter your medicine cabinet. Sort through your medicine and toss anything that has expired or is no longer needed. If you're not sure, dump anything that smells bad or looks off-color. Next, take the rest of your medicine and store it in a cool, dry cabinet—preferably one that is not in the bathroom.
  3. Clean your pantry and fridge. While you're at it, throw in the kitchen counter, too. Get rid of anything in your pantry and fridge that could make reaching your health goals more difficult. That means throwing out the store-bought sweets, sugary cereals and anything that has a lot of sodium. If you wouldn't let your kids eat it, why put it in your body? Take stock of what's on your counter. Replace the bowl of candy with a bowl of fruit, putting a healthy snack in plain sight.
  4. Allergy proof your home. Resist the urge to open the windows to air out your house—especially on a windy day. That only invites more allergens inside. Keep your home sneeze-free by washing all linens and blankets. Dust mites are most prevalent in the bedroom. Wipe all smooth surfaces with a damp cloth.
  5. Purge old make-up. It may seem harmless to use old make-up—after all, they probably don't make your favorite shade of lipstick anymore—but formulas often change as they age. This is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, which may cause an infection if applied over a cut. Most products have a one-year shelf life—some shorter, some longer. If you notice any changes in the product like an odor or separation of ingredients, it's time to replace it.
  6. Refresh your workout. Venture outside. Everyone needs a change of scenery now and again. Why not get some fresh air while you're at it? (Just don't forget to apply sunscreen before you head out.) It's a good idea to switch up your workout routine every six weeks. You'll prevent boredom and give your muscles a new challenge to tackle. Why not hit a hiking trail or take your kids outside for a friendly game of touch football? If the great outdoors isn't calling your name, sign up for a new class at the gym or join a boot camp program. Or maybe a 5k is more your style. Try something that interests you to keep yourself from getting stuck in the workout rut.

Let the spring "cleaning" begin.