Healthy Home Tips: Is Your Home Safe?

Woman with a hard hat on and cleaning gloves getting ready to work

You love your family and your home want what’s best for your children’s safety, but you might not realize the dangers hidden in your house. Don’t worry; once you’re aware, you can easily protect your children from harm and avoid dangerous situations.

We have compiled the best information from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to help you easily protect your home and children.

For Allergies and Asthma:

1. Test your home for radon with low cost kits you can buy from your nearby supply store or online
2. Open windows or use fans to let in fresh air whenever someone uses chemicals in the home or garage
3. Wash bedding, including blankets, pillow covers, and mattress pads in hot water every week to keep down dust mites
4. Don’t leave out pet food or water overnight if you have problems with cockroaches and other pests

For Mold and Mildew:

5. Check the filter in your air conditioner a couple times each year and change when needed
6. When you use your air conditioner, use the “auto fan” setting to reduce mold and moisture

For Water

infographic on keeping a healthy home and household hacks and tips for eliminating or getting rid of pests

7. Do not throw chemicals in the garbage or down the drain
8. Use a back flow prevention device on your faucet to keep pollutants from washing back into your drinking water
9. If your pipes have lead, never use hot water from the tap for drinking, cooking, or making baby formula because hot water takes more lead out of the pipes
10. Even in Florida, lead can enter drinking water. Ask your doctor about testing for lead, and wash your children’s hands and face often with soap and water, especially before they eat

For Household Products: 

11.Clean up mold with a mix of laundry detergent or dishwashing soap and water OR chlorine bleach with soap and water. Do not mix chlorine bleach with any product that contains ammonia
12. Read the label of household products and look for words like “caution,” “warning,” “flammable,” “harmful,” “danger,” and “poison.” If a product has warning words on it, keep it out of reach of children and don’t eat, drink, or smoke when using the product.
13. Always store dangerous chemicals in the container they came in. Never put them in another container, especially one you might eat or drink from.
14. If a product says “work in well ventilated area,” use it only outside or with the windows open.
15. Buy Syrup of Ipecac at your local drugstore. The drug makes a person throw up and should only be used when a doctor or the Poison Control Center says it’s okay. Sometimes throwing up can make the poisoning worse, according to the USDHUD
16. Use a plunger to unclog sinks instead of chemicals
17. Always read the label to find out how to dispose of the chemicals and the container
18. Call 1-800-222-1222 for your local Poison Control Center

For Pests:

19. Make sure people eat at the table, and don’t let them walk around with food
20. Don’t leave dish water in the sink. Pests need water to survive.
21. Get rid of stacks of newspaper, papers, bags, and cardboard boxes that pests can live in
22. Place all pesticides out of reach of children
23. Wash clothing you wore while using a pesticide in a separate load of laundry

When Preparing Food (according to the USDHUD):

24. Wash and scrub all fruits and vegetables under running tap water
25. After washing, peel fruits and vegetables when possible
26. Throw away the outer leaves of leafy vegetables like lettuce
27. Trim fat from meat and skin off fish and poultry to avoid pesticides that collect in fat


infographic on ways to prevent choking and suffocating in young children as part of a healthy home tip or hack

General Home Safety:

28. Keep children away from medications and lock medications up
29. Keep children out of basements, laundry rooms, and garages
30. Store matches and other heat sources away from children
31. Keep space heaters out of busy areas, doorways and halls

To prevent choking and suffocation:

32. Don’t let your children eat hot dogs, nuts, popcorn and hard candy
33. Make sure children drink sitting up
34. Don’t let your children play with balloons
35. Keep your children away from coins, marbles, and buttons
36. Don’t let children play with cars or old appliances
37. Read a toy’s package to make sure it’s right for your children

Around the pool:

38. Watch children under 12 at all times around a pool
39. All pools, hot tubs, and spas should have a fence at least five feet high around them
40. Take all toys out of the swimming area so children won’t be tempted go back in

If you have any concerns about any condition you might have as a result of something in your home, contact a SIMED Primary care physician today by calling 352-224-2225 or scheduling your appointment online.

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Healthy Aging Tips for National Healthy Aging Month

Healthy aging older man smiling with hands wide on the beach
As we get older, staying healthy becomes more difficult and more important. A healthy lifestyle reduces a person’s likelihood of illnesses and allows older adults to maintain their general wellbeing and happiness.
We talked to Dr. Mary Hurd, a practicing SIMED Primary Care physician, who provided tips on healthy aging for National Healthy Aging Month (September).
Generally, aging is influenced by a person’s genetic makeup, lifestyle choices and environment. When a person ages, it affects every part of the person’s lifestyle. As you get older, the way you look at life and the way you act affect how you mature. For example, if you’re sedentary, it’s going to have an impact on your wellbeing later in life. 
Most of the information looking at how people age suggests that healthier people are engaged in physical activity, engaged in mental activity and engaged socially. The opposite is also true. People who don’t use their body or mind and don’t stay connected with others in their environment fare worst.

Staying Physically Active

Physical activity is important to staying in shape. As we get older, we get more sedentary. It’s important to get up and move. Staying active can mean riding a bike, taking yoga classes or doing Tai Chi. Dr. Hurd recommends a program called Go4Life that encourages older people to get active and offers exercises and other ways to stay in shape.
Men riding bicycles along the shore with information on how to get a good workout and calculate max heart rate
1. Aerobics
For your heart and lungs, it’s important to do aerobic exercise at least 30 minutes a day five days a week. Optimally you should be exercising every day. For aerobic exercises, you want to get your heart rate up to a certain level depending on your age. To calculate the maximum heart rate for your age, you should subtract your age from 220. The heart rate you should reach when exercising is about 65 to 85 percent of that.
You can use a Fitbit or check your heart rate by pressing two fingers to your wrist and counting off. Some exercise machines even calculate your heart rate for you and can tell you when you’re at an optimal heart rate. Aerobic exercises get your heart rate up and include walking, biking and swimming. 
2. Strength Training
For your strength and balance, Dr. Hurd encourages weight or resistance training at least three times a week. Weight training and resistance training strengthen the muscle mass. There’s no set amount of time for how long you should be doing weight training; it depends on how long it takes you to do different exercises. 
Some people do circuit training where they work out each part of their body every time they go to the gym. Places like Gainesville Health and Fitness offer a circuit training program. 
Other people work out a different part of their body or different parts of their body every time they go to the gym. For example, some days they might exercise the bottom part of their body, and other days they might exercise the top. 
It doesn’t matter what exercises you do for resistance training as long as you are challenging your muscles. YouTube videos provide a schedule you can follow if you plan to exercise three days a week. 

Keeping up to date with Immunizations and Screenings

For healthy aging, you want to keep up with immunizations and cancer screenings. This will help minimize the risk of disease. Follow up with your doctor at least annually if you’re healthy and periodically if you experience health issues. Make sure to stay on top of all health screenings to keep your body healthy. 

Limiting Alcohol Intake and Maintaining a Healthy Diet

A British study found the best predictors of successful aging after adjustment for socioeconomic status are diet, exercise and not smoking. For women, alcohol intake is also important, and for men, work support is important. 
Healthy diets are important and include limiting processed foods and eating more vegetables and lean protein. As people get older, they tend to not want to eat as much protein, but it’s important for a healthy diet. Protein doesn’t necessarily mean meat; you can get protein from nuts and soy. 
As you age, you also most likely won’t need as many calories, but it’s important you’re getting the right amount of calories for your age and body type. Stay away from starchy foods like bread and potato. Starches are not the healthiest foods and can lead to decreased muscle mass. Try to eat more chicken and fish as a substitute. 

Staying Socially Engaged and Mentally Active

While eating healthy and exercising are great ways to keep your body healthy, staying socially engaged and mentally active can also play an important part in slowing the onset of dementia. 
1. Mental Activity
Mental activity includes almost anything cognitive. Examples include reading, working on puzzles, learning new things, and gathering new information as you get older.
2. Social Activity
Try not to be socially isolated. Get involved in group activities, whether it’s volunteering or going to church. Even taking a gym class with other people can make a difference. Continue to engage with the world and people around you.
If you have any questions about the article or healthy aging or would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Hurd in Gainesville, call 352-332-7770 or request an appointment online.
To schedule an appointment with a SIMED Primary Care physician, call 352-224-2225 or request an appointment online