- Get your vaccinations. We make sure our kids are vaccinated all the way through school but most adults stop getting vaccinations somewhere in their late teens. Make sure your tetanus shot is up to date and ask you physician about any other vaccinations you need (chicken pox, hepatitis, measles, etc.). If you will be traveling overseas, ask you doctor about location-specific vaccinations you need. Here's some info from the CDC on this topic.
- Take care of little health problems before they become big problems. See your doctor annually, your dentist bi-annually, have your vision tested as needed, keep up with any current medical problems (ie: diabetes, high blood pressure) by instating exercise and nutrition to combat these problems and of course, take medications for these problems as prescribed by your doctor.
- De-stress your life. Stress is one of the leading causes of the most common medical problems in our country (high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, etc). Take up yoga, meditation, or anything else that will make you calm and serene.
- Use common sense, basic safety precautions to protect your health (and your life). Never drink and drive, use a helmet when you ride a bicycle or motorcycle, wear a life jacket when you are on small boats, use your seat belt religiously, don't drink out of that clear stream without purifying the water, etc.
- Take care of mental health issues, substance abuse issues, obesity, and domestic violence issues immediately. All of these problems can significantly lessen your life span. Unfortunately these types of conditions require action only by the person that has the problem since telling them "you have this problem, go get treated" doesn't work, unlike if someone has cancer or a broken leg--in these cases you don't have to point out that they have a problem and need to seek treatment. As a side note, all of these conditions can significantly decrease your ability to respond during a disaster.
- Realize that the most dangerous activities, statistically, are some of the most common. You don't find bungee jumping and snake wrangling on the mortality statistics pages--what you do find, in excess, when it comes to death and traumatic injuries, are things as basic as falls (middle aged men fall off ladders with surprising regularity), drownings (due to lack of safety precautions), car accidents (teens and older people tend to spike this stat), poisoning (everyone from babies eating poisonous things to people OD-ing on drugs or alcohol is included here). plus the serious results of high blood pressure (heart attack), cancer, and other diseases.
- If you are taking prescription medication, try to have a three month supply on hand. This will come in handy for traveling, for evacuating during an emergency (take the meds with you since the pharmacies in your area probably won't be open), and as a back up, if by accident, a portion of your meds gets destroyed (a friend had one bottle of meds in her emergency bag and had one bottle over the toilet in a medicine cabinet--one day as she was taking out her meds they fell from her hand into the toilet. The emergency meds meant she didn't have to call her doctor for a new prescription and run to the pharmacy immediately).
- Avoid activities that can get you maimed or killed. Sounds simple doesn't it? Apparently not to the legions of people who post their latest (dangerous) exploits on You Tube (bus surfing, drunk driving, fight club style fighting, et al). Of course there are some dangerous activities that people will do regardless of the danger (riding a motorcycle, climbing up ladders to trim trees/hang lights/clean the gutters, skateboarding) but at least if you partake in these activities, learn the safest way to accomplish them.
Basically good health comes down to common sense. The up side is that when you are in good health, responding to a disaster will be that much easier.