Don’t let your kitchen make you sick

53053524_MEven the most meticulous of homeowners may be surprised to learn their kitchen is crawling with bacteria. Gross! No fear though — there are some easy ways to keep your kitchen from making you sick.

Clean cutting boards properly. Wash them with hot, soapy water after each use. Both wooden and plastic cutting boards can be sanitized with a solution of 1 tablespoon of liquid bleach per gallon of water. (Sanitizing is especially important when you have used the board to cut raw meat.)

Wipe down the kitchen sink regularly. Think the dirtiest place in your home is a toilet? Nope, it’s the kitchen sink. Wipe down your sink regularly. While you’re at it, make sure you are cleaning your kitchen sponge regularly as well. The best way to clean a sponge is to soak it in a bleach solution, although zapping it in the microwave for 1-2 minutes is nearly as effective.

Use reusable shopping bags that can be washed. Reusable shopping bags are great for the environment, but they can become extremely germy over time. A number of companies now manufacture shopping bags made of canvas and other materials that can be washed weekly.

Show your appliances some love. When was the last time you wiped down the inside of your microwave or the interior of your refrigerator? Wipe down handles and interior surfaces regularly.

Show your trash can who’s boss. Your trash can likely harbors a significant amount of bacteria. You can easily get the job done with disinfecting wipes.

Clean your coffee maker regularly. You love your coffee… but you don’t want to drink a cup of mold. One study found that half of coffee makers had mold growing in them. The carafe, lid, and filter basket of your coffee maker should be cleaned daily and your machine should be cleaned weekly by running equal parts white vinegar and water through a brew cycle, followed by two cycles of plain water.

Getting the most out of your doctor’s visit

Doctor isn't as scary as she seemsWhen it comes to doctor’s visits, do you ever wish you could have a do-over? You spend time with the doctor, only to discover on the way out the door that you’ve forgotten to ask a half-dozen questions that were on your mind the day before? If you’ve found yourself in that position, you’re not alone.

Visiting the doctor can be stressful. First of all, you’re probably feeling under the weather, or caring for a child who isn’t feeling well. Then you’re dealing with the administrative side of visiting the doctor, trying to remember insurance information and fill out paperwork to see the doctor. Then you find yourself in the office with heights, weights, heartbeats, ear checks, eye checks and everything else that may go into checking your health or your child’s well-being.

So how do you reduce the stress and make the most of your doctor’s visit? Here are some tips that will help you maximize the amount of time you have with your family physician:

  • When making an appointment, provide the office with sufficient detail about your health conditions. This will allow them to allocate the proper amount of time to your appointment.
  • Come prepared with knowledge about your family medical history, along with any paperwork that might help the doctor better understand your health and risk factors. You may consider writing this information down, or making a note on your phone, to make sure you don’t forget anything.
  • Make a list of your current prescriptions, including the doses and frequency of any prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Make sure to include other health remedies such as herbs, supplements and vitamins.
  • Take advantage of annual preventative office visits, which make more urgent visits less stressful. Let the doctor get to know you and your family in a more casual environment. These appointments are typically longer than a sick visit, and provide you with time to ask questions and address longer-term health issues.
  • Use the buddy system. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the information presented during your visit. It may helpful to bring a friend or relative to help you write things down, share medical information and talk with the health care team.

If you have any questions related to your health coverage, don’t hesitate to call us at (303) 663-9991. We’re here to help protect you and your family.