Healthy Living - Risky Behavior

What high-risk behaviors do you engage in? What behaviors have you curtailed, and why?

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Avoid other high-risk behaviors

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Driving while sleep-deprived
  • Reckless driving and speeding, "road rage"
  • Driving while using cell phones, texting, or performing other tasks
  • Motorcycle (and bicycle) riding without helmets
  • Possession of firearms and guns without proper training and storage
  • Smoking in bed

Adverse consequences of high-risk behaviors:

  • Motor vehicle accidents account for 40%-50% of accidental deaths.
  • Motorcycle accidents are a major cause of serious head injuries.
  • Firearms and guns account for a significant proportion of deaths among adolescents due to male suicide and homicide.
  • Smoking in bed can lead to burn injury and death.

Recommendations (tips):

  • When driving, use seat restraints on all passengers, both front and rear seats.
  • Do not drink and drive.
  • Do not drive if sleep deprived.
  • Avoid unnecessary distractions and focus on the road and traffic while driving (avoid texting, talking on cell phones, eating, applying makeup, or other distractions).
  • Use helmets while riding bicycles and motorcycles. Helmet use reduces deaths from motorcycle accidents by 30% and serious head injuries by 75%.
  • Obtain proper training in the use and storage of guns and ammunition.
  • Use smoke detectors; avoid smoking in bed.

Adverse consequences of excess sun exposure:

  • Melanoma and other skin cancers

Recommendation (tips):

  • Avoid sunburns and sun exposure by using adequate skin protection; use brimmed hats, protective clothing, and sunscreen.

Sunscreens are undergoing changes, and the U.S. FDA (Food and Drug Administration) plans to publish new requirements that sunscreens will need to meet in 2012. Currently, the FDA suggests an effective sunscreen is rated as SPF 30 or higher and has both UVA and UVB protection (protection against ultraviolet waves of types A and B). In most instances, sunscreen needs to be applied every two hours and each time after a person has gone swimming.

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