Maintaining good health

When you think of adult health, you may think about ways to stay healthy. They might include doing all you can to prevent cancer, getting vaccines, and washing your hands well and often. That's a good start. The choices you make every day go a long way toward better adult health.

It's just as important to take note when you have symptoms too. Know when to see a health care professional. Serious symptoms might include weight loss for no known reason, changes in bowel habits, shortness of breath or sudden headaches.

And of course, regular physical exams and screening tests are an important part of staying healthy. Learn which screening tests you need and how often to have them. Finding a condition early could be the key to successfully treating it.

Dental care

Seeing a dentist regularly is a big part of oral health. So is taking care of your teeth and gums so they stay healthy. You likely know that it's important to brush your teeth for about two minutes at least twice a day and floss once a day. Know what else you need to do every day to take care of your mouth and when to see a dentist.

Learn more about common dental care questions. Should you use an electric toothbrush or a regular toothbrush? Does whitening toothpaste really work? Should your dental care include fluoride treatments or dental sealants? How often should you get your teeth cleaned at the dentist? What can you do about bad breath?

Dental care counts. Take charge of your dental care today.

Skin care

Taking care of your skin can help keep it healthy. Start with the first rule of skin care: Protect yourself from the sun. When you're outdoors, wear clothes that shield your skin from sun exposure. Use a lot of sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. Follow other basic skin care steps, too, such as not using strong soaps and managing stress.

But there's more to skin care. See a health care professional if you have an unusual mole or if you find other growths on your skin. Know the risks and benefits of tattoos and piercings, including the latest ways to remove tattoos. Learn whether it's safe to get a tan without the sun, such as using tanning beds or spray-on tans. Find out the best ways to treat acne. Learn if laser hair removal could be a good choice for you.

Whatever your skin care needs, look for information you can trust to help your skin look its best.

Nail care

Take a close look at your nails. Do they look strong and healthy? Or do you see ridges, dents, or areas of odd color or shape? Nail care is important whatever shape your nails are in. Learn nail care tips. These include knowing how to keep your nails clean and trimmed, and why using lotion on your nails can be helpful.

If you get manicures to keep your nails looking good, know what to expect from the person who does them. If you have weak or brittle nails, learn how nail care products can help or harm. If you tend to bite your nails, look for ways to stop.

Simple steps can go a long way toward keeping your nails healthy.

Eye care

Do you include eye care in your overall health care? If you see well, it may be easy to forget about routine eye care. But it's important. Regular eye exams can give your eye care specialist a chance to help you with vision changes and find eye problems at the earliest stage.

If you wear glasses or contact lenses, you might think about laser eye surgery to correct your vision. Learn about the risks and benefits of surgery and whether it's a good choice for you.

Also think about vision problems that tend to occur as you age. These include having a hard time reading small print, as well as getting cataracts, glaucoma or macular degeneration. Learning what to watch for can help you know when you need special eye care.


Sometimes it can be hard to get a good night's sleep. Worries about work, to-do lists or family issues may keep you up at night. Add in a partner's snoring or an illness, and it may be even harder to sleep well. But there are things you can do to get better rest.

To improve your sleep, try simple self-care steps. Examples are going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day and taking time to relax before you go to bed. If you're thinking about using a sleep aid, find out all you can about it. Sleep aids you can get without a prescription can work for a sleepless night or two. But they're not meant for long-term use.

If it's hard for you to sleep well, talk to a health care professional about treatment options.

Mental health

Mental health affects how you think, feel, act and relate to others. Mental health also affects how you feel about yourself and how you handle the stressors in everyday life. An example is managing anger. Anger itself isn't the problem. But handling it poorly can be a problem. Think about whether finding new ways to manage anger might be helpful.

If you struggle with how you feel about yourself, how you act or other mental health issues, there is help. To find a mental health professional, ask a member of your health care team.

Healthy relationships

Healthy relationships with family, friends and other loved ones can be a great source of support, comfort and love. But healthy relationships take work. Respecting each other, working things out together and forgiving play big roles. When someone you care about hurts you, you can stay upset and think about ways to get even, or you can let the hurt go, forgive and move forward.

Sometimes, talking honestly is all it takes to get through a crisis and keep a relationship healthy. Other times, family therapy or other types of counseling can be helpful.

If a partner is hurting you physically or emotionally, do something. Talk to someone you trust about creating a safety plan. Seek help as soon as you can do so safely.

LGBTQ health

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and gender queer or gender nonconforming people face special health concerns. That's largely because society tends to have a narrow view of gender and sexual orientation. For transgender people, having a gender identity that doesn't match the sex they were given at birth can be challenging and often leads to discrimination.

LGBTQ people are at higher risk of anxiety and depression. Violence at home, called intimate partner violence or domestic violence, can affect anyone in a close relationship. But people in same-sex relationships might be more likely to stay quiet about this kind of violence due to fear they won't be believed, won't be listened to or that they'll be blamed.

Transgender people face many health concerns due to what's called gender minority stress. This involves bad attitudes toward them, called social stigma. Unfair treatment and bullying play a role. They may take on the negative attitudes others have toward them. As a result, transgender people are at risk of emotional and psychological abuse, physical and sexual violence, sexually transmitted infections, substance misuse, mental health problems, and suicide.

If you're a transgender person, counseling, and gender-affirming health care might help you feel more at ease. Learn about the options, what's involved, the risks and benefits, and follow-up care.

If you have children who are gender-nonconforming or transgender, talk to them, show support, and ask them to tell you how they feel and what they need. Your support is vital. Let them know you're there for them.

If you or your child is LGBTQ, look for a health care professional who will listen to you and respect your needs. That professional then can help you find ways to stay healthy.

Healthy at work

Work can be a great source of reward, but also a source of stress. Staying healthy at work includes finding ways to manage stress and keep from getting burned out. You may not have control of everything that affects you on the job. But there are ways to stay healthy at work.

A big part of staying healthy at work is safety. That includes preventing back pain and injuries. If your job involves lifting, learn how to lift safely. If your job involves a lot of sitting, take time to move and stretch throughout your workday. Adjust your chair to give you good support. Use good posture to prevent strain on your back.

Managing stress, finding ways to boost how happy you are with your job, and making time to spend with family and friends can go a long way toward keeping you healthy at work.

Oct. 10, 2023