I love learning about “life hacks”, which are ingenious shortcuts to get things done. There are numerous versions of them on Instagram and Youtube. They may seem trivial but can really be helpful when you are in need.
Here are some health related “life hacks” that I’ve compiled:
- After getting blood drawn, immediately put pressure on the area with a piece of cotton and raise your entire arm above your head for about 3 minutes. You will notice the bruising will be much less. The pressure against the skin and gravity will prevent the blood from seeping under the skin that would normally lead to unsightly redness and bruising.
- To remember to take your medications before bedtime, rest your toothbrush on the bottle of medication. When you go to brush your teeth before bedtime, you will remember to take your medication. (not recommended if you have children who could reach the area)
- For medications to be taken in the morning, put the pills in your refrigerator (not recommended if you have children who could get into the fridge). Most pills can be safely stored at refrigerator temperatures.
- You can set up reminders on your phone to remind you about when to take medications.
- To remind yourself to fast before bloodwork (especially when cholesterol or blood sugars will be checked in fasting conditions), put a post it on your refrigerator door so you will see the notice before reaching for food.
- Dehydrated and need electrolyte replacement fluid? If you don’t have access to sports drinks such as Gatorade, you can add table salt to coconut water. This is approximately the same components (potassium and sodium) that you need.
- Constipated and can’t find a laxative? Artificial sweeteners such as Splenda can create a laxative effect. You may need to use more than a few packets or chew a pieces of sugar-free gum, but it can be effective.
- Take cell phone pictures of your medication bottles. This way when you see your doctor and he/she asks what medications you’re taking, you have all the info right there. Better yet, create a folder on your phone with your medical information. You can even take pictures of your test results. Of course, if your doctor’s office has a patient portal with a smartphone app, all this will already be at your fingertips 24/7.
- Take pictures of your insurance card. Imagine if you were injured and your wallet was stolen. Having your insurance information handy is essential when you go to seek medical care. Otherwise, you may get some scary bills in the mail.
- Have a nosebleed? Tissues are fine, but if you have a tampon around, you can cut it in half lengthwise and insert it into the nostril. The string allows you to remove it easily. Be careful not to pull it out and check. This often disrupts the clot that forms and results in further bleeding. Do not keep the tampon in the nostril for more than 12 hours. If the bleeding doesn’t seem to stop, you should seek immediate medical attention.
- Keep a bag of frozen peas in the freezer. These are great for muscle aches and injuries as they wrap around your joints much better than rigid ice packs. Plus, you can have peas for dinner!
- If you need an antacid fast, you can take a teaspoon of baking soda and dissolve it in a glass of water. Drink it slowly. This can also be used to remove mouth odors.