Health & Medicine

Get a head start on New Year's resolutions

Health is not necessarily about visiting the doctor. It's also about being proactive to prevent illness whenever possible. Here are some tips for making your health a priority this holiday season:

n Take advantage of community resources. Your county health department is a good place to start. Talk to them about vaccinations, special precautions that will help you stay healthy in winter, and how to prepare for emergency situations like snowstorms, floods and tornadoes. Call your primary care provider or pharmacy and get an updated list of your prescribed medications. Talk to them about ways to get your medications in case of inclement weather or other emergency situations., and keep your list of medications handy (including any vitamins, supplements, and over-the-counter medications) so you can share it with emergency personnel if needed.

n Find ways to be physically active this winter. You are more likely to stick with it if you find an activity you enjoy. Anything and everything that keeps your circulation flowing counts, including dance, yoga, squeezing stress reliever balls or cleaning your house.

n Celebrate safely. Holiday partying doesn't have to be no holds barred. Enjoy special meals in moderation to avoid holiday weight gain. If you consume alcohol, do that in moderation as well, and arrange for safe, dependable transportation beforehand. Never drive under the influence of alcohol or accept a ride with a driver who is intoxicated.

n Get outdoors as the weather permits. The Herald-Leader publishes a weekly calendar of events, and lists local recreation opportunities. For more information on recreation parks statewide, visit the Kentucky State Parks website,

Don't wait until Jan. 1 to make your resolutions.