Public Health Essentials

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Jan 02

Twenty Resolutions for 2020

Posted on January 2, 2020 at 8:58 AM by Kari Bray

Many of the most popular New Year’s resolutions center on health. People promise to exercise more, eat healthier, lose weight, or quit smoking. Maybe they focus on self-care, like trying yoga or learning a new hobby.

If you’re looking to round out your list with health-related resolutions from the experts, we’ve got you covered. We gathered the following suggestions from Snohomish Health District staff:

Personal health improvementwalking feet

1. Drink more water.
Steer clear of the sugary drinks – even sports drinks can have a lot of sugar in them. Water is your best bet for hydration.
2. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Challenge yourself to “eat the rainbow.” Red peppers, oranges, yellow bananas, green beans, blueberries … Make your own list and enjoy!
3. If you vape or smoke, make a plan to quit – then follow your plan. Not sure where to start? Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or download an app at For those who don’t smoke or vape, don’t start. 
4. Get moving. Make a point of standing up and walking every hour, especially if you have a desk job. Count your steps using your phone, fitness device or a pedometer. Compete with yourself to tally more steps over time.
5. Practice self-care. (This one came up several times.) Reduce stress by making time for activities you enjoy, spending time with friends and family, creating art or journaling, or learning relaxation techniques like meditation or controlled breathing. Mental and emotional health are crucial for overall wellbeing. “Find time for calm every day,” suggested a member of the Child Care Health Outreach team.
6. Take actions now to keep yourself healthy in the future. New Year’s resolutions tend to look ahead one year. This time, look ahead a decade or more. What can you do today to stay healthy longer? “By taking care of yourself, you take care of so many other people,” said one environmental health specialist.

washing handsPrevention

7. Go see a doctor. If you don’t have a primary care physician, consider finding a provider you trust to fill that role. Even if you don’t have immediate health concerns, a general physical can help catch potential complications early and prevent more serious issues.
8. Go see a dentist. Regular visits to have your teeth cleaned and checked for cavities can prevent more painful and costly problems later. An estimated 92 million work or school hours are lost annually in the U.S. due to emergency or unplanned dental care. If you have children, taking them to see a dentist from an early age is important, as well.

9. Minimize your risk for sexually transmitted diseases. If you are sexually active, be sure to use a condom, communicate clearly with your partner(s) about STDs, and get tested. For more information, go to
10. Make sure your vaccinations are up to date. While you’re at it, make sure your family members’ vaccinations are up to date. Remember that some vaccines require multiple doses, so follow through and finish the series to give yourself the best protection.
11. Get your flu shot if you haven’t already. We’re still in the thick of flu season. Also, stay home if you’re sick. It can be hard to take time off of work or school, but flu and other illnesses spread easily. As one expert in prevention services noted: “We love to see our coworkers, but not when they’re sick.”
12. Clean out your medicine cabinet. Check the expiration dates on your medications. If you have any that are expired or no longer needed, safely dispose of them. Find a nearby medicine disposal location at
13. Wash your hands. Seriously. Warm running water, soap, thorough scrubbing – we can’t stress this one enough.

emergency kitPreparedness

14. Create an emergency plan and kit. If you have medical needs – medicine, equipment, a power source – those must be part of the plan. To find planning tips and a checklist for your kit, check out this guide from the Snohomish County Department of Emergency Management.
15. Check expiration dates on your emergency supplies. Replace non-perishable food items that are near or past their expiration date. Check water bottles, too. They have best-by dates and should be replaced periodically.
16. Check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Replace batteries if needed. Don’t remove detectors or batteries. It may be annoying when the smoke alarm goes off because you burned breakfast, but a working alarm could save your life.

computer and smartphoneAwareness

17. Be a consistent recycler. Sorting into the recycling bin is a solid start, but there are many ways to reuse items and reduce waste in your daily routine. “One thing I can do is use my coffee cup instead of a restaurant one-time use cup,” noted an environmental health specialist. 
18. Talk to people about public health topics, even the hard ones. A good example is opioids – don’t be afraid to talk about opioid use disorder, prevention, and treatment. You may be surprised by how open friends and family are to discussion and to learning new things. Visit for ideas on where to start.

19. Learn about public health in your community. Then share that knowledge. Whether it’s clean water, safe food, disease prevention, health and safety in child care, or the hazards of substance use, find a public health topic that resonates with you. Check out or to get started.

20. Be health literate. Check your sources. There is a wealth of information out there, but there is also a wealth of misinformation. If you have questions, don’t be afraid to ask your medical provider or a public health professional. Don’t hesitate to drop us a line at or tag us on social media with a question. 

Happy New Year!