Our lifestyle choices don't just impact us; they can make a difference in the lives of everyone around us. The ways we can impact the safety of others are numerous and varied, from being safe on the road, to following public health guidelines, to taking care of our sexual partners.
Choose a Safe Lifestyle
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Practice safety on the road
In addition to following traffic safety laws, staying alert and rested while traveling in a vehicle or on a bike is the most important part of keeping yourself and others safe. Distractions like cell phones or radios, as well as being overly tired, create hazardous conditions that impede your ability to respond to changing conditions.
Try mindful traveling: When you are driving a car or riding your bike, turn off any distractions and let your attention rest on the sensations, sights, and sounds around you. Research shows that true “multi-tasking” isn’t really possible—when we try to do multiple things at once, we deplete our focus and ability to make good decisions.
And don't forget to wear a helmet when riding a bike or motorcycle.
Have safe sex
Safety is a key part of healthy sex, including protecting yourself and your partner from unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Stay informed about the latest information on disease prevention and birth control by reading materials from the local health department or reputable health education websites. Don’t hesitate to talk to your provider as well.
One way to look at healthy sex is “CERTS,” which stands for:
- Consent - You can freely and comfortably choose whether or not to engage in sexual activity, and you are able to stop the activity at any time.
- Equality - Your sense of personal power is on an equal level with your partner.
- Respect - You have positive regard for yourself and for your partner, and you have mutual respect.
- Trust - You trust your partner on both a physical and emotional level.
- Safety - You feel secure, safe, and comfortable with where, when, and how the sexual activity takes place. You feel safe from the possibility of harm, such as unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted infection, and physical injury.
Use alcohol moderately
Alcohol slows the brain’s ability to control the body and mind. It acts like a sedative and slows down muscle coordination, reflexes, movement, and speech. If you drink too much alcohol, your breathing or heart rate can reach dangerously low levels or even stop.
If you are of legal drinking age, remember that it is your choice whether to use alcohol or not. No one should feel pressured to drink or made to feel embarrassed because of a personal choice. If you do choose to use alcohol, do so in moderation and know your personal limits.
If you are concerned that you might have a drinking problem, you can evaluate your drinking habits using the CAGE assessment. Don’t delay in seeking help. One well-known resource is Alcoholics Anonymous.
Follow public health advice
The World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are two well-known sources of expert advice on how to live safely and protect ourselves and others. These organizations use the best and latest scientific evidence to create guidelines to maximize public health and safety. Examples include getting vaccinated to prevent the spread of life-threatening disease and wearing a mask and practicing social distancing during pandemics.
Keeping abreast of guidelines developed by these experts can help keep you and others safe.
Centers for Disease Control (2020). Public Health Guidance for Community-Related Exposure. Retrieved 18 December 2020, from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/public-health-recommendat…
Centers for Disease Control (2020). Vaccines and immunization. Retrieved 18 December 2020, from https://www.who.int/health-topics/vaccines-and-immunization
Motor Vehicle Safety | CDC Injury Center (2020). Impaired Driving: Get the Facts. Retrieved 18 December 2020, from https://www.cdc.gov/transportationsafety/impaired_driving/impaired-drv_factsheet.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fmotorvehiclesafety%2Fimpaired_driving%2Fimpaired-drv_factsheet.html
Stoppard, Miriam, MD. (2003). Healthy Sex. Dorling Kindersley.