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KCH Health Tips

It would be nice if an apple a day were all it took to keep the doctor away. But for almost everyone, and particularly children, medical visits are as certain as cake and balloons at a birthday party. Still, you can reduce you and your family's chances of illness and injury by following these healthful steps. While you are at it, you can keep a handle on your budget to avoid going into debt for many medical expenses.

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1: Health Insurance

Most people have the opportunity to enroll in health insurance offered by their employer. Those who have left a job can continue purchasing that same coverage through a NHIF (National Hospital Insurance Fund) plan. The self-employed can choose among individual health plans. Whatever your options may be, do make sure you and your family have coverage. Monthly premiums may seem high, but that is nothing compared to the cost incurred should a major illness affect you.

2: Doctor's Appointment

Well-person visits help ensure that you are doing what you can to maintain health, and prevent certain diseases or conditions. For children, they assure that they are where they should be physically and developmentally for their age. Besides checking height and weight, your doctor also will assess developmental skills like language and motor skills (rolling over, crawling and walking). This time of year is also the time for your child to receive any necessary immunizations. Don't forget adult immunizations, too.

3: Care For Your Teeth

For kids, it is recommended scheduling a dental visit soon after your baby's first teeth erupt, and no later than the first birthday (even if the baby has no teeth yet). This helps to identify tooth decay or other problems early. Plus, you will learn proper brushing techniques and tips for keeping your child's smile healthy. After that, every person should see a dentist every six months.

4: Good Hygiene

Kids miss many school days each year due to colds -- and that means missed work days for parents, which can have a financial impact. Almost every infectious disease, including the common cold, is spread through touch. That means frequent and thorough hand washings are a must. Adults and kids can benefit from the "alphabet rule": complete the entire alphabet song while lathering up and rinsing off. Use antibacterial products when your family is on the go. Teach kids to cough and sneeze into the crooks of their elbows, not their hands.

5: Healthy Meals

Most people are aware that today's diets generally contain too much sugar and salt, and not enough fruits and vegetables. Encourage better eating habits by picking out some fruits and vegetables at the store. Then prepare a dish at home together. When it comes to fruit, stick to whole fruits as much as possible. An apple has more fiber and vitamins and less sugar than applesauce or juice – and it is less expensive. Besides, dining out with the family can be costly. Save restaurants for special occasions, and funnel your savings into an emergency fund or college account for a child.

6: Encourage Activities

The importance of activity for adults and children can not be overstated. Experts recommend that kids get at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Adults who can join them will benefit their own health, too. Try biking, hiking or taking walks together as a family. Take your child to the playground. Encourage outdoor play like jumping rope or kicking a soccer ball.

7: Emergencies

A medical emergency can set you back substantially when it comes to finances. Families pay heavily a year for a healthy child's medical expenses alone. Savings can help. Unfortunately, accidents happen and health issues arise. Kids, especially, can be sources of major health-related expenses. They break bones, chip teeth, tear skin and put things into their mouths that they shouldn't. They also are more prone to illnesses like ear infections and strep throat. You cannot predict what is in you or your family's future. But you can and should be prepared financially to cover your family's health care costs when they arise.


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