Ten Healthy Handbag Essentials
A woman’s handbag can say a lot about her and, it turns out, her health.
Take, for instance, the woman who carries a designer bag adorned with metal buckles and contains a stash of rarely used makeup, candy and a wallet stuffed with receipts. Not only is she spending energy toting things she doesn’t need, but she’s wasting space that could have been filled with refueling snacks, vitamins or sunscreen.
“There’s a lot of room in some of these handbags, so people fill [them] up,” says Caroline Dorsen, an advanced certified nurse practitioner and coordinator of the Adult Nurse Practitioner Program at New York University’s College of Nursing. “I tell my patients to think about carrying things that will really make a difference in their health.”
Women who think of their purses only as places to hold keys and money are missing out on an opportunity to both prevent and address health problems ranging from depression to obesity, says Dorsen. While many concentrate on keeping up with the latest types of life saving surgical techniques and treatments, people are much better off focusing on the little things they can do every day to feel asics running shoes good.
That means keeping on top of scheduling annual physicals, as well as mammograms, pap smears and bone density screenings. Any easy way to do this is to take a minute to type up a health record document listing the last time you had these tests to keep in your purse. Some state health departments also offer small booklets in which you can store the data. While you’re at it, you might as well include details like your cholesterol levels and doctors’ numbe asics running shoes rs.
“This is not information you need every day,” Dorsen says. “It’s not like you get on the bus and someone is going to ask you what your bad cholesterol level is. B asics running shoes ut overall, this will help you take care of yourself. The more you know about your health, the better.”
If you’ve ever had an allergic reaction or a severe headache while on the go, you probably wished you kept a dose of medication in your handbag instead of all those pens. Dr. Jennifer Wider, a Connecticut based physician and medical adviser for the Society for Women’s Health Research, recommends carrying a few allergy pills, as well as acetaminophen, ibuprofen and a few antacids, just in case.
Her favorite health product for any purse is antibacterial hand gel, which can lower you and your family members’ chances of transmitting a bacterial virus, especially during flu season.
“You don’t have to use it constantly,” Wider says. “But if you’re in public places, it’s worth throwing this into your handbag.”
Weight Of The World
Wider says studies have shown that women tend to be in charge of the health care of their whole families, including their partner, husband, children and even aging parents so it pays to be prepared.
But beyond what’s in your bag, it’s worth paying attention to how much you’re carrying.
Dr. Jane Sadler, a family practice physician on staff at Baylor Medical Center at Garland, Texas, says when female patients lugging huge bags come to her office, she asks if they’re by any chance having neck pain, headaches or numbness down their fingers. The answer is often y asics running shoes es. To illustrate the problem, Sadler weighs the purses, which have clocked in at as heavy as 12 pounds.
A heavy purse will pull down on your body, causing you to lift your shoulder to keep the bag in place. That can cause muscle spasms as well as neck pressure. Over time, you could develop arthritis of the neck and spine similar to the overuse injuries athletes experience.
“If you’re carrying more than three pounds, you’re carrying too much,” says Sadler, who suggests regularly alternating shoulders in addition to unloading some of that stash.
Sadler recommends getting rid of anything you haven’t used in the last month. And while you’re at it, clean the outside of your purse, which could be covered in germs from touching the floors of public restrooms, restaurants, hair salons and wherever else you’ve been.