Managing Personal Health

A family sitting together in an outdoor environment.Even when people obey the Word of Wisdom and do what they can to maintain physical health, individual circumstances may require special attention to specific health issues. Disease, illness, injury, age and stage in life, or location can become factors in managing personal health.

Strategies to Help Prevent Disease

  1. Avoid agents of disease by practicing good personal hygiene, drinking only clean water, cleansing and sanitizing laundry and living areas, minimizing close contact with infected persons, implementing good dental care, following cough and sneeze protocols, and wearing appropriate protective gear. 
  2. Prepare the body to fight germs that cannot be avoided by obtaining recommended immunizations (vaccinations), as encouraged by the First Presidency.
  3. Make lifestyle choices that can build resistance to disease and help overcome illness by choosing good nutrition and diet, exercising regularly, getting adequate sleep and rest, practicing good dental hygiene, learning to lift heavy items correctly, and managing stress and anxiety.

Illness or Injury

Simple medical care and treatment can be done at home, but some problems may require consultation with a health care worker or professional. Health experts can help manage chronic or genetic conditions such as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and high blood sugar. When not cared for properly, these conditions can lead to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and early death.

Health Issues for Different Demographics

  1. Mothers and their newborns have unique nutritional needs. Infants can often meet their needs through their mothers' milk. Infants also have unique immunization needs for early prevention of potentially deadly diseases.
  2. Children and youth continue to have specific nutrition and additional immunization needs to provide for normal, healthy growth and development. 
  3. Young adults can prepare temporally by developing good eating habits, exercising regularly, practicing good hygiene, and developing skills in food preparation and social interaction. Those preparing for missions can find useful guidelines by Dr. Donald B. Doty in Missionary Health Preparation
  4. Adults continue to follow the guidelines provided by the Word of Wisdom and adhere to good practices in the areas of nutrition, exercise, and sleep. They should keep immunizations current and prepare for midlife changes.
  5. an elderly woman with a younger woman, both smilingSeniors generally have a decreased need for calories but an increased need for many other nutrients since absorption and thirst sensation decrease with age. The risk for complications from chronic diseases increases, and decreased activity means more exercise is needed to maintain healthy function. Important immunizations for seniors include protection from shingles, pneumonia, seasonal flu, and other conditions as currently recommended by local health authorities. Seniors should make preparations for declining health.

Health Planning and Wise Resource Management

Preparation is essential when the challenges of illness, injury, or disability disrupt the normal flow of life. Potential parents prepare to care for the health and nurture of a helpless newborn. Emotional and physical preparation will help family members prepare to support someone who is incapacitated for a prolonged period of time by injury, disease, or advanced age.

Whatever services your country provides, use the following principles as a guide to pay for health care:

  • Use prepaid personal resources, including personal insurance and government services or benefits. 
  • Use personal savings and other resources—such as selling extra vehicles, extra property, and luxury items—while maintaining a modest shelter, transportation, and livelihood (if possible) for yourself and your family.
  • Explore available assistance from immediate and extended family members.
  • Seek volunteer assistance from qualified individuals within local Church units who can provide—or help obtain—needed resources within the community.
  • Consult with local Church leaders.

Worldwide Health Precautions

With appropriate preparation, a person can maintain good health while traveling in unfamiliar areas. Before traveling, consider hygiene practices, availability of clean water, food preparation customs, special immunizations needed, prescription medications available, and first aid. Consume only foods that have been properly cared for and prepared in a sanitary environment.