7 bad habits that could harm your health

We've identified 7 everyday habits that may be wreaking havoc on your health. 

By Martha Li

7 bad habits that could harm your health
Photo courtesy of thinkstockphoto.ca
Whether it's wearing high heels on the regular or neglecting your cleaning habits, we identify common behaviours that could have long-term health effects. While some of them may seem harmless, there are potential negative health effects. Are you guilty of any of these?

1. Wearing the wrong bra size
An ill-fitting brassiere is not just a fashion faux pas—it can lead to health issues, the most common being posture problems and headaches. A poor-fitting bra can also restrict breathing, cause breast pain and even damage your skin over the long term.

What to do: Your bra size can change throughout your life due to weight gain or loss, hormone fluctuations, pregnancy, and menopause. Get professionally fitted for a new bra at least twice a year and you'll be surprised at the subtle improvements.

2. Not regularly cleaning your smartphone

With flu season upon us, a smartphone that isn't regularly wiped clean can be just as much of a viral and bacterial baddie as a subway pole or a washroom door handle. By constantly pressing a dirty phone to your mouth and ear, there's a high chance of catching germs that can lead to flu, conjunctivitis (pinkeye) or diarrhea, not to mention acne breakouts.


What to do: Clean your smartphone with alcohol-based disinfectant wipes at least once a week.

3. Routinely wearing high-heels
Are you a lover of sky-high heels? The higher the heel, the more your weight is thrown forward and placed on the balls of your feet, which causes pain that may not be noticed immediately, Over long periods, however, heels can lead to bunions, nerve damage, stress fractures and ankle sprains.

What to do: Limit stiletto wear (there are plenty of flats, wedges and lower-heeled shoes that are equally trendy and fabulous) and look for a shoe with strong arch support and good weight distribution.

4. Not taking proper care of your contact lenses
Improper contact-lens care can put you at risk of eye problems such as excess tearing, itching, burning, sensitivity to light, dryness, occasional blurred or distorted vision, and eye infections such as conjunctivitis (pink eye).
 
What to do: Make sure to handle your lenses with clean, dry hands. Keep lenses away from water, which can spread harmful microorganisms. Also, never shower or swim with them in. Take proper care of your contact lens case, too. When not in use, clean the case thoroughly by getting rid of used solution, rubbing it with a small amount of fresh solution, rinsing it, then allowing it to air dry. Be sure to replace the case every three months.

5. Microwaving food in plastic containers
Heat releases some of the chemical building blocks in plastic, sending them into the food you're warming up. One such chemical, bisphenol A (BPA), has been shown to mimic the effects of estrogen in the body, leading to potential health risks such as premature puberty and breast or testicular cancer.

What to do: Even BPA-free plastics may release harmful substances when heated, so avoid putting any type of plastic container in the microwave and heat foods in glass or ceramic containers instead.

6. Prolonging the use of a water filter cartridge
If the cartridge in your filter isn't replaced on a regular basis, all the contaminants you didn't want in your drinking water will wind up flowing through your device unfiltered. In an overused cartridge, the contaminants get trapped in the device, clogging the filter and causing chemicals and particles to flow out along with the water.

What to do: Change your water filter cartridge regularly. Check the instruction manual that came with your water filter to determine how often the cartridge should be replaced.


7. Using a dull razor for shaving
Razors can breed bacteria, particularly in wet environments such as the bathroom shower stall. Re-using an old, dull or contaminated blade can lead to "razor bumps" (small, irritated red bumps on the skin) and other skin infections.

What to do: Depending on how often you use them, replace razors weekly or biweekly, and toss them out immediately if they appear rusty or corroded. (Tip: If you want to lengthen the life of your razor, take it out of the shower so it can dry after each use.) And never share your razor with anyone.

We have more information about everyday behaviours that are bad for your health, including why sitting for too long could be killing you. 


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