Entrepreneurs are busy people. They have new ideas to pursue, businesses to run, money to make and passions to follow. They are quite good at figuring out how to prevent problems in their online businesses, e.g., secure payment gateway, reasonable return policy, strong privacy language and so on. The problem is, they are often so busy preventing business problems that they forget that they are the number one most important person in their business and if they do not prevent problems in their personal lives, everything goes at risk. Part IV of our Healthy Living Roadmap series explains how to preserve personal health through prevention.

Who are Entrepreneurs?
According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), about 330 million people, or 14% of the adults in the 35 countries surveyed, are involved in forming new businesses. U.S. Census data suggests that there are 6.5 million women owned businesses in the U.S. alone and minority-owned businesses have seen a 45% growth. Although there is no data, there is substantial anecdotal evidence to suggest that senior entrepreneurs are growing in number. However, by far the fastest growing entrepreneur category is young adults with seven out of ten high school students wanting to start their own businesses.

Because entrepreneurs come in all shapes and sizes, there is no one size fits all prevention plan.

Prevention by the Numbers
Fortunately, it is possible for an entrepreneur in any age category to understand how to take care of him or herself. Most countries have adopted or built upon the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force prevention guidelines and the immunization schedule from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (which form the basis for the World Health Organizations immunization guidelines).

These health professionals have established a list of appropriate preventative screening tests and procedures that should take place by gender and age group. For example:

Screening for breast cancer by mammogram every 1 to 2 years is recommended for women aged 40 and older.
Screening for colon cancer by fecal occult blood, sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy is recommended for men and women beginning at age 50 years.
Tetanus vaccine administration every ten years or after possible exposure.
Men and women in their 20s should have two physical examinations during that period.
Men and women from age 18 to 39 should have their blood pressure checked every two years.
You can find the guidelines that your country or health plan uses by contacting your medical provider.

The big problem with these well researched, valuable screening protocols is that many busy, ostensibly healthy people never get around to doing them because there is never enough time in their schedule. If you work from home, this problem can be compounded because you need to get out of the house and go somewhere (versus people who are already out and about while working).

As a savvy entrepreneur, you are used to conducting cost benefit analyses. Place preventive screening in that category. The cost of being screened is low (usually covered by health plan; may be inconvenient to schedule.). The benefit of detecting breast cancer or high blood pressure early is enormously high. The message is: just get it done; it is worth it.

Everyday Prevention
There are plenty of ways to practice every day prevention. You can look both ways before you cross a street, eat cruciferous vegetables and stop smoking. It would take volumes to list all of the possibilities so we want to focus on just one because it is especially important at this time in our worlds history hand washing.

You need to wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. Research has shown that frequent hand washing is the best defense against many of our most troublesome health issues such as swine flu and MRSA (methicillin resistant Strep A).

It is easy and it works. When daycare workers teach children how to wash their hands, they suggest that children keep washing until they have sung a round of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. It is good advice for everyone though you may want to keep your voice down in a public bathroom. Use warm water and plenty of soap. It is your best primary defense against contracting and spreading many of the most common ailments that take us away from our work.

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