You spend 4.3 years of your life in them. You pay good money to maintain them. You grumble about the cost of the fuel that keeps them running. And at the end of the day, you can’t help but love them - even if you sometimes hate them.

Healthy living needs to include a look at the cars we drive.We’re of course talking about cars, one of America’s most popular modes of transportation. Whether you use your car for long trips, daily commutes, or both, cars take up a lot of our time and attention. But as with so many aspects of our life, cars can impact our health. From the way we feel emotion, to physical reactions to a vehicle’s environment, there are several ways a car could potentially take our well-being down a peg or two.

Don’t fret, though! You don’t need to ditch driving forever to avoid the health-related pitfalls of cars. Instead, we recommend keeping these three key health-related factors in mind and taking steps to address each of them before you get behind the wheel again:

1) Spring cleaning. As much as we hate to think about it, our cars can house a number of bacteria and other microscopic hitchhikers. They may ride in on our shoes, or start growing as food that we forgot about goes bad under the seat of our car. Seeing as it’s “spring cleaning” time, we highly recommend doing a sweep through your car with a vacuum and some cleaning products. Your dashboards, windows, seats, and floors may all need to be cleaned - so go ahead, pace yourself, and pick a day or two where you’ll clean out your car. Not only will doing this remove any microscopic germ sources. Removing any clutter during the cleaning process will also reduce your stress levels while you drive - always a good thing!

2) Allergies.Allergy season is a huge aggravation for many. But while allergy sufferers are used to the standard action steps used to address allergies - from OTC medication to monitoring daily pollen forecasts - we often forget that our cars can be a major source of allergy symptoms. Allergens can collect in a car’s seating and carpets, and old air filters will inevitably fail to keep allergens out of your car. Fortunately, this health issue can quickly be remedied in your vehicle: replacing air filters and vacuuming out your car is all it takes to majority of allergens!

3) Seasonal weather. Driving related accidents are often not pretty - and while winter driving hazards may be fading away, now we get to contend with spring’s roadway hazards instead. Rain, unaddressed wear and tear on your car from the winter, cyclists, and active pets and wildlife can all contribute to unsafe driving conditions that could lead to an accident and an unplanned visit to the hospital. With this in mind, we definitely recommend brushing up on the season’s safe driving tips - it won’t take long, and investing in your health and safety is always worth it in our book!

While we don’t always think of our cars when we think about our health, taking care of them and cleaning them out a little bit can definitely go a long way in making you feel better. Of course, if you run into any health issues while cleaning, you’re welcome to contact your Genesis Medical doctor (but we recommend leaving the car issues to your local mechanic!).

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