Three Weeks Left to Secure Your Health
Medicare Annual Open Enrollment will end December 7th. Whether you are just turning 65 and signing up for the first time, or just need to review your annual options there is a limited window for completion. To understand why it’s important to review your plan each year, read more here…
Are You Living In A Sick Building?
Could wallpaper be bad for your health? It sounds like a crazy notion but a recent study in France says it’s possible.
Fungus, sometimes barely visible, can cling to the fabric of wallpaper and then be drawn into the air from where it may be breathed in.
This is just one of several factors that contribute to what is known as “sick building syndrome” or SBS.
It used to be thought of as something experienced in workplaces such as offices and factories but there’s increasing concern that it’s now appearing in some homes — not just old homes either.
It’s usually suspected when several people in a building start feeling ill without being able to pinpoint the cause.
Water and vapor are often the culprit behind the presence of the fungus or mycotoxins.
Experts suggest the risk of this type of moldy “infection” is on the rise because of the way our homes are insulated. The more effective the insulation, the more likely that moisture from appliances like coffee makers and stove top cooking will become trapped inside the building.
Other causes include: Poor ventilation, high temperatures or big swings between hot and cold, airborne particles including fungus, dust and fibers, and even poor standards of cleaning.
Symptoms of sick building syndrome include headaches, nausea, dizziness, throat irritation and a dry cough. In severe cases, sufferers may think they have the flu.
As many as four percent of us are sensitive to mold spoors which can trigger an allergic reaction.
If you suspect you have SBS, you may need to call in a professional environmental health expert. But you can take steps now to try to prevent it in your home.
Here are a few simple things you can do.
- Check for areas of dampness or moisture and take action to cure them using a bleach solution.
- Ensure your home is well ventilated, especially in cooking areas. Poor ventilation is blamed for more than half of all SBS instances.
- Have your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system (including ducts) regularly serviced — at least annually.
- Install a dehumidifier to remove some of the moisture out of the air.
- You might also consider an air purifier with HEPA filter, especially if you live in an area where it isn’t always healthy to open windows — for instance where there are traffic fumes.
- Keep carpets, drapes and other harborers of dust well-cleaned.
Following these tips won’t completely eliminate the risk of SBS but it will significantly reduce it.
Why You Need A Living Will
Two thirds of adults don’t have one of the most important documents they need in the event they become seriously injured or terminally ill and can’t make decisions for themselves.
That’s probably not surprising because most of us don’t like to think about troubles like that. But having an advance directive, as it’s called, could save close members of your family a tremendous amount of heartache and uncertainty.
An advance directive includes a so-called living will that gives instructions on what doctors and hospitals should do regarding your care and life support if you can’t communicate that yourself. It also names other people — family or friends — that you authorize to make decisions about your care.
This part is known as a Health Care Power of Attorney and gives people you name the right to decide on your medical treatment, to request or turn down life support treatment and your admission to special care facilities. They can also take legal action for you in support of your rights.
You might think all of this doesn’t really matter or that it would be easy for medics and family to know what to do. But that isn’t so.
Recent research at the University of Pennsylvania found that the treatment most people would prefer in these situations is often different from the treatment they actually receive. This, the study leader says, can lead to unnecessary and prolonged suffering.
Creating an advance directive needn’t be a drawn-out or expensive action. And it needn’t make you feel down, if you get it done quickly and in a business-like way.
These days, the forms you need are available online, complete with instructions. Expect to spend about $50 or so. Beware of services that describe themselves as free or offer ridiculously low prices.
Alternatively, you can employ an attorney to do the work for you, Expect to pay from around $300 upwards, though the figure is more likely to be closer to $1,000.
When something happens that makes you unable to make decisions, it’s not necessarily you that suffers but others who have to make choices for you. They’ll already be distressed so why not help make it easier for them to bear?
Know What’s In Your Nail Polish
People who use nail polish probably think the most frustrating thing about it is choosing the right color, cleaning it off, or waiting for it to dry! But there’s much more to it than that.
Some nail care products can be risky to use in the wrong place or in the wrong way.
For example, some polishes are highly flammable. They can catch fire even just near to a heat source like a cigarette or a curling iron.
Some can cause breathing difficulties if they’re used in small, enclosed spaces, and if you get a splash in your eye it can cause serious injury.
According to Canada’s David Suzuki environmental foundation nail polish can contain three chemicals linked with health and environmental concerns:
- Dibutyl phthalate, which may be linked to liver or kidney failure if the nails are sucked, for example by kids
- Formaldehyde, a known human carcinogen, which can also cause irritation and allergic reactions
- Toluene, a skin irritant linked to dermatitis
Manufacturers are required to label the ingredients, though they may not necessarily be regulated by the relevant government agencies, so it’s up to you to check.
Use These Simple Tactics To Cut The Risk Of Car Theft
There’s good news about car theft. In both the US and Canada, the number of thefts have been steadily falling. Still, on average a car is stolen every 45 seconds — so there’s still plenty to do to protect our precious autos.
Experts tell us that just a few simple security measures can slash the risk of theft. Here are 7 effective tactics:
- Never leave your car for a brief errand with the engine running or keys in the ignition.
- Always lock doors and (provided there are no pets or kids inside) close windows.
- Don’t park in isolated spaces. Park near other vehicles and in well-lit, preferably busy, locations.
- Don’t leave valuables in the car. But if you must, lock them in the trunk or otherwise out of sight.
- Set the alarm. Many remote car keys don’t arm the alarm with a single click. You may have to click two or three times. Check the manual.
- Use a steering wheel lock bar. They’re cheap and easy to hook over the steering wheel. Good if you do have to park in risky areas.
- Or consider a brake lock that fits under the pedal, making it impossible to operate. Again, it’s low cost.
IT’S A FACT:
Roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption, approximately 1.3 billion metric tons a year, gets lost or wasted, says the UN.
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