all parts of the plant can be toxic, even if they’re dead. If you’re trying to rid your yard of poison ivy, kill it with an herbicide. Then, wearing gloves and heavy protective clothing, bury the dead plant.
Don’t burn it:
that can send the toxic oil airborne. Afterward, be careful when removing the gloves so that you don’t transfer the oil to your skin. The oil, like the plant, is extremely hardy: touching an object (a shovel or shoe) that was contaminated even months earlier can cause a rash.
Follow this shadow rule for sun protection in the summer: If your shadow is shorter than your height, it’s sunburn time. In most parts of the country, this test will show that you can still get burned between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. The sun is closest to directly overhead—and thus strongest—about 1 p.m. (Daylight Saving Time). Protect yourself with sunscreen and clothing during the three hours before and after this peak time.
To boost the analgesic effect of pain relievers, take them with caffeine. One study, for instance, found that a pill containing acetaminophen (as is found in Tylenol) along with caffeine was substantially more effective against headache pain than plain acetaminophen. You don’t have to buy special caffeinated pain relievers to get this effect. Taking aspirin with a caffeinated beverage such as coffee or cola increases the aspirin’s effect.
If you have trouble falling asleep, look at the ingredients in any pain relievers you’re taking—several brands of aspirin and acetaminophen contain caffeine. Two of these tablets typically contain 130 milligrams of caffeine, as much as in a cup of coffee. If you often have heel pain (especially first thing in the morning) or tight Achilles tendons (located behind the ankle), try this simple calf stretch. Stand with the balls of your feet on a step or curb, and slowly dip your heels as low below the step as you can. Hold the stretch for 10 to 15 seconds. Use the handrail for balance.
Repeat 10 to 20 times.
In case you start choking on food when no one is around to help, you should know how to do the self-administered Heimlich maneuver. Make a fist and place the thumb side against your abdomen, slightly above the navel. With the other hand, grasp the fist and press it in and upward with quick, sharp thrusts. Another method: press your abdomen (just below the ribs) forcefully against the back of a chair, table, sink, or railing. Repeat until the food is expelled.
Keep hard objects stored under the seat or in the glove compartment while you’re driving. Books, pens, cups, brushes, deicing tools, and other paraphernalia can turn into missiles if they get in the way of a deploying airbag or if you have to brake suddenly or are in a crash.
No sex please: If you are scheduled for a PSA (prostate specific antigen) test, which helps screen for prostate cancer, do not ejaculate for about 48 hours beforehand. Ejaculation temporarily boosts PSA levels, which could lead to a false positive result, further testing, and even an unnecessary biopsy.
Never put butter or mayonnaise on a burn. Cold water, which eases the pain as it cleanses, is the most effective first aid treatment for a first-degree burn (defined as a burn involving only the outer skin layer). Use ice wrapped in a towel if it’s not practical to immerse the burned area. Butter or mayo will trap heat, slow down healing, and increase the risk of infection. Burn ointments have similar drawbacks.
Don’t worry about “catching” a sexually transmitted disease from a toilet seat. The intact skin has an extremely able line of defense against harmful viruses, bacteria, and other would be intruders. As long as the skin of your thighs and buttocks is unbroken, you have virtually no chance of getting a disease from a toilet seat.
If you often have heartburn (esophageal reflux) at night, try sleeping on your left side. That position will keep the acidic contents of your stomach below the juncture with the lower esophagus, thus reducing acid back up into the esophagus.
Make sure your smoke detectors are in working order. Surveys show that most homeowners never test their smoke detectors and that up to half of all smoke detectors are not working because of poor maintenance. Test the battery every year and replace it regularly, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. One good way to test the device is to use an aerosol tester (about $5 at hardware stores) that simulates smoke. Replace any smoke detector that’s more than 10 years old. Reliable, battery powered, state-of-the-art smoke detectors can cost as little as $10.
If your eyes are sensitive to glare when driving at night, ask an optometrist or optician to put an anti-reflective coating on your regular eyeglasses. If you don’t wear prescription lenses for driving, you might get plain glasses with this coating just to keep in the car. Do not wear sunglasses for nighttime driving.
If your car’s air conditioner makes you sneeze, the culprits are probably fungi that produce airborne mold spores and grow deep within the A/C system. To minimize this problem, keep the car windows open part way for 10 minutes after you turn on the A/C. Don’t direct the vents toward your face. Use “fresh air” rather than recirculated air. If these steps don’t help, have your car treated with an EPA registered disinfectant, available at car dealers, some service stations, and auto A/C shops.
If you are taking medication to lower your cholesterol levels, don’t think it’s no longer necessary to have a healthy diet. Unlike the drug, a semivegetarian diet reduces the risk of heart disease in several ways. Not only does it help lower blood cholesterol, but it also supplies antioxidant vitamins and certain B vitamins that may help prevent heart disease (and possibly cancer). A healthy diet will also help you lose weight.
When using a halogen lamp, especially a floor lamp, beware of fires. These lamps get exceedingly hot, so they can easily cause fires if they fall over or if something falls onto the bulbs. New lamps must meet stricter safety standards: for instance, they must have emergency cutoff switches and metal grates on top