aspirin is not riskfree: it can cause stomach pain, heartburn, nausea, and intestinal bleeding. Anyone taking a daily dose of aspirin needs a doctor’s supervision.
If you’re a light sleeper, try a white noise machine. This masks irritating noise with a humor dull roar that is less noticeable than sudden sounds. You can also use a fan or air conditioner to block out noise. If your muscles are sore the day after a strenuous bout of exercise, ibuprofen or aspirin (but not acetaminophen) can provide relief. Resting the sore muscles can ease the discomfort, but “active rest”.
may be better: repeat the activity that caused the soreness, but at low intensity (for instance, walk, don’t run).
If you have insomnia, don’t reach for a drink. Alcohol may help you fall asleep, but your sleep will be unsettled. After a nightcap, you may wake up in the middle of the night and not be able to get back to sleep.
Don’t worry about the mercury in dental fillings. There’s no evidence to support the claim that the mercury used as a hardener in silver dental amalgams can leach into your bloodstream and cause disease.
If you think you have a splinter in your finger but aren’t sure, here’s an easy way to find out. In a dark room, put a small flashlight directly against the finger. You should be able to see, from the side, how deep and how large the splinter is, making removal easier.
If you have trouble swallowing pills, take a swallow of fluid before you put the pill in your mouth— advance lubrication helps. And put the pill or capsule as far back on your tongue as possible. Try drinking from a soda bottle or any similar bottle: by keeping your lips on the bottle as you drink, you’ll set up a sucking action that makes the pill go down. If you slam your finger in a door or hit your finger with a hammer, you can reduce the risk of losing the nail by immediately squeezing the fingertip and keeping the pressure on it for about five minutes. This minimizes internal bleeding and swelling, which can displace the nail root from its bed. Icing can help, too.
To halt a calf cramp, try flexing your foot by pointing it upward. Lying down and grabbing the toes and ball of your foot and pulling them toward your knee may help. At the same time, massage the calf muscle gently to relax it fully. Walking may help, too, particularly if you put your full weight on your heels.
Use only a water-based lubricant (such as KY Jelly) on latex condoms. Oil based products, including petroleum jelly, mineral oil, cold cream, vegetable oil, and hand lotion, cause latex to deteriorate in as little as one minute. The label should say that the lubricant is safe for latex. If you’re one of the many women who find women’s shoes too narrow, buy your exercise shoes in the men’s or boys’ department. Men’s shoes tend to be cut wider up front. This can make a big difference because exercise puts so much stress on the ball of your foot and your toes.
If you are substantially lighter or heavier than average, ask your doctor or pharmacist about adjusting the standard doses of over the counter medications. For instance, if you weigh over 200 pounds, you may be told to take three aspirin. Your weight, amount of body fat, age, sex, and fitness level all affect how your body absorbs and utilizes drugs.
When talking to someone who is hard of hearing, lower the pitch of your voice. Hearing loss in most elderly people primarily involves high pitched sounds. Talking loudly may be counterproductive since it usually makes you raise the pitch of your voice along with the volume.
Don’t take an antacid that contains aluminum if you are taking any prescription drug—first, consult your doctor or other healthcare providers. Labels on such antacids warn about possible drug interactions.
Don’t try to suppress a sneeze. If you hold your breath, seal your lips, and pinch your nose while sneezing, you create enormous pressure in your nose and throat, which can force infections into your sinuses or ears.
If you often suffer from ear pain when flying because of changing cabin pressure, take a decongestant. The descent can be especially painful, so take the pill at least one hour before landing. Or use a decongestant spray (for your nose) before landing. Decongestants won’t help in children under six, however. You can also try EarPlanes, silicone earplugs with a filter that gradually equalizes the effects of changing pressure. They cost about $10 in drugstores and airport shops.
Avoid whispering if you are hoarse. Whispering is usually worse for injured vocal cords than normal speech, since in most people whispering is frictionally produced sound. It’s best, when hoarse, to rest your voice as much as possible; otherwise speak in a soft, confidential tone.
For a painful arch: roll your foot over a can of frozen juice concentrate. Both the cold and the message will help relieve the pain. If the can is too cold, wrap it in a washcloth. You can also use a can of tennis balls or any other can to massage the arch, but you won’t get the icing effect.
The health benefits of birth control pills far outweigh the risks for the great majority of women. Not only do they provide safe, reliable contraception, but they also reduce the risk of ovarian and endometrial cancer. The risk decreases the longer the pill is used, and this benefit lasts at least 15 years after use is discontinued. Women at high risk for ovarian cancer can help protect themselves by taking the Pill.
Ice a headache. Apply the pack where the pain is centered on your head or upper neck as soon as possible. Reusable gel packs, kept in the freezer, are handy, comfortable, and, according to one study, provide at least some relief in as many as 70% of headache sufferers. Running cold water over your head may have a similar effect.
If you are over 65, ask your doctor about the doses of over the counter medications you take regularly. Many older people do not need—and should not take—full adult doses. Age-related changes in the liver may increase the amount of medication in the bloodstream, resulting in greater therapeutic effects, as well as potential side effects.