Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Become a Smarter Consumer Today

Consumers should be able to make better buying decisions in the coming months, thanks to two new voluntary labels that will appear on U.S. products:

 “Nutrition Keys.” This icon will summarize important nutrition information from the Nutrition Facts Label and put it on the front of the package. It will display calories, saturated fat, sodium and sugar per serving and say how each serving contributes to overall diet based on recommended daily nutrition intake (expressed as “percent of daily value”). Other nutrients that may appear on some products are potassium, fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, calcium, iron and protein. To see what this looks like, go to www.gmaonline.org.

 “USDA Certified Biobased Product” seal. This will identify products made from renewable resources composed wholly or significantly of biological ingredients – renewable plant, animal, marine or forestry materials. As products get certified, you’ll start seeing it on everything from trash bags and cleaning supplies to skin care products. The USDA hopes the seal will give the same consumer boost to biobased products as Energy Star did to energy-efficient appliances. See an example of the seal at www.biopreferred.gov.

 But wait – there’s more! The Department of Agriculture announced that nutrition labels will be required on meat and poultry beginning Jan.1, 2012. The labels will list calories, calories from fat, total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, protein and vitamins for 40 commonly purchased cuts of beef, poultry, pork and lamb.

 Restaurants: Requirements for chain restaurants and vending machine operators to post calorie information. Some restaurants (such as Subway) already make the information available.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Get Organized 4 Success - You Will Love it!!

Learn How To Organize
And Get Things Done

Do you feel like you’re always working to keep up, but don’t really get anything done, especially around holidays? In his best-selling book Getting Things Done, David Allen gives you an effective time management system to help you organize your stuff, your work activities and your personal life.

Allen’s key idea is to start with a “mind sweep” ─ get everything out of your head and down on paper (or other written form). Once your mind is cleared, your productivity goes up and you can focus on creative action. His five basic stages of mastering your personal or professional “workflow” are:

1) Collect. Capture anything and everything that is on your mind.
2) Process. Decide what each thing means. Is it something you should do? Do it now or later? Can you delegate it (and track on a “Waiting For” list)?
3) Organize. Place the items in categories, such as Projects, Calendar, Next Actions and Waiting For, and sub-categories of your choice. (To help you visualize this, he includes a diagram for navigating through the processing and organizing phases of your workflow.)
4) Review. Go over Calendar and Action lists daily and do a weekly customized review to get clean and current.
5) Do. Make choices about your actions based on what you can do, how much time and energy you have and your priorities.

Another one of his most popular methods is the “two minute rule.” If any task can be completed in less than two minutes (for example, a quick email response), do it immediately. Stop putting those little things off.

Allen says Getting Things Done is “just advanced common sense.” But once you learn how to get everything under control, real change begins.

Millions of people around the world have found that his methods work. To order the book, search for “Getting Things Done” at www.amazon.com.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

How To Be A Safe & Savvy Online Shopper

Fifty-eight percent of consumers are likely to purchase a holiday gift online this year, and you may be one of them. To make safe and informed buying decisions, make sure your PC security programs are up-to-date and only shop on trusted sites. To shop even smarter, follow these additional tips:

• Use a price comparison search engine for items big and small. One of the best is www.pricegrabber.com. Some sites also let you set a price alert on a product (they’ll e-mail you when it hits your target price). If you see an item in a store, go online to see if the price is cheaper.

• Read buyer reviews, but with a dose of skepticism. (Some companies pay for peer reviews.) Check out www.epinions.com for unbiased reviews. Before a major purchase, go to www.consumerreports.com. You can read product testing results for a small monthly fee.

• Don’t click on BUY before you’ve looked for a coupon or promo code at a site like www.coupons.com or www.retailmenot.com.

• Consider the retailer’s reputation for customer service. Be sure to look at their return policy. Is there an additional shipping or restocking fee?

• Read the retailer’s privacy policy. When you fill out a profile, retailers gather information about your shopping and buying habits so they can target ads to you. Your web browser will allow you to limit or prevent sites from installing cookies on your computer, or you can buy software that will manage this.

• Use a site that offers a secure transaction. Look for a padlock icon or “https” in the check-out page web address.

• Ask your friends and coworkers about specific products or sites. Likewise, if you have a bad experience, share it with others.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Five Spices To Boost Your Brain

By “spicing up” your life, you can be helping your brain. Recent studies have shown that spicy food can preserve brain function and help prevent disease. Add these five tasty spices to your diet to reap the benefits:

Turmeric. Called the “ultimate health spice,” turmeric contains curcumin and is an ingredient in curry. Studies have shown that it may help prevent Alzheimer’s and lessen the pain of rheumatoid arthritis. Sprinkle it on your broccoli or mix a spoonful in a warm glass of water and drink it down.

Ginger. This spice may make you smarter if combined with ginkgo biloba. It also may help treat Parkinson’s disease and migraine headaches. Try drinking it as a hot tea.

Garlic. You already love this one, but did you know it increases blood flow to the brain? In a 2007 study, garlic helped fight brain cancer cells.

Saffron. A saffron extract has been found to be effective in treating people with depression.

Cinnamon. Eating it helps with blood sugar control, but just smelling it boosts brain activity. It also speeds the way your brain processes visual cues. Chew some cinnamon gum before your next bike ride.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

What Food Manufacturers Don’t Want You To Know

If a product is advertised as “natural” and “organic,” it’s good for you, right? That’s not necessarily the case. While the U.S. Food & Drug Administration has taken some enforcement actions against companies, food labels still need improving. Don’t be fooled: Here’s what to look for to select the healthiest products for your family.

• “Zero trans fat.” That may be true but it could mean the product is high in saturated fat. Be sure to read the Nutrition Facts label for the full story.

• “Low calorie” or “Reduced fat.” Compared to what? Chances are the company has a previous, higher calorie version of the product.

• “Made with real fruit.” That may be in the form of a concentrate and the primary ingredient may be sugar. You’re better off eating an apple.

• “Natural.” This word isn’t regulated. To be sure a product is natural, buy from a local farmer or buy food that is certified organic by the USDA.

• Ingredient label tricks. Since ingredients are listed in order of their proportion in the product, the first three are what you’re primarily eating.
A manufacturer may use various sugars (sucrose, high-fructose corn
syrup, dextrose etc.) in the product so the word “sugar” isn’t listed first.

• Combining healthy ingredients. The actual amount of the healthy ingredients may put them at the end of the list. By combining them into a “blend” or “mix” they can make it to the top.

• “Yeast extract.” It’s a labeling trick to hide monosodium glutamate (MSG), which can cause side effects for people sensitive to this additive.

• Using the word “wheat.” All flour derived from wheat can be called “wheat flour,” even if it’s processed. The key is to look for “whole grain wheat flour” on the ingredient list to make sure you’re eating whole wheat.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

How To Protect Yourself And Others On The Road

Could you pass a written driver’s test – today? The results of an online GMAC Insurance survey showed that nearly 1 in 5 licensed drivers – 38 million Americans – probably wouldn’t! Here’s what you should do to brush up on the Rules of the Road and make yourself safer.

 Take the National Drivers Test. Go to www.nationaldriverstest.com. Answer the 20 questions from state exams and study up on the ones you missed. You also can download it to Facebook and challenge your friends.

 Review Local Traffic Laws. Many states post them on a .gov website.

 Avoid these top driving mistakes that cause crashes:
• Multi-tasking while driving. Say “no” to: texting, phone calls and eating!
• Following too closely. Leave 2 seconds between you and the car ahead.
• Failure to yield on a left turn. Check for cars or people in your path.
• Incorrect merging. Merge carefully but don’t stop.
• Backing up. Don’t rely on the mirrors. Look over your shoulder.

 Consider a refresher course. AARP offers an online Driver Safety Course geared to drivers 50 and older. Plus, taking it may qualify you for a car insurance discount.

 Keep your brain sharp by subscribing to a computer driving program. CogniFit sells a Senior Driver program that starts with an assessment of 10 cognitive abilities essential for safe driving, including visual scanning and response time. It’s probably good for everyone!

 Get help from your car. The next time you’re car shopping, look for a model that offers new “smart” technologies such as Distance Control Assist (which applies the brakes when you’re following another car too closely); Blind-Spot Detection (which alerts you about vehicles in your blind spots); and Night Vision Systems (which give you a vision of the road ahead with a infrared beam).

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Trends in New Construction - Less is More

Q. We are thinking of buying a new home. What are the trends in new home building?

A. Buyers have their own personal preferences in what they like in a home. But a recent survey by the National Association of Home Builders found the top 10 new home trends:
1. No Living Room. Over 30% of homebuyers will buy a home without a formal living room, preferring special interest rooms.
2. Fewer Open Floor Plans. Semi-open arrangements are preferred with partial walls and columns to separate space.
3. Less Square Footage. For the first time since the 1930’s new homes are becoming smaller.
4. Activity Rooms. Many homebuyers want home offices, dens, exercise rooms, and game rooms.
5. Spacious Garages. Buyers want lots of storage space and workshop areas.
6. Traditional Exterior. Homebuyers prefer traditional American and European architectural styles.
7. Storage Areas. Homebuyers favor walk-in pantries, special interest cabinets, and walk-up attics.
8. Lower ceilings. Fewer two-story rooms are being built today.
9. Unique Kitchens. Over 78% of buyers want a walk-in pantry.
10. Future Options. Homebuyers plan for their future years. They want wide hallways, main floor suites, and walk-in shower stalls.
If you are in the market for a buying or selling a home and need competent and caring representation, please call me at 206-226-0565.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Is It Your Birthday? You are Not Alone!

Here’s a birthday paradox for you! If there are 23 people in a room, there’s a tad more chance than 50% that at least two of them will have the same birthday. If you have 60 or more people, the probability is greater than 99%. This is not a paradox in the sense of it leading to a logical contradiction; it is a paradox in the sense that it is a mathematical truth that contradicts common intuition. Most people estimate that the chance is much lower.
How many people in your life have you met that have the same birthday as you do? Next time, you’re in a large group, may want to ask the question.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

How To Save On Homeowners Insurance!

Mounting claims from natural disasters have caused a colossal jump in the cost of homeowners insurance. With wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and mold taking a toll on property, homeowners’ insurance claims skyrocketed resulting in significant price hikes for consumers.

Over 51 million households saw price increases between 2007 and 2011, according to a study by the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers Association of America. Here’s some important advice to help you reduce the cost of your homeowners insurance:

1. Raise Your Deductible. You can significantly reduce the cost of your homeowners insurance by raising your deductible to at least $1,000.
2. Keep Your Home In Good Condition. Make sure that your roof is in good shape. Fix any minor leaks or problems. Make sure the heating, plumbing and electrical systems are in good condition. Also, make sure to repair any drainage problems around your home.
3. Keep Your Credit Score High. Insurance companies use credit insurance scoring to determine who to insure and for how much. Your score depends on your credit report score and your claims history. To improve your credit score pay down your debt, close credit cards, and correct any credit report errors.
4. Avoid Filing Unnecessary Claims. Filing several small claims can result in rate increases and in some cases even being dropped by your insurance carrier.
5. Comparison Shop. Look for an insurer that has a good claims record. Every few years compare your policy with other reputable insurers. You may find a better value. Always buy a policy that pays the true replacement value for any loss.
6. Keep Your Policy Up-To-Date. Review your coverage each year. Make changes to the policy, if, for example, you increased the value of home (remodeling or building an addition). Conversely, reduce coverage for items that may have depreciated.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

On-Line Banking Dangers

If you bank online, or are looking for an online bank, don’t get caught up in these sneaky traps…
• Some banks offer no-fee checking to attract customers, then start charging fees within a year…
• Online banking may not be secure. If you don’t have a firewall on your PC, a hacker could obtain your account information…
• When online banks merge, depositors may lose access to funds for a week or more…
• Some online banks charge odd fees. For example, a fee if you sign-up for online bill payment, but never use it.
Scammers also create web sites with web addresses similar to those of legitimate banks, then collect personal data from unassuming clients who access the scammer web site by mistake.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Can Laughter Make You Healthy?

Laughter is strong medicine, so says researchers at Stanford University. The physical action of laughter actually increases blood flow and contracts abdominal muscles. It lowers stress, improves heart health, and can resolve conflict in troubled times.

Here are a few tips to help you add a little more laughter and humor in your life:
• Create a “humor first-aid kit” full of comedy tapes, joke books, funny stories, comics when you feel the need or urge to be silly.
• Take a humor break instead of a coffee break. Read jokes, listen to a funny tape, or create a humor notebook to help during difficult times.
• Remind yourself to have fun. It’s OK to lighten up.
• Go to a funny movie, rent a comedy, or watch an old comedy show.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Aspirin Therapy Alert!

Many people take a small 81 mg. baby aspirin as protection against heart attack or stroke. But did you know that baby aspirin may not be enough to protect you?

Taking a small 81 mg. chewable aspirin every day is supposed to thin your blood, which lowers your chances of suffering a heart attack or stroke. But in a recent study, 56% of people measured had no blood-thinning effects.

The study also found that taking coated aspirin (which has a shell to protect your digestion system) may not be effective. The study found that a full 65% of people didn’t benefit from coated aspirin.

What should a consumer do? Talk to your doctor about your options for heart attack and stroke prevention. And ask them if you may be a good candidate for taking an uncoated adult strength aspirin (325 mg.) each day instead.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Cutting Salt Could Save Your Life!

Please, Don’t Pass The Salt!

Americans consume almost two times the recommended amount of salt everyday! Most salt is hidden inside common foods...spaghetti, soup, pizza, and especially frozen dinners. Too much salt can increase your blood pressure...and high blood pressure can wreak havoc on your heart, brain, and kidneys.

The average person should eat no more than 2,400 mg. of sodium daily, which is the equivalent of one heaping teaspoon a day. The average American eats over 4,000 mg. a day, and 75 percent of it from processed food and restaurant meals, according to Dr. Stephen Havas, a researcher at the University of Maryland.

So before you buy food at the store, check the nutrition labels. Ask yourself, how much sodium is in one serving. Remember restaurant food can have even more sodium, so watch what you order. Ask for low-sodium entrees, or select fresh salads, and avoid those French fries. Cutting salt could save your life!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Positive Thinking May Prevent A Cold!

Yes, people with a positive attitude and sunny outlook may get fewer colds! That’s according to researchers at Carnegie Mellon University. The researchers squirted the cold virus into the noses of happy and grouchy people. They found those with a positive outlook were able to immobilize the cold virus.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Did You Know...

• Each King in a deck of playing cards stands for a great king from history. Spades – King David, Clubs – Alexander the Great, Hearts – Charlemagne, and Diamonds – Julius Caesar.
• Raising a child from a middle income U.S. family from birth to 18 is estimated at $160,140 not including college tuition. That translates into $8,896.66 a year, $741.38 a month, or $171.08 a week, a mere $24.24 a day, and just over a dollar an hour.
• In one day the average adult speaks 48,000 words, exercises seven million brain cells, takes 23,000 breaths, laughs 15 times, and his/her heart beats 104,000 times!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Five EASY Memory Boosters!

Have you misplaced your keys again? If you’re like most people, it’s an occasional annoyance. But if it’s happening more frequently than you’d like to admit, maybe it’s time for some memory boosters to help strengthen your mind. Here are five easy tips to improve your memory power:

1. Keep Items Where You’ll Need Them. Keep your keys by the front door;
eye glasses in the same place everyday, and wallet/purse in the same location.
2. Keep A Notebook With A Calendar. Keep names, phone numbers, important
dates, medical information, to do lists, and a notepad. Carry it with you (or
carry a small notepad), so you can jot down information as needed.
3. Minimize Distractions. Focus on one thing at a time. Turn off the TV or radio
when you need to focus your attention on a task.
4. Exercise Your Mind. Read, do crossword puzzles, play cards, chess, or a
musical instrument to keep your mind active. Watch television shows like
Jeopardy or Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.
5. Take Care Of Your Body. Go for a walk, swim, or bicycle. It’ll clear your
mind. And remember to eat a balanced diet and get enough rest!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

10 Things NOT to do on the Job!

“You’re Fired!” Could any two words strike more fear and panic in the human psyche? Getting fired is one of the world’s worst experiences. Rejection, humiliation and despair are just a few of the feelings that race through your mind.

A word to the wise: Here are 10 “doomed employee tricks” that’ll get you the boot faster than you can say “u-n-e-m-p-l-o-y-m-e-n-t” …

1. Get Caught With Your Hands In The Cookie Jar! Yes, the number #1 way to get fired – hands down, is get caught stealing from your employer.
2. Be an Under Achiever. Do as little as possible. Don’t go beyond your job description, and when a project is on a deadline, and your help is needed, remember “it’s not your job.”
3. Show Up Late And Leave Early. Again prioritize. You’re already late, so why not stop for a cup of coffee on the way to work?
4. Regularly Question Your Boss’ Ideas. Always try to do so publicly. And remember also to take credit for your co-workers ideas.
5. Complain Loudly And Often. Tell customers what you really think about the company...and them for that matter.
6. Have A Drink. What’s a long lunch without a couple of martinis, or brews. It’ll make the afternoon go by more quickly...or at least you won’t notice!
7. Make Lots of Personal Phone Calls. Don’t forget to call mom, dad, the kids, your sister, your hairdresser, and to arrange for soccer practice, ballet, your nails, and order clothes on-line at work. It’ll save time later in the day.
8. Embarrass Your Employer Publicly. Put sensitive company information in email messages. And talk about company secrets whenever you’re in public places.
9. Use E-mail And The Internet For Personal Use. Use your eight hours to take care of all your personal email business and fast Internet surfing.
10. Lastly, Take An Afternoon Nap. Just think how refreshed you feel when five o’clock rolls around – as well as your pink slip!
Oh…and if you hate your job, but haven’t been able to muster the gumption to quit, try these same tricks...they’re guaranteed to work!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Get a Hobbie to Add Years to Your Life

Hobbies And Your Health
Doctors at Harvard Medical School found people who have hobbies are able to handle stress better.
Hobbies like painting, wood working, knitting, or making pottery, have a calming effect on people and distract them from everyday worries. And they can give you a sense of satisfaction. Golf is the number one if you want to live a long life! Good friends and outdoor excerise really make it!!
Research suggests it strengthens your immunity, and studies show that men with hobbies were less likely to die of stroke or heart disease.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Rent or Own? Now is the Time to Buy!!

Q. I’m thinking about purchasing a home. What should I know before buying?

A. If you’re thinking of investing in a house now or wondering whether you should wait, here are three important things to consider:

1. Renting vs. Buying. If you rent a home, it could cost you less each month...and you might have more money to invest in other endeavors. But if you put your money in a low-interest money market fund, generally you will not earn as much as if you had invested your money in a house. Now many home or condos will be less to buy than rent! When prices rise you will be far ahead, even more if rents continue to rise.

2. Housing Prices and Interest Rates. You may be waiting for the housing prices in your area to fall again. They may not. However, usually when they do, the interest rates will be higher. The amount you gain could be significantly less over the long-term cost of the mortgage. Therefore, waiting may not be in your best financial interest.

3. The Break-Even Point. The average break-even point for buying and selling a house is five to seven years. If you plan to move before then you may want to seek professional advice before purchasing property if you want to realize a profit on your investment.

If you are in the market for a buying or selling a home and need competent and caring representation, please call me at 206-226-0565.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Here’s Important News About Vitamin E!

Check with your doctor before taking Vitamin E supplements! A recent study by researchers at Johns Hopkins University concluded that high doses of Vitamin E may increase the risk of dying from heart disease.

Once thought to decrease heart disease and protect against cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, thousands of people have been adding Vitamin E supplements to their daily regime. What should you know? The average person needs a minimum of 10 IU of Vitamin E daily, which you can obtain from foods like nuts, whole grains, spinach, or other green leafy vegetables.

What should you do? Check with your physician first before taking Vitamin E supplements. Warning: Never take more than 150 IU daily of Vitamin E.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Protect Yourself From Identity Theft!

The average victim of identity theft spends about $500 on phone calls, certified mail, and their valuable time, says the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). But there are ways to protect yourself. First, credit card and insurance companies offer identity theft insurance, which can range anywhere from about $30 to $60 per year. American Express has policy, which covers $2,000 in lost wages and $5,000 for attorney fees.

The FTC offers free help for identity theft at www.ftc.gov. There you’ll find instructions on how you can prevent identity theft, and what to do if you are ever a victim of identity theft. You can also contact “Call For Action, at 1-866-ID-Hotline (toll-free). Counselors trained in identity theft can assist you.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Fun Facts!

• Planet Jupiter spins so fast that there are 2 sunrises and 2 sunsets every 24 hours by earth time.
• The hottest recorded temperature in the U.S. was 134 degrees Fahrenheit in Death Valley, CA.
• Women blink almost twice as often as men during the course of a day.
• The U.S. Capitol has 365 steps – one for each day of the year.
• During the ice age, there were mammoth penguins, which stood six feet tall!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Five Auto Maintenance Myths

Hit the brakes! You may be spending unnecessarily on car maintenance. Here’s how you can save money: For starters...make sure you read your owner’s manual! Most newer cars require a lot less maintenance than your family’s first car. Here are 6 more tips…
1. Oil Change. Some newer cars call for oil changes every 10,000 miles; the industry recommends every 7,500 miles. If you follow the factory schedule, your car will be in good shape well past the warranty period.
2. Lubricating The Chassis. Cars built in the past 10 years don’t require lubrication. Adding grease may end up costing you $$$.
3. Standard Tune-up. New cars have computer-controlled engines making the standard tune-up unnecessary. (No points and rotors...and some don’t have the standard distributor caps).
4. Flushing The Automatic Transmission System. Check your owner’s manual, but most manufacturers say it’s not needed until 60,000 miles.
5. Draining The Radiator. Most cars have closed systems and no longer need the radiator flushed twice a year. A new car’s coolant can last up to two years before it needs changing.
6. Changing Filters. Filters need replacing, but not at every oil change. Check your owner’s manual for recommended replacement intervals
For more information, or to find a mechanic in your area, check the Car Talk section of http://www.cars.com.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Seven Secrets to a Healthy Relationship

Ah...marital bliss...if only it were true. You’re not married? Don’t stop reading! There’s valuable information ahead for having healthy and happy love relationships. This applies whether you’re the spouse, the boyfriend, the girlfriend, the dad, the mom, the child, or the grandparents.

Research shows it’s not the conflict that’s important in relationships, it’s how you manage the conflict. Here are seven secrets to improving your marriage...or any relationship that you want to enrich:

1. Keep Things Positive. If you want a happy relationship, researchers say you must be good-natured and friendly to your partner. Criticism and nit-picking are poison to good relationship building.
2. Follow The 1:5 Ratio. For every negative thing you say or do to your partner, you must balance it out by saying or doing five positive things.
3. Be Considerate and Respectful. Happy marriages and relationships are based on friendship and respect. Couples who like each other’s company and respect each other are more likely to stay together.
4. Don’t Try To Resolve The Irresolvable. There are times in a relationship that certain issues may not be resolvable. The key is to accept it and go forward.
5. Honor Differences. Couples who understand and accept each other’s quirks and idiosyncrasies are more likely to stay together.
6. Sometimes It’s Not What You Say, But How You Say It. Ninety percent of the friction of daily life is caused by the wrong tone of voice and word choice. Think before you speak. (If necessary, discuss conflicts while on the telephone, rather than face-to-face.)
7. Practice Relationship-Building Skills. Many couples think that, for things to improve, big changes must take place. Actually, making small changes in ourselves (acts of thoughtful kindness, compliments) can effect big, positive changes in your relationships.

Remember that marriage is like a bank account—you get out what you put in...with interest!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Do Redheads Need More Painkiller?

In a study at the University of Louisville, scientists found that natural redheads need more anesthetic to relieve pain than women with brown or blond hair.

The data showed the redheads needed 20 percent more anesthesia than brunettes to control pain. To learn more, visit the American Society of Anesthesiologists web site at www.asahq.org.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Lose The Cruise On Slick Roads!

The American Automobile Association recommends turning off your cruise control when it’s raining or snowing. Tapping the brakes will usually disengage the cruise control. Roads covered with snow or ice are dangerous. And when driving on rain soaked roads at high speeds (60 mph or above) hydroplaning can occur, where there can be total separation of the tire from the pavement.

On wet and snowy roads, the AAA recommends:
1. Slow down and turn off your cruise control.
2. Avoid hard brakes and sharp turns.
3. Stay in the tracks of the car in front of you and increase your distance behind the car.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Watch Out For These Home Health Hazards…

Are you aware there may be hidden dangers lurking in your home? These little known health hazards could be causing you and your family health problems…and you may not know it. Here are six hazards you can avoid by eliminating them from your home, or being attentive to the potential danger:

1. Do not reuse plastic drinking water bottles. After exposure to air and mouth-borne bacteria, these bottles can contain enough bacteria to be a biohazard.
2. Throw out corroded aluminum cooking pans. Recent research has shown that foods cooked in these pans absorb toxic amounts of aluminum. This can result in kidney failure, affect brain function (possibly associated with Alzheimer’s disease), and possibly contribute to abnormal behavior.
3. Be careful using electric blankets, especially anyone with occlusive arterial disease (result of blockage in an artery). An electric blanket’s uncontrolled heat can cause gangrene by increasing metabolism, but not circulation.
4. Don’t take aspirin and Vitamin C together in heavy doses or long-term. This can lead to ulcers and gastritis.
5. Never burn or over-heat your food in the popular non-stick cookware. This can impart traces of toxic fluorocarbon resins to foods. Throw out pans if the non-stick surface becomes scratched or peels.
6. Use over-the-counter eye drops sparingly. They relieve redness by the action of constricting blood vessels in the eyes so they will look whiter. If drops are used frequently, they can develop permanent (and very red) varicose veins in the eyeball.