Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Detecting “Unwanted” Visitors

Could you be sharing your home with uninvited visitors – like mice, squirrels, birds, or even termites? Pests are a common problem for everyone, so here are a few tips to spot them and what to do: Where you might find them. Look for animal droppings, signs of chewing, and odor in your kitchen, basement, closets, and attic. Check any moist areas like around air conditioning units. In the case of termites, look for “dirt tubes” around your home’s perimeter, particularly in cracks or crevices. What to do. You know how to trap mice in the kitchen. After you trap them, be sure to clean up crumbs and keep food sealed up. When it comes to larger animals, like squirrels, birds, or snakes, don’t try to remove them yourself. They can be dangerous when cornered. If you suspect you have the larger visitors or tiny bugs like termites, hire a professional animal catcher or pest control company.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Is Microphilanthropy For You?

Charitable giving comes in many forms, but the latest trend is toward microphilanthropy, which involves direct interaction between individual donors and projects. This giving is popular because donors can give small amounts that make a big difference and choose where their money goes. Some examples include DonorsChoose.org, which funds specific project requests from teachers in U.S. public schools; GlobalGiving.org, a marketplace that connects donors to 1,000 pre-screened grassroots charity projects around the world; ModestNeeds.org, which assists families who are unable to pay their monthly bills; and Kiva.org, which is peer-to-peer micro-lending to the applicant of the donor’s choice. You can check out these organizations, get tips on setting your philanthropic goals for 2011 and research more than 5,500 other charities by visiting www.charitynavigator.org, an independent charity evaluator.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Can Medication Make You Sick?

Medication is supposed to make us better, but it can have the opposite effect. Take care to avoid these medication mistakes: • Mixing over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications. You may be double dosing. For example, if you take a cold pill that contains acetaminophen (more than 600 OTC and prescription medicines do), don’t pop an additional Tylenol for good measure. Too much of the drug can cause liver damage. • Not recognizing the “rebound effect.” That’s when a drug produces reverse effects when the effect of the drug has passed or the patient no longer responds to it. In other words, a remedy meant to help may make a condition worse. This has been known to happen with pain relievers, OTC eye drops, decongestant sprays, sleeping pills and teeth whiteners. Best advice: If you don’t think a drug or product is working, don’t just take more of it. Talk to your doctor about alternatives.