Important chronic pain medication information!

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If you’re on painkillers – especially for chronic pain – this is important: Regularly taking over-the-counter pain meds, like aspirin or ibuprofen, can drain your tissues of vitamin C. And that can lead to MORE pain – like achy joints, inflamed gums and frequent bruising. So eat a cup of produce with a high vitamin C content every day if you’re taking pain medication – like citrus, strawberries, kiwi or red peppers. It can prevent achy joints and other pain issues entirely.

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Do you have a hard time sleeping when you crank up the air conditioner?

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Make sure the A/C’s vents are aimed away from your bed! That’s the recommendation of research published in the journal Energy and Buildings. The reason? Because when the blast of super-chilly air hits your body, it stimulates the nervous system, making you feel more awake and alert. It can also make you feel TOO chilly, which can actually make it much harder to sleep.

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Is a sunscreen with a higher SPF best?

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When it comes to sunscreens, don’t buy into this idea: The higher the SPF, the more protected you are from the sun. Dermatologist Dr. Steven Wang says SPF technically maxes out at around 30. And doubling SPF is like doubling up on umbrellas in the rain when one umbrella is enough. Plus, a higher SPF number gives us a false sense of security, so we’re more likely to stay in the sun longer. Instead, reapply sunscreen every two hours, even if you’re sitting in the shade, and wear a hat and other protective clothing when you’re outdoors.

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Support your sports fan!

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If there’s a sports lover in your life – don’t get on their case for watching pre-season football, or following their favorite baseball or soccer team. And if you’re the sports fanatic – tell your partner to chill out. Because, according to a study, sports fans get a 50% spike in happiness when they watch their favorite teams compete. It’s because, even though we’re not playing ourselves, willing our team to win makes us feel as if WE’RE trying to win. And that gives us a surge of energy, a mood boost, and an extra dose of a certain self-esteem-building hormone.

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Listening to birdsong can give you an energy boost!

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Need an energy boost? First thing in the morning, open the windows or take a walk, and focus on the birds you can hear chirping. Yale researchers say hearing birdsong for 15 minutes can boost energy levels by 25% or more. Because it’s a happy sound which registers in the brain’s frontal lobe and produces energizing beta waves. But if the birds aren’t cooperating, a CD or app that plays birdsong will work fine.

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Are summer treats causing you stomach discomfort?

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The high-sugar foods we tend to eat all summer – like ice cream, popsicles, and Frappuccinos – can make us feel gassy and bloated. That’s because sugar feeds our intestinal bacteria and makes it multiply. The solution: Sip a glass of mint iced tea! Peppermint contains menthol, which stalls the growth of gas-producing bacteria. Mint also relaxes stomach muscles; it has an antispasmodic effect – which means it can relieve gas and cramping. In fact, UCLA scientists found that sipping a glass of mint tea after meals helped reduce stomach trouble for up to 69% of people tested.

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Online ranting can make you angry!

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A lot of us blow off steam by posting rants online about everything from traffic… to bad customer service… to a roommate’s dirty dishes. But Ohio State research shows writing a rant – or just reading one – makes us even angrier. Because we’re stuck on the negative. And people who regularly rant online are more prone to anger in real life, too… and tend to engage in more negative and rage-driven behaviors, like reckless driving. So, find a better way to blow off steam – like swimming, or meditation.

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Improve your health in just two minutes!

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It doesn’t take a lot of hard work to improve your health. According to new research in the Journal of the American Heart Association, just two minutes of walking can make a difference. Because every two minutes you spend just climbing stairs throughout the day is another “mini-workout” – and they can really add up. In fact, the researchers found that getting several mini-workouts a day can boost your heart health and help you live as long as exercising for a-half hour at a time.

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Public pool safety:

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Here’s a list of things you may not know about public pools and swimming that come directly from trained lifeguards:

First: “Floaties” don’t really keep kids safe. In fact, the inflatable belts some kids wear can just as easily hold them upside down in water as right side up! And floaties on their arms are useless if their head’s underwater! In other words: Lifeguards say there’s no replacement for watching your kids at all times, and teaching them basic water safety.

Next: You should NEVER be able to smell the chlorine. It either means pool maintenance used too much chlorine, or somebody had an “accident” in the pool. Either way, chlorine odors can cause coughing, burning eyes and nausea. So, leave the water ASAP if you experience those symptoms.

One more thing lifeguards want you to know about water safety: Pool rules exist for a reason. It turns out, most injuries in public swimming pools are not caused by drowning. Instead, they’re caused by people running and slipping on wet tiles, or jumping on top of other swimmers. 

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Good news if you like carrots!

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Here’s an easy way to cut your risk of catching a summer cold: Eat more cooked carrots! According to scientists at the USDA, our favorite orange root vegetable is packed with immunity-boosting antioxidants, which can cut your risk of catching colds and other viral infections by 33%. And if you DO get sick, increasing your carrot consumption could cut 3 days off your recovery time. So, whatever you’re making or ordering, make sure it includes carrots. 

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