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Understanding Alzheimer’s Symptoms & Treatment

More than 5 million people in the U.S. suffer from Alzheimer’s, and the disease currently costs the country $259 billion every year. The number of cases is expected to climb to 16 million by 2050 and increase annual costs to as much as $1.1 trillion.

Diagnosed using mental tests, mood evaluations, physical exams, and neurological assessments, Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia for seniors. Between 60 and 80 percent of dementia cases are the result of the disease. Doctors are careful to perform additional screenings to rule out other possibilities before making the diagnosis because the label of Alzheimer’s suggests a long and difficult road ahead.

What Is Alzheimer’s?

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) defines Alzheimer’s disease as a progressive brain disorder characterized by memory problems, changes in behavior and cognitive decline.

Your brain has many unique areas connected by neurons, and these nerve cells need to communicate for the mind and body to function correctly. In Alzheimer’s, three different processes interrupt this communication:

  • Plaques composed of beta-amyloid proteins – called amyloid plaques – build up in the spaces between cells
  • Tangles of tau proteins form within cells
  • Neurons lose connections

It’s believed Alzheimer’s begins in the hippocampus, the part of your brain responsible for the formation of memories. As the disease worsens, more cells become damaged and the brain begins to shrink. Neurons can’t send signals to each other, so major parts of the brain are unable to work as they should and no longer connect properly with the body. These changes account for the major symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

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What Are the Symptoms?

Not all cases of dementia or problems with memory are the result of Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s moves progressively through stages, manifesting with symptoms more severe than simple forgetfulness or moodiness.

The earliest stage of the disease is similar to age-related memory loss. You may notice an aging family member has trouble remembering things he or she just learned or was recently told. More serious symptoms develop as the disease progresses into the moderate and severe stages:

  • Changes in mood and behavior
  • Progressive memory loss
  • Disorientation and confusion
  • Unfounded fears or suspicions
  • Difficulty with mobility
  • Wandering or getting lost
  • Loss of the ability to complete familiar tasks
  • Difficulty planning or solving problems
  • Trouble recalling words
  • Difficulty following or participating in conversations
  • Misplacing or losing items
  • Impaired judgement
  • Isolation or social withdrawal
  • Problems managing money
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Hallucinations and paranoia

Because of these changes, some Alzheimer’s patients become aggressive or antagonistic toward family members. They may accuse you of stealing things they’ve misplaced or deliberately hiding their belongings. It’s important to remember these behaviors are the result of the disease and not deliberate personal attacks.

Who Is Commonly Diagnosed With Alzheimer’s?

About one out of every 20 people over the age of 65 receives an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, and the disease becomes more common as people get older. Women appear to be affected twice as much as men, although it’s unclear what role gender plays in the disease.

If there’s a history of Alzheimer’s in your family, you may be more likely to develop the disease. About half of the children whose parents had Alzheimer’s also wind up being diagnosed. Cases resulting from genetic predisposition can strike people as young as age 35.

Other conditions and diseases may be associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s. These include:

  • History of severe head injury
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Stroke
  • Obesity

Many of these conditions are related to the progression of cardiovascular disease, suggesting a connection between lifestyle and the development of Alzheimer’s.

What Treatments Are Available?

Although there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s, there are several treatment options for those who are diagnosed. Doctors prescribe two main types of medications for memory-related symptoms:

  • Cholinesterase inhibitors, including donepezil (Aricept), galantamine (Razadyne) and rivastigmine (Exelon) prevent the breakdown of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine to prevent its depletion and improve communication between nerve cells in the brain
  • Memantine (Namenda) targets different brain communication pathways to address symptoms in and slow progression of more advanced forms of the disease

Doctors may also suggest other medications to aid with depression, anxiety and neurological symptoms accompanying memory loss.

Research is being conducted to find treatments for behavioral symptoms and to improve management of Alzheimer’s. Some scientists are investigating means of treating root causes of the disease, including new drugs, lifestyle changes, physical activity, cognitive training, and targeted immune therapy. Treating other conditions, such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, may also provide a viable path to reducing the prevalence of Alzheimer’s.

Herbal remedies, acupuncture, CoQ10, vitamin E, phosphatidylserine, aromatherapy and therapeutic doses of omega-3 fatty acids have all been suggested as alternatives to traditional treatment. Studies have failed to show significant improvements with these therapies, but more research is required to determine efficacy.

Caring for Someone With Alzheimer’s

If you’re caring for a family member or friend with Alzheimer’s, you’re one of the 15 million caregivers providing unpaid assistance to those with the disease. Individuals with Alzheimer’s live and average of three to 10 years after being diagnosed, so it’s important to prepare for the challenges this time will bring.

There are many simple ways you can help an Alzheimer’s patient:

  • Learn about symptoms and what your role should be at each stage
  • Arrange for extra help and care if needed
  • Be there to assist with daily activities, including meals, exercise and sleep
  • Help with organizing and cleaning the house
  • Keep the home safe to prevent accidents or injuries
  • Provide assistance with routine self-care, including bathing and getting dressed
  • Encourage regular conversations, maintaining a patient and calm attitude
  • Focus on simplicity and be straightforward with any instructions you give
  • Establish a daily routine, including quiet time with no distractions
  • Offer comfort if hallucinations or paranoia cause fear
  • Maintain physical activity and engagement in enjoyable hobbies as much as possible

As you care for an ailing loved one, don’t neglect yourself. You need to eat, sleep, exercise and socialize so that your own health doesn’t suffer. Remember self-care isn’t selfish; it’s vital to being an effective caregiver.

New cases of Alzheimer’s appear every 66 seconds, and one in three seniors dies with the disease. With death rates rising 89 percent since 2000, Alzheimer’s continues to be an epidemic among the aging population. Family members, healthcare providers and caregivers need to educate themselves about this complex disease in order to offer help, support and guidance as the symptoms progress.

Knowing early symptoms and getting treatment right away can mitigate some of the effects of Alzheimer’s on the brain. It’s essential for those diagnosed to maintain healthy lifestyles and build strong support systems so that they can remain alert and active as long as possible. Although Alzheimer’s is still a serious disease, science is continuing to uncover potential treatments to reduce its impact on seniors and their families.

Understanding Multiple Sclerosis

An immune-mediated disease, multiple sclerosis is a progressive disorder characterized by a wide assortment of unpredictable symptoms that vary in intensity. The condition causes your immune system to mistakenly attack healthy tissue in your central nervous system that control functions required for daily life. The disease disrupts the flow of information within your brain as well as its ability to communicate with the rest of your body. The diminished function means that nerve signals are not transmitted through your body correctly. This causes poor coordination and other problems.

Signs and Symptoms

When your nerves do not function properly, you may experience the following issues:

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Pain and Spasms

According to a study conducted by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, approximately 50 percent of sufferers experienced chronic pain especially in their backs. Other common symptoms include stiff muscles and joints as well as painful uncontrollable spasms of the extremities, particularly the legs.

Muscle Weakness or Fatigue

Approximately 80 percent of people in the early stages of MS report unexplained fatigue and weakness. As the nerves in the spinal column deteriorate, chronic fatigue becomes a problem. The fatigue appears suddenly and can last for several weeks before subsiding. Muscle weakness typically occurs in the legs first.

Numbness and Tingling

Because MS affects the brain and spinal cord, the body’s message control center, it can cause conflicting signals to be sent to various parts of your body producing a tingling sensation. At other times, nerve signals are not sent, which causes numbness. In addition to the face and arms, the symptoms can occur in the fingers, legs and toes.

Difficulty Walking

Dizziness as well as problems with balance and coordination can decrease your mobility. Individuals suffering from MS often report feelings of lightheadedness and vertigo. The symptoms usually occur when the person attempts to stand up.

Blurred or Double Vision

Inflammation of the optic nerve disrupts central vision. This can lead to blurred or double vision as well as blindness in severe cases. Vision usually degenerates over time and may be accompanied by pain when the person moves their eyes to the side or looks up.

Sexual Dysfunction

People suffering from MS may experience a problem with sexual arousal as the disease blocks the signals from transiting through the central nervous system.

Poor Bowel or Bladder Control

Up to 80 percent of people who have MS will experience a dysfunctional bladder. The disease may cause frequent urination, send strong urges to urinate or cause an inability to urinate. Individuals also experience constipation, diarrhea and a loss of bowel control.

Cognitive and Emotional Problems

Approximately 50 percent of MS sufferers will develop issues with their cognitive performance. These include language problems like slurred speech and difficulty staying organized. Along with poor concentration and forgetfulness, the negative effect of MS on your quality of life may also lead to depression and other emotional health problems, such as irritability and mood swings.

Other Symptoms

Each person suffering from MS will experience his or her own unique set of symptoms. These health issues may occur during periods of attack or relapse. In addition to the aforementioned symptoms, MS patients may also experience uncontrollable shaking, hearing loss and seizures as well as trouble breathing and swallowing.

What Is MS?

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, debilitating disease that adversely affects your central nervous system. The illness occurs when your immune system attacks myelin, the protective, fatty tissue that surrounds nerve fibers. Without the protective coating, nerves are susceptible to damage. Scar tissue may form affecting how well the nerves function.

Scientists believe that MS is triggered in a genetically predisposed individual by a currently unidentified environmental factor. While the cause of MS is uncertain, several risk factors make contracting the disease more likely, such as smoking tobacco. The disease typically occurs after the person has contracted a viral infection, such as the human herpes virus 6 (HHV-6) and the Epstein-Barr virus. These infections may trigger the condition or cause a relapse.

Some research indicates that higher amounts of vitamin D, which the skin synthesizes when exposed to sunlight, may strengthen the immune system. Ongoing research in the areas of epidemiology, genetics and immunology is being conducted to find the cause and the cure. The research will also help scientists develop more effective treatment options.

What to Expect After a Diagnosis

MS cannot be diagnosed with a single test. Your physician will review your medical history, conduct a neurological exam and order a series of diagnostic tests. The results will help rule out other potential causes and confirm a MS diagnosis. After receiving the results, you will probably have many questions and concerns.

The first step is to learn everything that you can about the disease, including any potential impact on your employment. The information will help you understand the illness, its symptoms and the treatment strategies that are available. You should also ask about resources and support groups available for yourself and family members so that you can effectively manage your symptoms and enjoy the best possible quality of life.

How to Live with MS

Most people suffering from MS find ways to manage their symptoms and function well in the face of the unique challenges presented by the illness. People share the struggles and coping strategies with local and online support groups. For the best outcome, you should consult a doctor who has experience treating the disease.

If you take prescription medications, it is important that you follow the correct dosing schedule to receive the optimum benefits. Diet and exercise are also essential for your condition. You should eat a well-balanced diet that provides sufficient nutrients and fiber while restricting empty calories. Regular exercise is important for your physical and mental health. Ask your physician for diet and exercise recommendations designed for people with the neurological disorder.

Studies demonstrate that individuals with MS also benefit from stress-reduction activities, such as meditation, tai chi and hypnotherapy as well as acupuncture and massage therapy. MS is a lifelong illness so it is important that you communicate with all your health care providers on a regular basis. In addition to addressing your concerns and problems, the medical team can customize a treatment protocol that works best for your condition.

Treatment Options

Although there is currently no cure for MS, several treatment options are available. If you suffer from MS, you may be prescribed one of several disease-modifying drugs that are designed to slow its progression, reduce your relapse rate and ease symptoms. These may include oral or self-injectable medications. Your doctor may also prescribe corticosteroids and medications designed to treat specific symptoms as well as the stress that accompanies the condition.

In addition to teaching you how to keep up your strength and balance, physical therapy has the ability to alleviate your pain and fatigue. Occupational therapy will show you ways to perform daily tasks in ways that make them easier to perform. If you have trouble walking, you may be advised to use braces, a cane crutches or mobility scooter. These treatments and lifestyle changes will help you remain as independent as possible as you cope with MS.

The Top 5 Public Storage Facilities in the US

At some point, just about everyone finds themselves in need of self-storage. Whether it’s because of moving, downsizing or for any other imaginable reason, having easy access to safe, secure storage facilities is incredibly convenient. Because of this, self-storage is widely available across the country. In the U.S. alone, more than 2.63 billion square feet of rentable space is available across more than 54,000 public storage facilities.

As ubiquitous as they are, chances are that you can take your pick from several self-storage facilities in your area. The question, of course, is how to determine which one suits your needs the best. Because they typically have the best facilities, prices and features, the country’s top public storage facility companies are a great place to start your search. Even if none of the following facilities is available in your area, use the information below to gain a clear understanding of what constitutes high-quality public storage.

Without further ado, here are the top five public self-storage facilities in the country:

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1. Public Storage

Headquartered in Glendale, California, Public Storage is the largest public storage company in the United States. With more than 142 million square feet of rentable space across the country, it’s also one of the largest landlords in the world.

Since its founding in 1972, Public Storage has secured its place at the top of the list of the top public storage facilities in the country. Some of the top advantages of renting storage space from Public Storage include:

  • Free reservations with no credit card required
  • Flexible lease terms with no long-term commitments
  • Offers convenient access hours to tenants
  • Provides personalized access codes for enhanced security
  • Climate-controlled units available
  • Sizes ranging from compact to 10′ x 30′ available

In 2016, Public Storage reported more than $2.56 billion in revenue.

2. Extra Space Storage

Since opening for business in 1977, Extra Space Storage has risen to become one of the most well-known public storage facility companies in the country. With nearly 400 facilities across 38 states and more than 103 million square feet of rentable space across more than 9 million units, Extra Space Storage also happens to be the second largest public storage facility in the U.S.

Some of the top benefits of renting self-storage space from Extra Space Storage include:

  • Offers sizes ranging from 5′ x 5′ to 10′ x 30′
  • Convenient locations in nearly 40 states across the country
  • Secure electronic gate systems at most facilities
  • Moving and packing supplies available on-site
  • Units with individual alarms available
  • Company’s “Clean and Green” standard ensures clean, safe facilities

In 2016, Extra Space Storage reported $991.87 million in revenue.

3. U-Haul Moving and Storage

A subsidiary of U-Haul International, a company that is better known for moving truck rentals, U-Haul Moving and Storage has nearly 1,500 locations across the United States. Its parent company was founded in 1945, so U-Haul has a solid reputation in general as well as a long track record. Currently, the company has more than 261,000 public storage units offering more than 49 million square feet of rentable space.

Some of the top advantages of renting a self-storage unit from U-Haul Moving and Storage include:

  • Often offers deals, including first month free
  • Backed up by a reputable company with a long track record
  • Convenient U-Box service lets you pack, move and store your belongings using one set of boxes
  • All locations are open seven days per week
  • Most locations offer 24/7 access
  • No deposits required
  • Online payments available

In 2016, U-Haul Moving and Storage reported more than $247 million in revenue.

4. CubeSmart

From its headquarters in Malvern, Pennsylvania, CubeSmart operates a chain of public storage facilities across the country. Self-administered and self-managed, the more than 800 facilities that the company operates offer a combined total of more than 49 million square feet of rentable storage space. Founded in 2004, CubeSmart also offers SuperStores that include a wide array of business, moving and storage services.

A few of the top advantages of renting self-storage space from CubeSmart include:

  • Flexible, month-to-month lease terms available
  • Storage customization to suit all storage needs
  • Premium services include shelving options, remote control access, automatic door openers, individual lighting and electricity and more
  • Sizes ranging from lockers to 10′ x 30′
  • People’s Choice Stevie Awards recipient in 2016 for Sales and Customer Service
  • Offers first month free

In 2016, CubeSmart reported more than $510 million in revenue.

5. Life Storage

Rounding out our list is Life Storage. Founded in 1982 and based in Buffalo, New York, the company currently operates more than 650 public self-storage facilities across 29 states. All told, Life Storage offers more than 45.5 million square feet of rentable space across nearly 60,000 self-storage units.

Some of the top reasons to rent self-storage space from Life Storage include:

  • Password-protected access control systems
  • Drive-up units available at many locations
  • Supplies and moving containers available on-site
  • Close-circuit security cameras for enhanced security
  • Climate-controlled storage available
  • Available sizes range from 5′ x 5′ to 20′ x 20′
  • RV, boat and car storage available

In 2016, Life Storage, Inc., reported more than $462 million in revenue.

Conclusion

As you can see, the country’s top public storage facilities are fairly evenly matched in terms of offerings. The best part of all is that no matter where you are or where you’re going, it’s sure to be easy to find safe, clean, secure public self-storage in the area.

What You Need to Know About Picking the Perfect Mattress

When you shop for a new bed, simply buying a high-quality product won’t guarantee that your needs are met. A good bed shouldn’t just be comfortable, it should improve the quality of your rest. It’s an important buying decision that the average American makes every seven years, you should make it count.

Comfort, durability, and cost are a few things to consider. You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to save your back from the aches and pains of a lumpy, old mattress. Sleep affects your health, mood and productivity so don’t skimp on quality. Even if you purchase a high-end mattress for $1,000, the cost is just $125 per year over its lifespan and that’s a small price to pay for good rest. If you’re tired of waking up tired, here’s what you need to know about picking the perfect mattress.

Picking a Mattress That’s Just Right

Size is an important factor when choosing the right mattress. If you like to sprawl out, you won’t be as comfortable on a small mattress. There’s no need to stick with the same mattress size even if you already own a big stack of sheets for the bed. Your comfort should always be the highest priority. Here’s a list of the various sizes of mattress and their benefits:

  • Twin beds are popular and versatile. They measure 39 inches by 75 inches. This size is perfect for daybeds and bunks. Although single mattresses are best suited for children, they’re great for guest rooms when used alone or in pairs.
  • Whether you call it a full or a double, this is an appropriate size for smaller bedrooms or solo sleepers who like a little extra width. At 54 inches wide by 75 inches long, a full mattress is 15 inches wider than a twin but just as long.
  • Queen mattresses consistently represent between 30 and 40 percent of bed sales. A queen mattress is 60 inches wide and 80 inches long, which is ideal for two adults or solo sleepers who crave the extra room. This is the optimal size for most bedrooms.
  • A standard king-sized bed measures 76 inches wide and 80 inches long. You can attach two twin-sized box springs and mattresses to create a split-king that’s 78 by 75 inches. This configuration is 5 inches shorter and 2 inches wider than a standard king. Smaller mattresses are easier to move, and you can separate them for guests.
  • The California king was created in the 1960s by a Los Angeles-based furniture company that outfitted local mansions. This mattress is 72 inches wide and 84 inches long, so it’s 4 inches narrower and 4 inches longer than a standard king.

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Mattress Materials and Styles

Today, you can choose from many unique mattress styles. Don’t limit yourself to conventional coil springs. There are exciting alternatives that you can try out in local mattress retailers, some of which we’ve listed below:

  • Nine out of 10 mattresses sold today feature traditional innersprings. However, this style has the lowest satisfaction rate. Only 63 percent of owners are happy with them.
  • Memory foam is increasingly popular. Body heat softens the polyurethane foam slightly so that it molds around your body. There’s also no need to flip these mattresses.
  • Latex mattresses are an eco-friendly alternative to memory foam. They are more durable and spring back rapidly. Even people who have latex sensitivities can use them.
  • Hybrid mattresses combine the support of innersprings with the comfort of pressure-relieving foam.
  • Air mattresses, waterbeds and futons may also meet your needs.

How to Choose the Correct Mattress Firmness or Softness

Did you know that mattress manufacturers use a 10-point softness scale? Lower numbers on this scale are firmer while higher numbers are softer. Mattresses designed for universal comfort measure between five and seven, so they are slightly soft while still providing a fair level of support. Although you should never sacrifice comfort, it’s good to remember that firm mattresses last longer and aren’t prone to sagging. Here are a few tips for selecting the correct firmness:

  • Softer mattresses are best for children and adults who have bony joints.
  • Firm and medium-firm mattresses are recommended for adults weighing over 230 pounds.
  • If you’re a side sleeper, choose a medium-soft mattress.
  • Stomach sleepers benefit from the moderate support of a medium or universal comfort mattress.
  • Medium-firm mattresses are best for back sleepers.

Average Prices for Popular Mattress Styles

Depending on your budget and the size that you’re purchasing, you might spend a few hundred dollars or a few thousand. More than 30 percent of Americans spent less than $500 on their current mattress. An additional 40 percent spent between $500 and $1,000.

  • Most customers are equally satisfied with mid-range and high-end mattresses.
  • High-end mattresses last longer than mid-range and low-cost products.
  • Lower cost mattresses rank better when they’re used occasionally or in a guest bedroom.

Before you shop for a new mattress, consider your budget, the level of comfort that you require and how often the mattress will be used. Here’s what you need to know about picking the perfect mattress for your budget:

  • Innerspring mattresses range from $200 to $2,000. The average cost is $940.
  • The average price of a premium air mattress is over $2,000.
  • Latex mattresses cost $1,600 on average.
  • The average cost of a memory foam mattress is $1,370.
  • Standard foam mattresses cost approximately $900.
  • Waterbeds and futons sell for less than $200 on average.

Top Mattress Companies

Mattresses from over 600 manufacturers are available in the United States. Some brands like Sealy have been around since the 1880s. Others were established recently. Approximately 70 percent of mattresses are sold by these five dominant brands:

  1. Sealy
  2. Tempur-Pedic
  3. Serta
  4. Simmons
  5. Comfort Select

Other Mattress Brands

Don’t overlook lesser-known brands. Newer companies work hard to offer superior products, excellent service and competitive prices. Some brands ship compressed foam mattresses directly to your home. Here are a few companies to consider:

  • Amerisleep
  • Bed in a Box
  • Brooklyn Bedding
  • Casper
  • Essentia
  • GhostBed
  • Helix
  • Leesa
  • Loom & Leaf
  • Purple
  • Saatva
  • Tuft & Needle

Six Things to Consider When Buying a Mattress Online

Buying a mattress online is an excellent way to save time and money. Follow these tips to enjoy a successful shopping experience:

  1. Check the shipping cost. Most companies offer free shipping or flat-rate delivery.
  2. Determine how long you have to try the mattress. Leading companies let you test their mattresses for up to three months.
  3. Find out if returns or exchanges are available. Usually, companies have third-party services that pick up unwanted mattresses for recycling or donation.
  4. Watch out for hidden fees that apply to exchanges or returns.
  5. Compare prices, products, and services. It’s worth paying a little more to work with a company that’s fair and responsive.
  6. Internet companies generally don’t offer free mattress removal. You’ll have to donate your old mattress or hire a disposal service.

You have so many options for choosing a comfortable, well-made mattress that will last for years. When making a purchase, keep the following in mind: take your time, weigh your choices, and check reviews ahead of time. If you purchase your mattress from the maker or through a specialty retailer, you’ll have time to try it in your home. That’s much better than testing it in a store where everything feels comfortable for a few minutes.

How to Get Your Allergies Under Control

More than 50 million people in the United States suffer from allergies. Seasonal allergies can cause sneezing, runny nose, and congestion. Pollen, mold, and pet dander are all things that can make you feel awful during the spring. Whether you have food, seasonal, or medical related allergies, there are steps that you can take to get your allergies under control.

What Triggers Allergies?

Before you can treat your allergies, you must learn what is causing them to occur. If you cannot figure out what you are allergic to, you can visit your doctor for a skin test. The doctor may place some of the suspected allergen under your skin so that he or she can monitor how your body reacts.

Some of the most common allergens that bother people include the following:

  • Dust mites
  • Tree pollen
  • Grass pollen
  • Mold
  • Animal dander

Sometimes, medicine triggers allergies. If you are allergic to penicillin or aspirin, you may experience hives, itchy skin and nausea after taking the medication. Your symptoms can range from mild to severe. If you suspect that you are allergic to medication, make sure to discuss the concerns with your doctor.

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How to Deal with the Symptoms

You may be allergic to multiple things. Make sure to keep notes on all your symptoms so that you can share the information with your doctor. Keep track of when the symptoms started and how long they lasted. Your doctor can use this information to help pinpoint what allergens are affecting your health. Once you know what is triggering your allergies, you can start dealing with the symptoms.

  1. Control Pet Dander

If you have a pet, you may sneeze a lot and develop a runny nose. Dogs, cats, and other animals release dander everywhere they go. This dander can get in your eyes, nose, and lungs. While most allergy symptoms pop up immediately, you can also develop symptoms nearly 12 hours later.

Keep your home vacuumed to help control the dander. To be on the safe side, don’t let your pet in your bedroom to avoid getting doused in dander while you sleep. Plus, you should also brush your pet outdoors regularly to help keep allergens from your house.

  1. Manage the Pollen Around Your House

Pollen is an annoying allergen to deal with in the spring. If you suffer from seasonal allergies, then you may need to modify your daily routine to handle your allergy symptoms.

Start by keeping your windows shut in the car and at home, and use the air conditioning to deal with the heat. Pollen levels usually peak in the morning, so you should avoid doing outdoorsy activities until later in the day.

  1. Prevent Mold from Growing

Most mold spores are outside, but you may have mold growing inside your house. This is especially true if your house has a plumbing problem. Getting rid of the mold will help relieve your allergy symptoms. For example, you can use a bleach and detergent mix to remove mold from around your shower.

Mold spores from vegetation can go airborne, so you may also develop allergic reactions when outside. Allergic reactions to mold commonly occur in July and August.

  1. Treat Dust Mites

Those who are allergic to dust mites often experience the same symptoms as those who are allergic to pollen. The only difference is that dust mite allergies occur year-round instead of just during the spring.

Besides taking medication to relieve your symptoms, you can also place dust mite covers over your mattresses and pillows. Try washing your sheets in hot water at least once a week. You can also help relieve your symptoms by switching your pillows with hypoallergenic ones.

  1. Prevent Bug Bites

Various insects can cause you to develop an allergic reaction if they bite or sting you. Bees, wasps, fire ants, and yellow jackets can cause you to experience pain, redness, and inflammation.

To help prevent an allergic reaction from happening, you should take steps to prevent insects from attacking you. For example, avoid wearing brightly colored clothing when spending time in the yard. You should also keep bug spray handy, use unscented lotion, and avoid walking barefoot outside.

While none of these methods will cure your allergies, they can help you deal with the symptoms. Your goal should be to eliminate the allergens that are causing you problems. For example, you should eliminate any food from your diet that causes you to develop allergic reactions. If you are allergic to dust, try to keep your home as clean as possible to reduce your symptoms.

Finding a Medication That Works Best

Even if you do everything possible to avoid pollen and other allergens, you may still need medication to help ease your symptoms. Make sure to discuss medications with your doctor before you start taking any. Some allergy medications require a prescription. Your doctor can answer any questions or concerns that you have about the side effects.

Antihistamines

Antihistamines can be taken as a pill or a nasal spray. The pill helps relieve a runny nose, sneezing and itching, while the nasal spray treats congestion and postnasal drip. If your symptoms are continuous, you may want to take an over-the-counter pill. These pills can make you drowsy, but they can also make your symptoms disappear for longer.

Some of the most common antihistamines include the following:

  • Zyrtec
  • Clarinex
  • Claritin
  • Allegra

Decongestants

A decongestant can unclog your stuffy nose and help your upper respiratory tract. Decongestants reduce swelling and mucus formation. These drugs are available as pills, liquids, or sprays. Decongestants treat your allergies, but you may need to try other medication if you have heart problems or high blood pressure.

Nasal Steroids

Since you spray nasal steroids directly into your nose, this form of medication is the most popular among those who suffer from seasonal allergies. These drugs help relieve common hay fever symptoms including congestion, sneezing, and runny nose. Doctors often recommend that you take this medication before pollen season even begins.

There are three popular forms of steroid sprays available:

  • Rhinocort Allergy
  • Flonase
  • Nasacort Allergy 24HR

Allergy Shots

Doctors use allergy shots to retrain your immune system. Each time that you get a shot, the doctor will gradually increase the amount of pollen that he or she injects into your system. The goal of getting these shots is to have your body build up a resistance to pollen so that it will not go into allergy mode. This is more of a long-term option. In fact, it may take three to five years to get results.

Medical Combinations

Some allergy treatment options combine more than one type of drug. If you are struggling to find a medication that works best, you may want to try one of these products. Allegra-D, Claritin-D and Zyrtec-D are three examples of products that are both an antihistamine and a decongestant. These drugs help relieve congestion and runny noses.

Living With Joint Pain

Unfortunately, joint pain is something that almost everyone is familiar with. Whether you are the person who is suffering, or you know someone with joint pain, you can understand the physical and emotional toll chronic pain has on a person.

Many people with arthritis or related diseases live in near-constant pain, which can limit their movement and negatively impact their quality of life. While you may understand what chronic joint pain looks or even feels like, you may not fully understand how and why it happens.

Today’s post is dedicated to helping you not only understand why joint pain occurs but also what types are most common and what you can do to live your best life in spite of it.

Why Does Joint Pain Occur?

Before we can look at home remedies or professional treatment options, it is important to understand both the anatomy of your joints and how they function as well.

Most frequently, the joints that are causing pain are called synovial joints. This type of joint is what allows movements like bending your limbs, pivoting your neck, flexing your fingers, and walking or running with a smooth gait. Though synovial joints are found all throughout the body and take many different forms, they share a similar makeup. This similarity is what facilitates everyday motion, but it is also what causes so much pain when the joint wears down.

A joint is any place in your body where two bones come together. To prevent rough, bone-on-bone scraping, the ends of the bones are covered with a thin layer of sturdy cartilage. This is similar to covering wooden feet on furniture to prevent harsh scraping against a wood floor. An even thinner membrane covers the bone and cartilage surfaces of the joint, and inside this membrane is synovial fluid. Synovial fluid provides cushioning and lubrication for every joint so that motion is effortless and impact from movement is fully absorbed.

Joint pain occurs when one or more parts of your joint’s anatomy are not functioning properly. Sometimes, the source of the pain can even be the soft tissues surrounding your joint. Below are the most common types of joint pain and why they occur.

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Common Types of Joint Pain

By far, the most commonly seen type of joint pain is caused by arthritis. Contrary to common belief, arthritis is not a single condition but rather a blanket term that refers to over 100 different types of joint conditions. Generally speaking, arthritis is characterized by swelling, pain, stiffness and limited range of motion in one or more joints.

  1. Osteoarthritis

This is sometimes referred to as degenerative arthritis. With osteoarthritis, the protective layer of cartilage that was mentioned earlier wears away. Without the necessary cushioning, the bones rub together and cause pain, swelling and stiffness. Without treatment, the joint can weaken and become permanently misshapen.

  1. Inflammatory Arthritis

Essentially, this type of arthritis is an autoimmune disease, which means your immune system begins mistakenly attacking your own body. When this happens, the constant state of inflammation can lead to joint erosion and permanent internal damage if not managed properly.

Rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis are two common sources of this type of joint pain. This category of arthritis typically crops up because of genetic factors, but environmental triggers like smoking can increase the likelihood of these diseases.

  1. Metabolic Arthritis

Gout is the most common example of metabolic arthritis. Many of the foods we consume contain chemical compounds called purines. While purines are also created by our bodies as to use as building blocks, the purines we consume in food cannot be used. Instead, they are metabolized by the liver. Once the purines are broken down, the liver releases a waste product called uric acid, which is eventually filtered into our urine.

If too much uric acid builds up in the body because of excessive purine consumption or natural overproduction, it can lead to a buildup of sharp, needle-like uric acid crystals in the joints. These crystals are the reason that gout is such a painful disease, and they are also the reason that some forms of gout are intermittent.

  1. Non-Arthritic Joint Pain

There are some cases where the pain felt in a joint is caused by ligaments or tissues surrounding the joint. If this is the case, the most frequent culprits are fibromyalgia, bursitis or tendinitis.

Fibromyalgia affects both muscles and soft tissue, causing widespread pain. Bursitis is an inflammation of the bursae, which are the fluid-filled sacs that cushion your joints. Tendinitis occurs when the cord that connects your bone and muscle, called a tendon, becomes inflamed or irritated through overuse.

Joint Pain Remedies

For short-term relief of joint pain, following a regimen of rest, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs, compression and temperature therapy can be useful.

If possible, immobilizing the painful joint with a brace or splint can alleviate pain by allowing the joint to rest. Taking drugs like acetaminophen or naproxen at regular intervals can also help by minimizing inflammation, which will decrease the pain. If the joint is swollen, applying gentle compression can reduce the fluid buildup and prevent any further swelling. For inflamed joints, utilizing an ice pack for 15 to 20 minutes at a time can lessen pain. For tightness or spasms, applying heat instead can relieve the spasms and lessen the pain.

Prognosis

Living with joint pain doesn’t mean you have to stop doing things you love. In fact, staying active and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can significantly improve many instances of joint pain. Consider trying a new, low-impact activity such as swimming, yoga or cycling.

Making small changes to your diet can help you manage joint pain as well. Not only will weight loss reduce the amount of stress on your joints, but foods like fresh fruits, leafy greens, lean proteins and whole grains can help reduce inflammation and increase energy levels.

One final tip is to take extra time with self-care. Practices like mindfulness and meditation can help you manage pain while keeping a positive outlook. In addition, simple things like soaking in a warm bath, consistently applying topical medication or opting for a regular massage to keep swelling down can make a huge impact on your well-being.

Finding Treatment for Joint Pain

If your joint pain is persistent or severe, it’s time to seek help. Most doctors and orthopedic specialists will formulate a customized treatment plan that is tailored to your specific needs.

For many, once pain levels are under control, a physical therapy regimen is recommended so you can retain a full range of motion in the affected joints. Some specialists recommend supplemental care like chiropractic treatments or massage therapy, and others will be able to give you specialized lifestyle tips and support through every stage of your treatment.

Occasionally, the answer to your joint pain is surgery. This is generally a last resort for treatment specialists, but there are times when it is the best, most effective option. Schedule an appointment with your doctor sooner rather than later to discuss what your options are.

Joint pain is an inevitable part of life for most people, but now that you understand how and why it happens, you will be able to make better, more informed choices about overcoming it.

The Best Companies for Inkjet Cartridges

We’ve all lived through the pain of having an inkjet cartridge run dry at the exact moment you try to print something important. Unfortunately, replacements often prove nearly as difficult to find as the right watch batteries or vacuum cleaner bags. You might scour several stores before finding an affordable cartridge that fits your printer. To avoid this hassle, it’s helpful to research various companies and identify the best supplier before you desperately need ink.

Inkjet Manufacturers

The top printer brands out there will typically have online stores that sell ink cartridges. You can find them by visiting the websites of Hewlett-Packard, Epson or Canon. These trusted manufacturers offer well-made products that are guaranteed to work with printers they produce; Consumer Reports has determined that brand-name cartridges generally deliver the best print quality. This ink also resists fading more reliably than the alternatives. However, printer companies often charge the highest prices.

If you prefer to visit a store, you can purchase the same cartridges from department and office supply retailers. They include Sears, Kohl’s, Target, Staples, and Office Depot. Best Buy also carries brand-name ink. These reputable companies sell high-quality merchandise, but you probably won’t find any amazing bargains.

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Worthwhile Alternatives

Various online and offline retailers carry remanufactured, generic or refilled cartridges. These products cost substantially less than ink from equipment manufacturers, and they won’t void your printer’s warranty. Nevertheless, you may notice differences in performance or capacity. When PC World tested them, it found that they usually contain more ink than brand-name cartridges but produce somewhat poorer results.

Office supply and discount department stores sell remanufactured units. You can buy reliable cartridges for many common printers at Staples and Office Depot. Kmart carries Dataproducts inks which generally cost anywhere between $13 and $35. The cartridges are compatible with equipment made by companies like HP, Brother and Epson. Most customer ratings range from three to four stars.

In addition to HP products, Rite Aid drug stores supply a small selection of Ink For Dummies remanufactured cartridges. Some units cost as little as $13. This retailer provides the most convenient ink source for many East Coast residents. You can easily find valuable coupon codes for this company’s website, and shipping becomes free if you spend at least $35.

Some additional benefits of shopping through Ink For Dummies:

  • Occasional offers of 25 percent off
  • Over 4,500 stores across the U.S.
  • Low threshold for free shipping

Cartridge World shops sell affordable remanufactured products. However, the greater overhead expenses of a store make it difficult for them to match the prices of some online retailers. You may achieve greater savings by using CW’s refill service. This company has earned decent reviews from shoppers. Keep in mind that the stores operate as franchises; product selections and costs vary by location.

Purchasing Online

Amazon.com carries remanufactured and brand-name inkjet supplies at a wide range of prices. Numerous high-end units cost over $30, while less noteworthy ones sell for roughly $10. The remanufactured products typically garner ratings that range from 2.4 to 3.2 stars, so be sure to read reviews before purchasing. On the other hand, most buyers give considerably higher scores when reviewing brand-name cartridges.

If you’re looking for dependable remanufactured cartridges at reasonable prices, think about ordering them from Kodak’s website. This company offers ink for Canon, HP, Epson and Brother equipment. Its cartridges include a one-year warranty and haven’t been remanufactured more than once. It’s worth noting that Kodak doesn’t make these products; they come from a separate firm known as eReplacements.

Newegg provides another mid-priced option. This well-regarded tech retailer sells some remanufactured cartridges, but it primarily carries brand-name units. You can find quality ink for Epson, Lexmark, Canon, Brother, and HP printers on its website. A downside of using Newegg is that it won’t allow you to exchange or return an ink cartridge after you open the package.

Smaller Inkjet Companies

Little-known retailers and manufacturers frequently offer the lowest prices. They don’t have billionaire CEOs or huge marketing budgets. However, you’ll need to exercise greater caution when conducting business with these companies. Some have received numerous negative reviews because of inadequate customer service, poor reliability or drab ink that quickly fades. If a seller doesn’t carefully test or inspect its products, they could seriously damage your printer.

CompAndSave.com represents one of the best sources of inexpensive generic and remanufactured printer supplies. This California firm started selling ink over a decade ago, and it has earned an A- score from the Better Business Bureau. Many customers have posted favorable reviews as well. CompAndSave sells some items for less than $10, and it guarantees products for an entire year. The generous return policy appeals to people who order multiple cartridges at a time.

Castle Ink carries similar merchandise and has remained in business for 12 years. Customers praise its quality, speed and low prices. If you buy a product from this company, you may choose to return it within three months. Castle Ink offers cartridges for HP, Canon, Dell, Epson, Lexmark and Xerox printers.

Florida-based InkPal.com ships a variety of eco-friendly ink products. When you browse its website, you’ll find both generic and remanufactured cartridges. InkPal began to sell printer supplies over eight years ago. It receives fairly positive reviews and maintains an A+ rating at the Better Business Bureau. If you spend $50, you’ll qualify for free shipping. Military, nonprofit, government, education and bulk discounts apply. You can return defective products within six months.

The best inkjet cartridge company is different for each individual. Order brand-name ink from the printer manufacturer or a top office supply store if you have plenty of cash and only care about quality. On the other hand, you might visit the nearest drug store when you don’t have any time to spare. Small online retailers provide the best solution if you’re willing to deal with an obscure company and wait for shipping.

How to Find the Best Cable and Internet Packages

If you’re like most consumers, you enjoy watching television and surfing the internet to pass the time, but hate the unfair price models that come with having both. When it comes to their monthly bills, a lot of people are paying more than needed because they don’t put in the effort to review alternative packages. When you want to reduce your monthly spending, bundling your television and internet services is a smart move that you won’t want to overlook. You’ll enjoy many benefits when you opt for a package deal, but you’ll still need to consider what path makes the most sense for your needs. If you are not sure where to start and want help, the following information will point you in the right direction.

Cable Service Providers

When your goal is to save money by signing up for a package deal, researching some of the top cable companies is a good place from which to start. After you understand what each one has to offer, you’ll be able to make your decision with confidence and peace of mind. Taking the time to check different prices and specials will prevent you from overpaying. Once you review the channels that you can get, you won’t have much trouble finding a deal that makes sense.

Time Warner Cable

If you would like to get some of the top channels without spending too much money, Time Warner Cable could be the company for which you have been looking. When you decide to move forward, the amount that you can expect to pay will depend on the deals that the company is offering at the time. You can choose the standard cable package that comes with more than 100 channels, or you can upgrade and enjoy more than 200 channels, including HBO, Showtime, the NFL Network and more. If you sign up for one of Time Warner Cable’s deals, you’ll be happy to know that you won’t need to sign a contract, allowing you to cancel the service whenever you want if you are not happy with it.

Verizon Fios

If Verizon Fios is available in your area, you’ll enjoy several advantages that other providers don’t offer. For example, Fios allows you to pick the channels that you want to watch the most, meaning that you’ll never pay a penny for a channel that doesn’t appeal to you. Even though Fios might cost a little more than the competition, signing up is worth the price if you want access to popular channels and over 170,000 on-demand titles. You’ll need to live in a covered area if you want to use the service, which is one of the biggest downsides.

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Internet Service Providers

Since all streaming services are dependent on having a high-speed connection and a lot of video games offer online play, having an internet connection is vital for those who live in the modern world. The internet providers and deals to which you’ll have access will depend on where you live. Some people choose the first internet provider that comes to mind, but doing so is a mistake that you need to avoid.

Comcast

As far as internet providers are concerned, Comcast is one of the most popular because of the options it provides the customers, allowing you to choose an internet package based on your needs. If you don’t plan on downloading large files or streaming movies, you can save a lot of money by getting their value package. Alternatively, they offer unlimited internet packages that allow you to stream and download to your hearts content without restriction. But those who use a lot of data and desire fast download speeds will also be paying more for the added freedom.

Time Warner Cable

Time Warner Cable is also a top choice when you need an internet provider that won’t let you down. In addition to offering a fast connection, Time Warner Cable will also pay up to $500 to help you get out of an existing contract.

Benefits of Bundling Packages

Even though comparing different companies and the prices that they offer will allow you to save money, it’s not enough if you would like to enjoy the best possible results. If you want to take your savings to the next level, find a provider in your area that has bundle deals. When you do so, you’ll even save time because you won’t need to pay separate bills. Also, many companies offer extras to those who opt for a bundle deal, such as additional data or channels. If you want to get the most from your time and money, ask prospective providers what they can do for you.

How to Pick the Right Package

As you search for a bundle deal that makes sense for you and your family, you’ll likely wonder how you can find a viable option. You can start by creating a list of the things you want to do with your package.

List Your Needs

Consider the channels that you want to watch before you finalize the process, but you’ll also need to think about how you spend your time online. If you play games or like to download programs and movies, you’ll need a fast connection and a lot of data. On the other hand, those who only surf the web can reach their goals with a bundle that has average connection speeds.

Compare Your Options

With your list of needs on hand, you are now ready to compare the options from which you can choose. Looking online to check prices, download speeds and channels is a good start. You’ll then need to call each provider so that you can speak with a customer service agent. This will allow you to ask about deals that the companies don’t list on their websites, and you’ll often find that they are willing to negotiate to get you on board. Rather than accepting the first appealing offer, always speak with several providers if you want to make the right call.

Final Thoughts

If you want to get internet and cable at an unbelievable price, you must always look at the providers in your area and ask about their specials and discounts. As even more cable and internet providers hit the market, they will need to have competitive prices to avoid falling behind, and you can take advantage of the trend. You can increase your savings by getting both services as a bundle deal from a single provider, and you’ll be glad that you did once you see your bill for the first time. As a final step, you’ll need to compare the deals that make sense to you and determine which one meets your needs better than the others.

Key Information for Hair Growth

Although we all experience it in one form or another, hair loss is an eventuality nobody wants to think about. The odds of hair loss increase as you age, and most people don’t know what to do when it finally happens. If you believe that you’ve started to lose your hair, you are likely feeling discouraged and hopeless. Luckily, you can combat and reverse hair loss if you follow the right steps and keep a few tips in mind. Understanding the causes of hair loss and the ways you can combat it will help, which is why we’re here. In many cases, people can slow or stop the hair loss process in no time by making some active changes in their life.

Signs That Your Hair Is Thinning

Learning the recognize the warning signs is the first step towards protecting yourself from hair loss. As soon as you spot any of the red flags, it’s vital that you act right away if you don’t want the problem to progress. Thinning hair could indicate that you are experiencing the early stages of hair loss, but this warning sign isn’t entirely indicative of a larger problem. If the hair near the center of your scalp is thinner than the hair on the rest of your head, you could have a problem on your hands. Also, you might notice hair loss on other parts of your body before your head shows the symptoms. Since preventing hair loss is much easier than replacing lost hair, staying vigilant can work wonders when it comes to safeguarding yourself.

Causes of Hair Loss

When you notice that you are losing hair, learning about the causes can help put your mind at ease. Hormonal changes, scalp infections and skin disorders are some of the most common reasons people lose the hair on their head and the other parts of their bodies. Additionally, high levels of stress can also cause this problem if you don’t do something to prevent it. When you feel stress, your body will produce a hormone called cortisol, which can damage your skin and hair. Although understanding why you are losing hair can help you relax, it’s not enough when you want to get the situation under control.

Hair Loss Solutions for Women

If you are a woman who is losing hair and are ready to handle the issue, the following information will help. You will soon have several strategies on hand that will enhance your odds of growing and maintaining a full head of hair.

Don’t Bleach Your Hair

If you are like many women who want to improve their appearance, you have likely colored your hair at some point. A lot of people believe that standard hair dye can cause hair loss, but the issue is more complicated than that. Using a high-end product to change the color of your hair by one or two shades should not cause any problems.

If you use bleach to remove the color of your hair, you are causing a lot of damage that can result in hair loss. Bleaching your hair on a regular basis is even more dangerous, and you will need to stop if you want to reverse the damage, giving your hair the chance to heal. For some people, this small change is enough to offer noticeable improvements, but everyone is different.

Start a Meditation or Yoga Routine

Since stress can contribute to hair loss, working to reduce your levels of stress can go a long way when it comes to fighting hair loss and the problems that accompany it. You can begin by getting your life organized and staying ahead of your daily obligations, but you can also try a range of relaxation techniques.

If you are serious about preventing hair loss, consider meditating for 10 minutes several times each week, and you will notice the benefits within a month. You will want to sit in a quiet room and turn off all distractions so that you can clear your head. During each session, focus on your breathing patterns, taking slow and deep breaths, and you should feel the stress fading away with each cycle that you complete. Many women have reported positive results after using yoga, and you can give it a try if you want to see what it can do for you.

Be Gentle With Your Hair

Pony tails, braids and buns are harsh on your hair follicles and can cause them to degrade over time. If you use any of these hairstyles, you might want to stop so that you don’t cause unneeded harm. Since the damage is subtle and happens over time, most women don’t even know about the threat until it’s too late for them to respond.

If your style has caused you to lose hair, dropping the ponytail should reverse the problem within a few weeks. You can still style your hair if you take steps to avoid causing too much pressure. When you wear a ponytail, keeping it lower than your scalp will allow you to achieve the look you want without causing too many problems, but you can also change your style every week or two to give your scalp a break, reducing the risk even more.

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Hair Loss Solutions for Men

If you are a man and want to stop and reverse the symptoms of hair loss, you have come to the right place. Learning and understanding the following tactics will help you make the choice that makes sense for your situation.

Exercise

Since stress can cause you to lose your hair by increasing your cortisol production, putting in the effort to keep yourself in a positive mood will take you far. Working out three times each week will allow you to manage your stress levels, and you will feel better than ever after making it a habit. If you run or jog for 20 minutes at a time, you will enjoy the benefits in a few weeks. Some people have trouble fitting a workout routine into their lives, but you can try jogging once in the morning and again at night if you have a tight schedule.

Vitamins and Supplements

When you are looking for ways to prevent hair loss, you can find several vitamins and minerals that will do the trick. Taking vitamin C and zinc each day will give you the best odds of reaching your desired outcome, and you should notice positive changes in your hair without much delay. If you want to take this tip up a notch, ensure that you use high-quality products from trusted sources.

Final Thoughts

While losing your hair is an uncomfortable situation in which to find yourself, staying proactive and living a healthy lifestyle will help you get a handle on the problem. No matter your age or gender, caring for yourself is a wise move that you won’t want to ignore. Promptly responding as soon as you notice the red flags will give you the best possible results, allowing you to make your decision with confidence. If using at-home solutions does not stop the hair loss, you will need to contact a doctor to discover the source of the issue. Your doctor will take a look at the problem and help you choose the best course of action.

Hygiene for Woman

Women today are busier than ever before. It can be a real challenge to attempt to balance an active family life, social life, and a successful career. The last thing you want to worry about is intricacies of a hygiene and beauty routine. A good beauty routine will make you look and feel your best as you tackle all the challenges life throws your way. Additionally, good hygiene for woman will relax you rather than add to your stress.

Women tend to spend a much longer time in the shower than men, and for a good reason. Women typically have much longer hair, which requires a greater amount of time to wash and condition properly, as well as a greater body surface to shave. However, there are some things to consider before simply going out any buying any product off the shelf. Namely, the different types of skin and the oils that they produce.

There are three basic skin types that most us fall into; these are dry, oily, and combination skin. Not all skin types are created equal, and thus shouldn’t be treated the same. Each skin type requires body care products that are designed specifically for that type of skin, otherwise it can cause some small complications. We’ve gone through the trouble of sorting through various body wash products for each skin type and listing their benefits below!

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Body Wash for Dry Skin

For dry skin, Cetaphil Gentle Cleansing Bar is an excellent choice. Cetaphil bar soap is ultra moisturizing and gentle enough for even the most sensitive skin. It contains superior humectants that help lock in moisture to keep your skin hydrated for hours after your bath or shower. It is gentle enough to use from head to toe, so it is perfect for the delicate skin of your face as well. At approximately $3 per bar, the price can’t be beat also.

Another great choice for dry skin is the Dove Cream Bar. As the name implies, this bar soap lathers into a luxuriously creamy consistency that goes on practically like lotion. In the process, it creates a luscious barrier between your skin and the outside elements, trapping much-needed moisture deep inside the layers of your skin. It also provides a light, delicate scent that many women find appealing. At the cost of just $5 per bar, it is a cost-effective choice that provides a wonderful moisturizing effect.

Body Wash for Oily Skin

Oily skin comes with a unique set of issues. If you have oily skin, you probably have trouble controlling shine and you also likely experience a lot of breakouts. Finding products that help reduce shine without stripping your skin of its healthy oils can be difficult. The following are two of the best soaps for oily skin.

Firstly, Aveeno Clear Complexion provides an array of vitamins while helping keep the skin balanced. One of the primary ingredients in this soap is colloidal oatmeal, which is known in the beauty world for its oil balancing effects. Rich in antioxidants and salicylic acid, this soap also helps fight pimples. At approximately $6, Aveeno Clear Complexion solves multiple issues associated with oily skin at a fantastic price point.

Another great choice for oily skin is the Neutrogena Facial Cleansing Bar. Neutrogena is a well-known brand for providing products that help control the excess oil that clogs pores leading to pimples and blackheads. Free of artificial dyes and harsh ingredients, it is a great choice for even the most sensitive skin. At under $5 per bar, it provides superior oil control at an amazingly affordable price.

Body Wash for Combination Skin

Combination skin requires delicate care because it suffers from dry areas as well as areas that produce too much moisture. The following are three great choices for combination skin.

Neutrogena Ultra Light Cleansing Oil provides a nice balance of moisture and blemish fighting power. It completely removes makeup and other debris that leads to breakouts while washing away without stripping skin of vital moisture. At the cost of roughly $10, it’s an excellent choice for gaining better control of combination skin.

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser is also an excellent choice for combination skin. Available at drugstores everywhere for under $10, this soap helps restore a protective barrier to the skin while keeping moisture locked inside. It won’t clog pores and is safe for sensitive skin. The addition of hyaluronic acid even helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, making this soap a win-win for women everywhere.

No matter what skin type you have, taking good care of your skin is a basic hygiene for woman necessity that should never be neglected. Aside from your skin, you likely put a lot of importance on the appearance of your hair. This is for a good reason, since the condition and appearance of your hair are going to be noticed right away by all the people you have contact with. Below we will delve into the topic of finding the right shampoo and conditioner for your hair type.

Finding a Shampoo and Conditioner That Works for You

Our hair is often the first thing people notice about us, and many women spend a great deal of money having their hair colored and styled to keep it looking great. However, all that money invested in hair color jobs only goes so far as the shampoo and conditioner you use to keep it looking its best. Hair dye will never replace a good quality hair routine, and this starts with using the best shampoo and conditioner for your specific hair type.

Hair Products for Oily Hair

Our first choice for oily hair is Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo. This product instantly removes as much as 90% of the residue that makes your hair dull, bringing it back to a vibrant state. With biodegradable ingredients and an extremely mild formula, it helps maintain a nice balance of moisture without stripping the hair of essential oils that keep it protected. Neutrogena Triple Moisture Deep Conditioner can be used following the clarifying shampoo to add essential moisture back to the hair, especially the ends where dryness occurs most. Both products are available at drugstores across the nation for under $10 each, making them an affordable choice for women wanting better control of oily hair.

Secondly, Head and Shoulders Instant Oil Control Shampoo is another good choice for women with oily hair. What’s even better is that this is a 2-in-1 product where the conditioner is built right in. This shampoo and conditioner double whammy allows you to get a clean scalp by removing excess oil, without drying your hair excessively. At about $10 for two products in one, it’s a great choice for women who want to conquer their oily hair challenges.

Hair Products for Dry Hair

Dry hair presents a unique challenge because it breaks easily. Finding an appropriate shampoo and conditioner is vital to prevent breakage and restore life to damaged hair.

Our first choice for dry hair is Pantene Pro-V Total Damage Care Shampoo and Conditioner. This is a unique formula that helps detoxify the hair while preventing breakage and hair loss. This system restores healthy protein to the hair that creates a protection against breakage while removing impurities that weigh hair down and make it appear dull. At less than $15 for the set, it’s a great choice for correcting the damage dry hair experiences.

Our second choice is Tresemme Keratin Smooth Shampoo and Conditioner, a salon-quality set that provides superior protection against hair breakage, while helping to restore lost moisture to the hair. Keratin is a unique protein naturally found in healthy hair, and this set helps restore keratin levels for longer and stronger hair. At just $15 each, this is an affordable choice that makes each wash feel like you’ve just been to the salon.

An excellent hygiene routine goes much deeper than just your choice of soap or shampoo. As a busy woman balancing the challenges of family responsibilities and a successful career, we know it can be hard to maintain a good beauty routine.

However, it is definitely worth the effort to employ the tips mentioned above. This will help you look and feel your best as you meet life’s challenges head on.

How to Care for Your Dry Skin

If you’re a sufferer of dry skin, you’re not alone. Many people experience the roughness, itching, and tightness associated with this common condition. Severe cases can even cause peeling, cracking or bleeding. Sometimes it seems like the problem will last forever when all you want is some relief. Moisturizers can provide the reprieve you’re looking for, but the underlying factors exacerbating your dry skin must be addressed in order to get the maximum benefit from a cream or lotion.

What Causes Dry Skin?

Dry skin is usually a temporary problem brought on by external conditions. Changes in the weather resulting in low humidity can affect your moisture balance. Depending on where you live, this may be most prevalent in the winter. Hot, dry climates with little rain also take a toll on skin.

Heat inside buildings from central units or wood fires can zap skin’s moisture and leave you feeling uncomfortable, and so can removing too much indoor moisture with air conditioning. If your job exposes you to these conditions, or you work in an environment where you have to wash your hands multiple times per day, you’re more likely to suffer from dry skin.

Certain medical problems can also cause skin to become dry. Eczema and psoriasis are two of the most common. Infections, including those causes by fungi, are sometimes to blame. Dry skin can be a symptom of kidney disease or hypothyroidism, or it may manifest as a side effect to some medications.

Sometimes dry skin is simply due to aging. People over age 40 tend to have more trouble with dryness because the body makes fewer natural oils over time. In this case, conditions exacerbating dry skin in younger people may be even more irritating for seniors.

What Habits Make Dry Skin Worse?

You could be drying out your own skin without even knowing it. Certain personal care habits and lifestyle factors can create prime conditions for irritation:

  • Frequent hot showers – Too much heat in the shower or bath can strip your skin of its natural oils, leaving it unprotected and prone to dryness.
  • Swimming – The chlorine in pools is a harsh chemical, and spending your summer submerged can do a number on your skin.
  • Scrubbing – Sometimes you need to use a little force take care of stubborn dirt, but scouring yourself all over does more harm than good.
  • Excessive exfoliation – Exfoliating removes dead skin cells, but it also gets rid of important oils on the skin’s surface.
  • Not wearing sunscreen – In addition to increasing your risk for skin cancer, skipping the sun protection can leave your skin unpleasantly dry.
  • Using the wrong products – Not matching your moisturizer to your skin’s needs or choosing products packed full of ingredients you can’t pronounce won’t heal dry skin and can sometimes make it even more uncomfortable.

Pay attention to your personal care regimen, and take note of any mistakes you’re making. You may be able to get rid of dry skin just by changing your habits. The right care products can help you recover from years of damaging practices.

Which Skin Care Product is Right for You?

Armed with the knowledge of what’s behind your dry skin problem, how do you choose the proper product to address it? Walking down the skin care aisle at your local department store or shopping for moisturizers online reveals a dizzying array of selections. Each makes its own claims about how it can help your skin and why one particular ingredient or formula is superior to another.

To cut through marketing hype and pinpoint which products have the power to heal your skin, you should know some of the characteristics of moisturizers. Water-based products are lighter and are best for use during the day or in the summer. They’re also preferable if your skin tends to be oily under normal conditions. The thicker nature of oil-based blends makes them good for “locking in” moisture, especially when applied before bed. You may wish to get one of each type to use at different times of day or to prevent the oils in heavy products from clogging the pores on your face.

Read all lists of ingredients as you shop, and leave products on the shelf if they contain:

  • Harsh chemicals
  • Perfumes or fragrances with no source listed
  • Multiple types of acid
  • Colorants or dyes

These components may counteract some of the beneficial effects of the moisturizer or even cause health problems over time.

Finding Lotions for Dry Skin

Skin care products made with natural ingredients are best when you want to clear up unsightly or uncomfortable patches of dry skin. Oils such as coconut, olive and hemp provide healthy fats similar to the oils in your skin and promote moisture without the need for chemicals.

These following three products can get you started on your search for a moisturizer to bring your skin back into balance.

RAD Soap. Co. Natural Hand Therapy

Dry hands are the scourge of winter and anyone whose job involves frequent hand-washing. RAD Soap’s products use only natural, plant-based ingredients to promote skin health. Formerly called Hoedown Hand Therapy, the updated Natural Hand Therapy contains soothing witch hazel and a blend of hemp, olive, sunflower and grape seed oils. A single application begins the healing process, and the positive effects last even after you wash your hands.

Nature’s Baby Organic Face & Body Moisturizer

You don’t have to be a baby to use Nature’s Baby products on your skin. The face and body wash from this company contains no fragrances and is formulated to be gentle on delicate skin. If your skin is sensitive in addition to being dry, you may benefit from the company’s organic face and body moisturizer. Jojoba oil, aloe and calendula are combined with other organic ingredients to create a product powerful enough for the body but light enough to use on your face without clogging pores.

The Wonder Seed Hydrating Hemp Body Lotion

Available in Water Lotus and Fresh Jasmine scents, the hemp body lotion from The Wonder Seed harnesses the power of hemp oil to deliver much-needed moisture to dry skin. The Wonder Seed uses no chemicals or animal-derived ingredients and relies on essential oils for scents. Hemp oil is a key ingredient in this fast-absorbing lotion and contains essential fatty acids to nourish all your rough spots.

The Bottom Line

By changing poor personal care habits and making careful comparisons between skin care products, you can banish dry skin and all the irritation it causes. It may take some trial and error to discover the right product or combination of products for your skin, but you’ll know once you’ve hit on the perfect choice. Stick with what works, and be diligent in your overall personal care regimen to keep your skin healthy.

If the symptoms of dry skin don’t improve or become worse despite your best efforts, visit your doctor to determine if another condition is at the root of the problem. Your doctor can refer you to a dermatologist for a more comprehensive evaluation and targeted treatment to clear your skin completely.

Taking Care of Pests on Your Cat and Dog

Pests not only infest your home, but they can also infest your pets. When it comes to getting rid of fleas and ticks, one major problem crops up time after time – balancing the risk that the insect brings to your pet against the risk caused by the treatment. Before treating your dog or cat for pests, it’s important to consider how the treatment is administered, its effectiveness and any possible side effects that may occur. It’s always a good idea to ask your veterinarian, but there are ways to get rid of the pests yourself.

How Do You Know that Pests Are Infesting Your Pet?

The first sign that your pet is infested with fleas or ticks is often behavior. If you notice your pet acting differently or scratching more than usual, then they may have fleas or ticks. Fleas and ticks irritate the skin of animals. Fleas also cause hair loss, and they leave behind visible droppings.

Fleas and ticks are both visible to the naked eye, so if you suspect a bug infestation, then inspect your pet’s fur. Adult ticks attach themselves to your animal’s skin. The insect will look like a blood blister or a small, soft wart. Heavy pest infestations can cause your pet to develop anemia. If this happens, then your pet may seem especially tired.

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What Are the Risks?

Ticks transmit diseases like Canine Anaplasmosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Ehrlichiosis to your dog, but the pest is infamous for spreading Lyme Disease. If your dog contracts Lyme Disease, then they may exhibit symptoms like:

  • A fever
  • Polyarthritis
  • Shifting leg lameness
  • General decline in health

In rare cases, dogs may suffer from a condition that causes progressive kidney failure. The black-legged deer tick transmits this particular ailment, and it is one that may be fatal.

Most felines do not show signs of Lyme Disease when they contract it. If they do, then they may display symptoms like:

  • Recurring limb lameness due to joint inflammation
  • Acute limb lameness
  • Problems with their kidneys
  • A stiff walk that includes an arched back
  • Trouble breathing
  • Lack of appetite

Ticks also transmit diseases like cytauxzoonosis, tularemia and babesiosis to cats. The symptoms of these diseases range from a high fever and swollen lymph nodes to a lack of energy and weight loss.

If your pet has fleas, then they could also come down with the plague. This is the same disease that devastated Europe’s population during the Middle Ages. Today, if your cat or dog becomes infected with the disease, they may develop a fever or swollen lymph nodes. In this case, contact your veterinarian right away. Also, keep your pet away from other animals to prevent the disease from spreading.

Fleas can also transmit Cat Scratch Disease to felines as well as tapeworms to your dog, which causes irritation, vomiting and weight loss. Flea Allergy Dermatitis is another disease that your pet could get from fleas. This ailment causes hot spots and itchiness, making your pet miserable.

If My Pet is Infested with Pests, Is My Family at Risk?

If a beloved pet becomes infested with ticks, your family may be at risk of getting Lyme Disease. Joint pain, a rash and a fever are the earliest symptoms you’ll notice. You may also experience fatigue, headaches and changes to your vision.

Ticks can transmit Colorado Tick Fever to humans as well. If you contract this ailment, then you may suffer from chills, fever and a headache. In most people, these symptoms develop three to six days from when the tick bite occurred.

Since fleas can give your feline friend Cat Scratch Disease, you and other members of your family are at risk of getting it. Fleas transmit Cat Scratch Disease from one cat to another, and almost 40 percent of all cats develop it at some point. If a person contracts it, then they may suffer from a fever, headache and fatigue.

What Are the Best Prevention Methods?

When it comes to preventing fleas and ticks from finding a home on your pet, you can choose natural, do-it-yourself methods or store-bought ones. To go the natural route, consider making your dog or cat a flea collar. This involves combining three to five drops of cedar or lavender oil with 1 to 3 tablespoons of water in an eyedropper. You will also need a cloth or nylon dog collar or a bandana. Apply 5-10 drops of the mixture to the collar or bandana. Then, tie it around your dog’s or cat’s neck. Reapply the oil to the collar about once a week. Along with this, drip 1-2 drops of the essential oil you’ve picked at the base of your dog’s or cat’s tail. Dilute the essential oil with one tablespoon of olive oil before applying it to your pet.

To repel ticks, consider covering your dog up when they spend time in wooded or grassy areas. Modify an old t-shirt for your dog, or make leg covers from old socks. This method isn’t infallible, but it could keep most of the pests off your furry buddy since a tick will be unable to latch onto their hair. Be sure to inspect your pet when they come inside for the night. Removing a tick quickly can prevent your pet from transmitting a disease because transmission is more likely to happen the longer a tick is in contact with your pet’s skin.

Ways to Treat Pests on Cats and Dogs

Treating fleas is as easy as bathing your pet. Once your pet is slathered in soap, the bugs are unable to hold onto your pet’s hair shaft, causing them to slide off your pet and into the bathwater. You can also use white vinegar in your pet’s bath. Fleas are repelled by the scent and will voluntarily leave their host.

Special pet shampoo gets rid of the pests as well. Eco-friendly options exist, ones that are safe for your furry friend and won’t dry out their skin. Oral medications can also be used to eliminate fleas. This treatment option kills the insects within 30 minutes of your pet ingesting the pill.

To get rid of ticks, you’ll need to use small-tipped tweezers. Set the tweezers near your pet’s skin and grasp the tick’s head firmly. Don’t twist the bug. Instead, pull it out straight. Avoid squeezing or crushing the tick’s body. If you do, you’ll send harmful bacteria into your animal’s bloodstream. Once the tick is out, put it in a jar of rubbing alcohol or insecticide. Ticks carry a number of diseases, so whenever you’re handling one, do so with rubber gloves to protect your hands. After you remove the insect, clean the tick bite area with an antiseptic. Also, watch your pet for signs of infection once the tick is removed.

Protecting Every Member of Your Family

A little effort on your part can help you protect the furry and non-furry members of your family. Whether you select natural methods or commercially developed products, you can prevent and get rid of fleas and ticks. By being consistent with your prevention and elimination methods, your dog or cat will be happier and healthier, which is sure to make you and your family happier and healthier as well.

Hygiene for Men

Have you ever heard the saying, “Cleanliness is next to Godliness?”

There’s an unfair stereotype that men are sloppy when it comes to hygiene. However, compared with men of yesteryear, today’s man is immaculate. Bathing didn’t become common until germs were discovered and indoor plumbing was developed.

We all do our best to keep ourselves looking presentable. However, you might find it challenging to settle on a beauty routine that works for you. When perusing the aisles of a drugstore, you might notice that most of the marketing is directed to women. There may be a small section of products for men, but much of the advertising and promotional material is geared toward women. Because of this, it can be hard to find the best products that work best with a man’s skin and lifestyle.

Focusing on your skin and hair type can help you find the right soaps, shampoos and conditioners. The ideal products will do more than keep you clean. They’ll help address skin problems and keep your hair and skin balanced throughout the week. Products designed for men don’t leave you smelling like your grandmother’s house, either.

lightwavemedia / Shutterstock.com

Different Soaps for Different Skin Types

Because you see your face every time you look in the mirror, you might focus your hygiene routine on choosing the right shaving products, acne treatments and skin cleansers. However, it’s just as important to take proper care of the skin on your body because your skin problems can show up anywhere.

Acne can be an issue on your back, legs and backside. Dry skin can lead to unsightly flakes, scales and uncomfortable itching. You can develop irritating rashes from the wrong body soap as well, which is why it’s so important to find the right skin care products.

Washing Dry Skin

No matter how grimy you get, harsh handling of your skin can make dryness worse. If you have flaky skin that looks ashy within minutes of getting out of the shower, you should probably stay away from harsh cleansers. Sulfates can strip your skin’s oils, making it feel tight and itchy. Stick with a natural product that contains moisturizing ingredients.

Mee Bee Cleansed Honey Body Wash contains aloe vera and honey to moisturize and soothe skin. It also contains no artificial ingredients. Therefore, it’s gentle on sensitive skin and sensitive areas. The neutral scent is reminiscent of a honey jar. You can find the 8-oz bottle for $16 on Amazon.

Soap for Combination Skin

If certain areas of skin stay oily while others become dry, you don’t want to load up on heavy moisturizers. They can exacerbate greasiness. However, stripping your skin with strong detergents can make dryness and oil buildup worse. A gentle product that absorbs oil while supporting skin’s natural balance can provide optimal results.

5th Street Skin & Shave All Natural Activated Charcoal, Peppermint & Tea Tree soap can be used on the face and the body. Using it to wash your skin can help to gently remove impurities due to charcoals ability to draw out toxins. Peppermint helps to brighten dull skin and clear up acne. This natural soap won’t leave heavy residue on your skin that can make oiliness worse. You can find a bar for a little over $8 on Amazon.

Cleansing for Oily Skin

You might be most tempted to scrub down oily skin with a potent cleanser. The more you scrub away your body’s natural oils, the more oil your body may secrete to balance things out. A gentle product designed for this skin type may be your best bet at keeping you clean and preventing an oil slick.

Dove Men+Care Oil Control Body Wash uses Oil-Neutralizing Technology to get rid of oil while helping skin stay hydrated. Kaolin clay absorbs oil, leaving your skin feeling comfortable and balanced. Your skin should feel cool and refreshed after using this product, but you shouldn’t feel like you’ve stripped out all the moisture. A 13.5-oz bottle of this body wash costs about $9 on Amazon.

Finding A Shampoo and Conditioner That Works for You

Many men with short hair feel like they can take a shortcut when it comes to shampoo and conditioner. After all, if they don’t have long locks, do they really need to devote time to using high-quality products? Good hair care does more than just make your hair look nice, it keep your scalp healthy as well. Therefore, putting the effort into finding the right shampoo and conditioner can make your hair look good from the roots to the tips.

Shampoo and Conditioner for Oily Hair

Honeydew Argan Oil for Oily Hair and Scalp is made for greasy heads. The clarifying formula balances hair without removing essential moisture. It also gets rid of product buildup that can make hair look limp and oily. The keratin and argan oil in the product strengthen the hair shaft to make hair less likely to break. If you have dandruff that comes off in clumps and tends to stick to your scalp, this shampoo can eliminate those flakes. You can buy a bottle for about $11.99 on Amazon.

Proper Mint Hair Conditioner is revitalizing for dry hair and scalp. It moisturizes your hair without feeling greasy, all while combating flakes. The product provides protection against harmful UV rays and is safe for color-treated hair. This can help your hair look its best even when you spend a lot of time outdoors. Many reviewers say that using this conditioner makes hair so soft and manageable that they don’t need to use as much styling product. A tube of Proper Mint Hair Conditioner costs $18 on Amazon.

Shampoo and Conditioner for Dry Hair

Maple Holistics Natural Mint Shampoo and Conditioner revive your hair without weighing it down. The cooling mint feels tingly on your scalp. The shampoo removes buildup and strengthens hair at the root, creating volume. Both products contain hydrating oils that smooth hair and reduce frizz. They’re also useful for dandruff that’s caused by dry skin. As an added benefit, this product claims to promote hair growth. You can find the set for about $16 on Amazon.

Rugged & Dapper Hydration Remedy Conditioner for Men is designed for all hair types. However, it’s infused with coconut, rosehip and jojoba oils, making it work wonders on dry hair. Aloe vera also nourishes the scalp and hair. If you deal with dandruff, you should see improvement from the tea tree oil in this formula. Find this on Amazon for $18.95.

The Bottom Line

Can distinct skin and hair products really work differently? The resounding answer is yes. Many beauty products vary dramatically in their formulations. Ingredients like clay and charcoal soak up oil. Rejuvenating oils, like mint and tea tree, stimulate hair growth and help fight infection. Beauty experts often recommend staying away from sulfates and sticking to natural ingredients to maintain the healthiest hygiene.

Best Cell Phone Service Providers

Are you considering switching cell phone providers when your current contract runs out? Attracting a new customer brings in so much money for a mobile phone provider that the cell phone companies will practically bend over backwards to meet your needs. If you are a new customer, you can often expect a special gift – such as a low-cost phone or several months of discounted service – when you switch carriers.

Which provider should you choose? The largest cell phone providers are Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint, but there are also several regional carriers that merit your consideration. In this article, we’ll discuss the best cell phone service providers and explain the differences that might lead you to choose one over the rest.

Major Cell Phone Carriers

Verizon

Verizon made waves in 2017 with the introduction of the New Verizon Plan. The New Verizon plan greatly simplifies the process of choosing a mobile phone plan because every version of the plan includes unlimited talk and text. You only need to choose the amount of data that you need. The plan starts at $35 monthly for 2 GB and tops out at $80 for unlimited data. If you choose a limited plan, your unused data will roll over to the end of the following month – and if you run out of data, you won’t lose Internet access. You’ll continue to connect at a slower rate until your next billing cycle.

Verizon is the most popular mobile phone carrier in the United States. Verizon’s popularity means that the carrier may not work as hard to earn your business as other companies might. Verizon’s unlimited data plan, while simple and straightforward, isn’t the most cost-effective unlimited data plan available.

Worth noting is the fact that Verizon is the exclusive carrier of the Google Pixel. Some believe that the Pixel executes on Google’s vision for the Android operating system better than any other phone.

AT&T

If you own a phone that works on GSM networks, AT&T may be an excellent new carrier for you as the company charges no activation fees for new customers who bring their own devices. AT&T offers two plans. The Unlimited Choice and Unlimited Plus plans cost $60 and $90 respectively. Both plans include unlimited talk, text and data. The Unlimited Plus plan includes sufficient bandwidth for high-definition video streaming, a mobile hotspot for sharing 10 GB of data monthly and free streaming content from HBO. Although less expensive unlimited plans are available elsewhere, AT&T does offer significant savings to customers who pay for multiple lines.

T-Mobile

If you’re looking for a mobile phone carrier that’s willing to foot the bill on a shiny new smartphone in exchange for your signature on a two-year contract, T-Mobile isn’t the carrier for you. The carrier will allow you to finance a new phone, but it will not subsidize the cost. Perhaps the greatest feature of T-Mobile is that the company offers the most straightforward pricing of all major mobile phone carriers.

T-Mobile offers just one plan. It’s called T-Mobile ONE, and it starts at $70 per month. The plan includes unlimited talk, text and data, and the advertised price is exactly what you pay. T-Mobile pays all other taxes and fees. The monthly price per line decreases as you add more lines. For an extra $5 per month, you can get some extra features including high-definition video streaming, a mobile hotspot and in-flight Wi-Fi.

Sprint

If you are a devoted technophile who simply must have the latest devices as they become available, Sprint’s option to lease a device instead of buying it may appeal to you. With a lease from Sprint, you’ll rent your device – at a small increase to your regular monthly bill – for 18 months. When the lease term ends, you’ll return the device and can begin leasing a new one. If you join Sprint’s iPhone Forever or Galaxy Forever programs, you can trade your current phone in for the latest Apple iPhone or Samsung Galaxy after only 12 lease payments. Although leasing a phone means that you’ll eventually need to return it to Sprint, you’ll pay significantly less than you would if you bought the phone outright.

Sprint’s standard plan includes unlimited talk, text and data and costs $60 for one line. As you add additional lines, you’ll pay less per line. Sprint also offers a plan with 2 GB of data for $40.

When the Essential Phone comes out in Summer 2017, Sprint will be the exclusive carrier. Andy Rubin, co-creator of the Android operating system, is also the co-founder of Essential Products, so Android fans are watching the Essential Phone with great interest.

Regional Cell Phone Carriers

Virgin Mobile

If you prefer not to use a smartphone, you may find Virgin Mobile an appealing carrier because the company’s PayLo plans for feature phones start at just $20 with no data access. Virgin Mobile also offers smartphone plans with unlimited talk and text at $35 for 5 GB of data, $45 for 10 GB and $60 for unlimited data. Virgin Mobile is also an excellent carrier for streaming music lovers. Virgin Mobile automatically detects when you use apps such as Spotify, Pandora and Napster and does not count the streaming music against your monthly data allotment.

Cricket Wireless

If you’d like to switch cell phone carriers and get a new smartphone in the process, Cricket Wireless may be the perfect choice for you. If you port your number from another carrier while activating a new line with Cricket, you can receive a free Samsung Galaxy Amp 2, Alcatel STREAK or ZTE Sonata 3. Cricket has smartphone plans available starting at $30 for 1 GB of data. An unlimited data plan is $60. If you have a feature phone, you can also use the $30 plan for unlimited talk and text. Cricket covers the taxes and fees on its monthly plans, so the price you see is what you pay for service.

U.S. Cellular

The most popular of the regional mobile phone carriers, U.S. Cellular is highly regarded for the quality of its coverage where service is available. The company uses its 4G LTE network to stream voice calls for the highest clarity possible. U.S. Cellular carries more feature phones than most mobile phone companies, and they also have an extensive selection of smartphones available. U.S. Cellular even has an offer that gives you an opportunity to receive a free iPhone 7 with a 30-month contract. U.S. Cellular’s standard smartphone plan starts at $50 for unlimited talk and text and 2 GB of data. The unlimited data plan is $70 but includes a truly unlimited amount of data. If you exceed 22 GB of usage in a month, your phone will continue to connect at a lower speed until the next month begins. U.S. Cellular also has feature phone plans available.

Disclaimer

All facts stated in this article are true to the best of our knowledge at the time of writing, but promotions, plans and phones offered can change rapidly in the mobile phone industry. For the latest information about a mobile carrier’s offerings, check the carrier’s website.

Things to Consider When Buying a Used Car

When you need a reliable vehicle on a budget, a used car is your best bet. Used cars provide many of the features found in new vehicles and offer more value in the long term. However, opting for used requires careful evaluation before making a final purchase.

Consider what you’re looking for in a vehicle to fulfill your needs. In some cases, buying used may not be the best option. There are certain features and perks to buying new cars that aren’t available to used models. However, if you’re clear on exactly what you need and know which bells and whistles you can do without, these guidelines can help you locate the best used car for your lifestyle.

Vehicle History Report

Used cars can be hiding shady histories, so the first thing you should do when considering a preowned vehicle is get a full background check. These reports should include:

  • Salvage information
  • Prior accidents and accident damage
  • Previous thefts
  • Water damage
  • Frame damage
  • The number of previous owners
  • Previous usage, including police or taxi service
  • Maintenance records
  • Recall information
  • Odometer fraud, including damage, exceeding of limits or “suspect mileage”

Carfax and AutoCheck are two of the most common services through which you can obtain this information. Reports cost somewhere between $25 and $55. If you’re shopping through a dealership, you should be able to get a report for free. Some government sources, such as the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), offer limited reports at no cost.

 

Hadrian / Shutterstock.com

VIN Search

Searching the vehicle identification number (VIN) of a used car gives you similar information to what you’d get from a background check with a few additional details. For example, you not only discover the number of people who owned the car in the past but also the odometer readings each time the car was sold. This can help you determine whether a seller is being transparent about total mileage and will raise a red flag if the current odometer reading doesn’t match the report.

Doing a VIN search also provides title and accident history, shows any current liens and tells you if your state’s laws identify the vehicle as a lemon. Use these details to distinguish true used car deals from too-good-to-be-true offers.

As with a history report, you can check a vehicle’s VIN through the NICB. The National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVITIS), a government service, is another option. Some private companies will run the check for you for a fee and may provide a buyback guarantee to minimize the risk associated with purchasing a used vehicle.

Condition of the Engine

An unreliable or outright bad engine can pose a danger to you and other motorists. Since the engine is the lifeblood of a car, you want to be sure it’s in top condition.

Pop the hood and do a thorough inspection when assessing any used car. Check for strange smells, rust, dirt, grime or slime, and measure all fluid levels. Look under the car for evidence of spills or leaks. Red fluid is a sign of a transmission leak. Black indicates oil leakage and may be accompanied by a burning smell.

Low fluid level along with a telltale puddle on the ground is a red flag for potential engine trouble. Even if you don’t find any leaks, have a mechanic put the car on a lift and inspect the underside to ensure nothing is missed.

Condition of the Drivetrain

Replacing the transmission on any car is usually too expensive to be worth the trouble. Avoid problems by taking used cars for comprehensive test drives. Whether the vehicle is manual or automatic, test it out on several different types of terrain. Pay attention to how it shifts, looking for signs of wear:

  • Difficulty moving the shifter
  • Slips or thumps when changing gears
  • Grinding, banging or other sounds of distress
  • Delays in switching gears
  • Tachometer climbing without acceleration
  • Problems with clutch movement

If you discover any transmission trouble, move on to another vehicle. No matter how good the price, a car with faulty transmission will wind up costing you more in the long run.

Condition of the Vehicle Body

Body problems can make or break a used car deal. Thoroughly inspect the outside and inside for rust, holes, gouges, dents and loose parts. Look for signs showing the car has been repaired, including excessive use of body fillers or a hasty paint job in one area. Check any damage against the vehicle’s history. Poor repair work may indicate a prior accident.

The car’s frame should be solid with no bends, breaks or obvious repairs. A mechanic can inspect this for you when performing the check for engine problems. Also ask him or her to take a look at the exhaust system and look for leaks or loose pipes.

Don’t forget to check the trunk and the tires. The trunk should be clean and free of rust, and all four tires should match and be filled to the proper pressure level.

Pros and Cons

If you shop with a reputable dealer or from private sellers whom you trust, chances are good you’ll find a used car you like. Before making a final decision, consider the overall advantages and disadvantages to buying used.

Pros

Buying used can benefit you by:

  • Reducing the total cost of buying a vehicle
  • Lowering registration and insurance costs
  • Giving you access to most of the same features found on new vehicles
  • Providing wiggle room to negotiate on pricing

Used cars also suffer much less deprecation after making your initial purchase. Whereas the value of a new car can drop as much as 19 percent in its first year, a used car several years past its initial release date will have already passed through this period of accelerated loss, meaning its value is more stable over time.

Cons

Some technology and safety features are so new, you can’t find them in used cars. When you want the latest and greatest to protect yourself and your family, you may be better off looking at new models. The same holds true for warranty coverage. Although you may be able to obtain the remainder of an initial warranty or get extended coverage from a used car dealer, you won’t have the same assurance offered with new vehicles.

Buying a used car also requires a great deal more homework. The potential for problems is higher, and the only way to avoid getting a lemon is to take the time to do a thorough investigation.

As long as the necessary features are available and everything checks out, a used car can be a better investment than buying new. Do your research and weigh all the variables to determine whether the used car you’re looking at is as good a value as it seems.

Your final decision should be based on your needs, how well the car will serve you and how long it will run without costing more than it’s worth to maintain. By focusing on reliability, longevity and functionality, you can find a used car just as good as any new model.

Best Online Deals for Razors

If you prefer to shave with a cartridge-based razor, the shaving companies have had you over a barrel for a while now. Razor cartridges are more complex than ever and they cost more than most consumers are willing to pay. To make matters worse, many retailers now keep the small boxes of razor cartridges under lock and key to deter theft. Not only do you overpay when buying them, but you also have the inconvenience of waiting for a store employee to unlock them for you. It’s no wonder that online razor sellers have become massively popular by promising cheaper razor cartridges delivered monthly to your door. Major companies have taken notice; in 2016, Uniliver purchased Dollar Shave Club for $1 billion. Gillette has also launched a subscription service for its razor cartridges.

So, is it worth it to buy razors online? How much money can you really save – and what is the shaving experience like? This overview compares the top online razor sellers.

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The Different Types of Razors

Buying razors online gives you the perfect opportunity to experiment with different razor types. You’ve probably read that straight razors and safety razors can give you a closer shave at a much lower price – but that doesn’t mean they’re perfect for everyone. These are some of the benefits and drawbacks of each razor type.

Straight Razors

The classic straight razor is the only type of razor that generally isn’t disposable. If you take care of the blade by cleaning and drying it, honing it before each use and taking it in for a professional sharpening every few years, you can theoretically use it for the rest of your life. A straight razor has a long, sharp blade capable of removing hair quickly and providing a very close shave.

The primary drawback of straight razors is that you can badly injure yourself with them if you aren’t careful. Because of the inherent danger, shaving with a straight razor is a slow, methodical process. If your primary goal when shaving is to get the process over with as quickly as possible, a straight razor probably isn’t for you.

Safety Razors

A safety razor uses a single sharp blade – often with two cutting edges – that’s nearly as sharp as the blade of a straight razor. However, a safety razor exposes only a small portion of the blade’s edge to reduce the chance that you’ll cut yourself accidentally. Many people believe that a safety razor offers a better shaving experience than a cartridge-based razor. In addition, you’ll pay only a few cents for each safety razor blade when you buy blades in bulk.

Although a safety razor prevents deep cuts, painful nicks and irritation are still possible when shaving with one. Like a straight razor, a safety razor isn’t conducive to fast shaving. Since a safety razor doesn’t have multiple blades, you may find that you require more passes with a safety razor than you’d need with a cartridge-based razor to get a close shave – and each pass increases the likelihood of irritation.

Cartridge-Based Razors

Cartridge-based razors are probably what you currently use. The angled blades make them extremely safe; it is almost impossible to give yourself anything more than the tiniest nick when shaving with a cartridge-based razor. A cartridge also usually has a lubricating strip to provide additional comfort. A cartridge-based razor provides an excellent shave for most faces, and the design of the cartridges is perfect for fast shaving.

The primary drawback of cartridge-based razors is that the replacement cartridges can be quite expensive. Some razor cartridges cost more than $4.00 each in stores. You can save money by buying the cartridges online – something we’ll discuss in the next section – but a cartridge-based razor is still the most expensive way to shave.

The Best Online Deals for Razors

Dollar Shave Club

With subscriptions starting at just $1 per month, Dollar Shave Club is the original and best known online razor seller. Dollar Shave Club sells three razor models:

  • The Humble Twin (two blades, $1.00 per month)
  • The Ax (four blades, $6.00 per month)
  • The Executive (six blades, $9.00 per month)

Depending on the razor model, you’ll receive four or five cartridges per month.

Harry’s

Harry’s manufacturers its five-blade razor using blades made in a German steel factory. Through the Harry’s subscription plan, you’ll receive blades for $1.87 each at the interval of your choice. You can even get the handle, along with a blade and some shaving gel, for $3 through the Harry’s trial program.

Dorco

Dorco offers an extensive selection of razors for both men and women. Dorco’s cartridge system is proprietary, but all the blade styles work with all of Dorco’s razor handles, with the small exception of the two-blade style. You’re free to try all of Dorco’s other cartridges without purchasing a new handle. In all, Dorco sells cartridges with two, three, four, six and seven blades.

ShaveMOB

ShaveMOB sells razor handles and cartridges for men and women on a monthly subscription basis. ShaveMOB uses a proprietary connection for its handles and cartridges, but the company only sells two handles – one for men and another for women. Once you’ve purchased a handle, you can use it with all of ShaveMOB’s cartridges. Subscriptions are available at $1 per cartridge and up.

Gillette on Demand

Perhaps due to pressure from the burgeoning razor subscription industry, Gillette has introduced a subscription system of its own. At the time of writing, you can buy three products through Gillette on Demand: Sensor 3 disposable razors, Mach 3 Turbo cartridges and Fusion ProShield cartridges. You can order the products whenever you like, or you can buy them on a subscription basis. If you subscribe, you’ll receive every fourth order free.

Is Buying Razors Online Worth It?

The shaving industry has drawn sharp criticism from some for giving birth to the razor-and-blades business model. In the razor-and-blades business model, a company sells its core product at a low price – but the product is useless without a costly consumable accessory. Some people believe that companies such as Gillette have gone too far in the quest for higher profit margins. One publication alleges that Gillette’s profit margin for Fusion cartridges is as high as 4,750 percent.

Gillette’s response to allegations of profiteering is that the process of researching consumer shaving habits and improving its products is extremely costly – and in consumer testing of how online shaving club products compare to Gillette’s blades, Gillette routinely comes out on top.

So, is buying razors online worth it? Online shaving clubs charge extremely reasonable prices for razor cartridges – and no two people have the same exact shaving needs. You may find that a shaving club’s razor works nearly as well for you as the more expensive razor you’re using now, and buying your razors online can cut your costs by as much as 75 percent. If you try some less expensive razors and find that they don’t work for you, buying cartridges for your current razor online may still be a good idea. You’ll save a little money – and you’ll avoid the hassle of asking store employees to open locked cases for you.

Best Background Reporting Service

Performing background checks on prospective employees is a must for every business. Also called pre-employment screenings, these windows into the past give you more information about potential hires than can be gathered from an application or resume.

Relying on self-reported histories from everyone putting in for a position at your company can get you into trouble and sometimes have devastating legal or financial consequences. The last thing you want is to hire a candidate with apparently stellar qualifications only to find out he or she has a problematic criminal background.

Taking the time to do a background check may mean waiting a few days longer to confirm a hiring decision, but the additional information provided can help preserve the stability, prosperity and reputation of your company.

What Does a Background Check Consist Of?

Running a background check on candidates you’re considering for open positions can reveal:

  • Criminal activity, including serious and minor infractions
  • Educational history
  • Degrees, licenses and certifications
  • Compete employment history
  • Current or recent drug use
  • Driving records, including traffic violations
  • Credit history
  • Civil court involvement, including evictions, personal injury suits and failure to pay debts

Since businesses in various industries need to check different types of information before confirming new hires, it’s important to make a detailed list of what you need to know from the background checks you perform. Be specific and strict about what you check. Winding up with more information than you need is better than suffering consequences from missing a key detail.

 

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Why Get a Background Check?

In a perfect world, you could take every applicant at his or her word and trust all information included on resumes. Unfortunately, many people bend the truth, make omissions or include outright lies on job applications, and it’s up to employers to separate the real from the fake. Background checks make it much easier to know who is worthy of consideration to fill an open position.

If you’re not already performing background checks, it’s a good idea to start. Some industries are required by law to vet candidates before hiring. Any position in which personal information is shared or vulnerable individuals are cared for should never be filled without doing a background check. Screenings are essential in these cases to alert you to potential dangers, such a violent criminal past, embezzlement activities, illegal hacking, or sexual assault charges.

Failure to perform a background check may result in lawsuits. If an employee commits a crime, harms someone or causes another incident you could have prevented with a thorough pre-hire screening, the victim may sue you for negligent hiring. This not only locks you in a long legal battle but also hurts the reputation of your company. You could wind up losing customers or even having to close the business as a result of your lack of diligence.

How Will a Background Check Benefit an Employer?

It may seem hard to justify the postponement of a final hiring when you’re anxious to fill a vacant position, but it’s worth the time when you consider the benefits:

  • Consistency and reliability among staff members
  • Ensured safety and well-being of everyone working for your company
  • Preserving the honesty and integrity of your brand image
  • Less time spent replacing candidates who turn out to be unqualified
  • No risk of negligent hiring lawsuits or the associated costs
  • A culture of trust within the workplace
  • Safety of physical and digital assets

The amount of information acquired through a background check can be tailored or scaled to the responsibilities involved in the job. A managerial position will require more detail than an entry-level job, and deciding what to check for each candidate can speed up the process without compromising the results.

Best Reporting Companies

Many companies offer background check reporting services for businesses. To get the details you need, find a company with a variety of services you can combine to meet the specific requirements of your business.

Remember you must always obtain permission from potential employees before conducting a background check. Services request different amounts of information to locate and report on individual histories, and the data you get in return is personal and private. Anyone applying for a position must be informed of the process on the application or in a separate document.

These three reporting companies provide background check services with multiple options for businesses of all sizes.

GoodHire

With packages available for businesses running both small and large volumes of checks, GoodHire is a flexible choice. Turnaround times for various services are clearly listed on the company’s website so that you can know before ordering how long it will take to get the information you want.

Pricing for Basic, Standard and Premium packages includes varying levels of information, and many add-on services are available for additional fees. Candidates receive copies of the checks you perform, giving them the opportunity to identify and fix any errors with the potential to compromise their chances of being hired. The service also protects you from legal trouble with an electronic consent option and continual compliance checks.

HireRight

Employers looking for a comprehensive list of options for background checks and the ability to screen potential candidates from multiple countries can benefit from the services offered by HireRight. Although the company is based in California, its services span over 240 countries and support 20 languages. This ensures you receive accurate information on all candidates regardless of employment history or country of origin.

HireRight provides a detailed breakdown of all services on its website, including report options, key features and related services. With these comprehensive overviews, you can easily choose the services you need to protect your company from the consequences of negligent hiring.

IntelliCorp

IntelliCorp provides FCRA-compliant background check services to employers looking for assurance before hiring new staff members. Criminal checks include several critical details, such as sex offender registry information, state records and federal records. Use the “Former Last Name” service to uncover potential problems you may otherwise miss, uncover health care sanctions to assess issues you may face with liability and much more.

Turnaround time ranges from three to five days. During this period, IntelliCorp searches 10 years’ worth of records and strives to provide the most accurate results possible. If you’re concerned about turnaround, the company provides detailed information regarding potential delays.

The Bottom Line

Doing a background checks is like investing in additional business insurance. The information you receive can help avert disaster in the form of theft, violence or incompetence. As an employer, it’s your responsibility to keep your staff safe, and background checks are part of exercising due diligence.

Find a reputable and reliable background check service, and use their reports to make the most of the hiring process. With a full picture of each candidate, you can put together the best team for your company and ensure poor employment decisions don’t hold you back from reaching your goals.

Investing in Gold and Silver

Throughout history, gold and silver have been constant symbols of wealth and prestige. Cultures from Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas have all been drawn to the luster and rarity of these precious metals for centuries. Today, gold and silver remain solid investments due to the fact that they are long-established stores of value. While many people simply love to collect and admire beautiful metals, gold and silver also offer practical advantages to investors.

Diversifying with Gold and Silver

Every financial expert stresses the importance of maintaining a diversified portfolio. During times of economic downturns, having all your eggs in one basket can be risky. Gold and silver can be excellent assets because they are considered safe havens for investments. Even during times of unrest, stock market crashes, increased inflation and economic depressions, precious metals will maintain a high value.

As with any investment, however, there are certain nuances and trends to consider before purchasing gold and silver. Potential buyers have three options: exchange-traded funds, gold/silver stocks and physical gold or silver. Each provides different short-term and long-term benefits.

The Value of Precious Metals

In order to be considered “precious,” a metal must be naturally occurring and of high economic value. While gold and silver do have some industrial uses, they are mostly prized for their beauty. The history of gold’s value dates back to 3000 B.C., when ancient cultures started using the metal to make art and jewelry. In 560 B.C., the Egyptians established gold as a form of coinage that could be traded for goods and services. Silver emerged as a major currency in the early 1000s, when the British pound represented a single pound weight of sterling. As economies evolved, central banks started using paper money that was backed by gold and silver.

The United States officially abandoned the gold standard in 1971. However, precious metals continue to play a crucial role in the global economy. Central banks and financial organizations such as the International Monetary Fund currently hold about one-fifth of the world’s above-ground gold. Precious metals are coveted because they can preserve wealth even when other currencies are manipulated. Enthusiasts often point to the fact that gold has never once failed in its use as currency.

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Gold and Silver Prices

As far as precious metals go, gold is by far the most popular investment. Gold has long enjoyed more historic appeal and price stability. Even though there is much less above-ground silver available for investors, demand has made gold more valuable. Since silver is cheaper, it is often seen as an excellent gateway into hard assets for new investors.

The current price of gold is about 75 times that of silver. This indicator, known as the gold-silver ratio, is an important metric used to determine the value of each metal. Potential investors should also consider the spot price and future value of gold and silver. If you were to buy a precious metal today, that cost would be its spot price.

It’s important to note that a physical sale of gold or silver will also include a markup. For example, a retailer will include a markup on a gold ring to make a profit. Your goal as a buyer is to keep that markup to a minimum so that the future value of the gold will turn into a profitable investment.

How and Why Prices Change

Since precious metals provide no rent, yield or coupon, they are often difficult for investors to value. As of June 2017, the price of gold is $1,270 per ounce, and the price of silver is $17 per ounce. Throughout a trading day, those prices will fluctuate based on demand and other market factors.

While the operations of mining companies are important, the value of a precious metal is mostly determined by the actions of buyers and sellers. Investors hang on to gold and silver to protect their global purchasing power and diversify their portfolios. Investors tend to sell gold and silver when interest rates rise or if the value of the dollar increases. Furthermore, certain world events tend to induce a spike in value. Gold values rose after the 2008 recession and the Brexit announcement in 2016. Over the past three decades, gold prices have gone up by about 300 percent.

Keeping on Top of Trends

As with any investment strategy, it’s important to keep an eye on how buyers and sellers are behaving. In recent years, the gold-silver ratio has been high. Lower silver prices have led to a surge in coin fabrication. This has made the silver coin market quite strong among many collectors. However, such trends could be out of date within a year. If the dollar weakens or interest rates decrease, a bull market may ensue for precious metals. That’s why it’s important for investors to stay on top of emerging developments in the world economy.

Experienced traders interested in long-term gold and silver investments may want to take advantage of futures contracts. Investors who follow market patterns can use futures to get exposure to gold or silver while only paying part of the total cost of a contract. Generally used by hedgers and speculators, futures contracts involve agreements to purchase assets at a certain date. Since futures don’t have fixed prices, contract values fluctuate as gold and silver prices change.

Gold and Silver Investment Companies

If you’re looking to make serious purchases of gold or silver, you’ll be dealing with bullion, or bulk quantities of precious metals. While personally holding and storing precious metals is a possibility for some, obtaining gold and silver through exchange-traded funds is the better option for many. For example, precious metals IRAs provide an excellent way to hedge against inflation and economic uncertainty. Such acquisitions will involve collaborating with investment companies.

Whether you’re a first-time investor or experienced trader, it’s important to exercise due diligence when choosing an investment firm. A reputable company will have a solid reputation for delivering results even when the market is volatile. The best companies will be accredited by market watchdogs, charge reasonable fees and have a dedicated client service staff.

In addition to providing clients with investment guidance, these firms will be storing the precious metals. It may seem obvious, but storage security is a vital component to any quality investment company. A good firm will also have a fair buyback program. This will be necessary when you want to sell or take advantage of the liquidity of your gold or silver investment.

Window Maintenance Solutions

Quality windows add beauty, security and insulation to a home, which is why window maintenance is so important for homeowners. Unfortunately, many new homeowners don’t know how to properly maintain their windows year after year. After all, the inexpensive, builder-grade vinyl windows that are installed on many newer-construction homes are marketed as virtually maintenance-free. Subsequently, these new property owners don’t cultivate the habit of taking care of their windows until problems occur. Experts agree that performing regular window maintenance is much better than waiting until windows develop serious repair issues.

Whether your windows are constructed of low-maintenance vinyl or premium-grade wood, the foundational elements of good window maintenance are:

  • Regular Cleaning
  • Periodic Inspection
  • Repair
  • Replacement

Here are some tips that you can use to get a good start toward maintaining one of your home’s most prominent features.

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Window Cleaning

Locating Reputable Window Cleaning Service Providers

When you don’t have the time, inclination, equipment or skill to clean your home’s windows yourself, you can always outsource the job to a qualified professional. Most homeowners find great window-cleaning service people through referrals from family and friends. You can also find local window cleaning companies through a simple online search. For referrals and online finds, it is best to check out the company’s reputation on consumer review websites such as Angie’s List, Yelp and the Better Business Bureau.

While Angie’s List is arguably the most popular consumer review site for trades associated with window maintenance, here are four alternative websites.

  • HomeAdvisor
  • Porch
  • Thumbtack
  • Houzz

These sites often contain important information about prospective window maintenance companies. For example, you can find out about the company’s experience level, the existence of a business license and insurance and the availability of service guarantees and warranties.

Clean Your Own Windows Like a Pro

If you decide to clean your own windows, there are a few techniques and pieces of equipment that can help you to achieve professional results. You can start by gathering together a squeegee, a window scrubber, some dish soap, a bucket of water, and an assortment of lint-free and microfiber towels. You may need a window scraper to tackle baked-on bugs, dirt and other debris. If you do not have tilt-in windows that you can clean from inside your home, a ladder will also be needed to reach second-story windows.

Here are the main steps for cleaning windows:

  1. Soak the window scrubber in the dish water solution and run it over the windows’ glass panes. If you have wooden windows, make sure to get as little water on the wooden parts as possible.
  2. Take a dry, lint-free towel and run it across the top of the window to cut in a dry upper edge.
  3. Use the squeegee horizontally or vertically to remove the water from the window panes like a pro.
  4. Go over the windows with a microfiber cloth to ensure a streak-free finish.

A professional window cleaner will also clean window casings, and you should too.

Periodic Inspection

Evaluating the Condition of Windows from Frames to Panes

Developing a habit of inspecting your windows is a great first step towards great looking windows that last. Scheduling an inspection of your property’s windows at the beginning of each season gives you a chance to identify and fix problem areas before your windows get hit with extreme weather conditions. For wood windows, you should check for any signs of rot or moisture damage. Well-worn vinyl windows may show signs of condensation between the panes. You may notice chipped or peeling paint on your metal-frame windows.

Consider a Professional Energy Audit

If your energy bills have been unusually high for no apparent reason, it may be a good time to invest in a professional energy audit. Poorly maintained windows are some of the main causes of high energy consumption during winter and summer months. Your windows may be of good quality, but a poor installation job results in ill-fitting windows and energy-robbing gaps around them. Energy can also be lost when your home is outfitted with windows that have low insulation value. A professional energy audit can help you to determine whether it is more cost effective for you to maintain your current windows with weather stripping and caulking or to replace them with higher-quality, insulated windows.

Performing Repairs

Sealing and Caulking

Nearly every homeowner is interested in saving money on their energy bills and in decreasing the wear on their homes’ heating and cooling systems. Subsequently, sealing up air gaps and weather proofing windows are some of the most popular window maintenance practices. Applying window and door trim caulking is a first line of defense against energy inefficiency. Your caulking project should cover the areas where your windows and trim meet as well as where trim and the home’s siding meet.

Weather Stripping

Installing or replacing the top and bottom layers of weather stripping on your windows is also a popular window maintenance project. The two most common types of weather stripping are made from foam and rubber. The adhesive-backed, foam weather stripping that is available in local hardware stores gives you more application flexibility. You can place the foam on your windows and not worry too much about your windows’ capability to open, close and lock with ease. For the more durable rubber weather stripping, you must make sure that windows can still open and close when the stripping is attached. The foam weather stripping should be replaced every few years, but the rubber weather stripping can last for many more years.

For any type of window maintenance project, you will achieve better results if you begin the effort with clean windows.

Knowing When Windows Must Be Replaced

Condensation Between Window Panes

While cracks in window panes can be repaired as a temporary fix, the permanent and most effective solution is often window replacement. Besides being the most prudent choice for windows with cracked or broken panes, replacement windows are also recommended for windows that have lost their insulating value due to broken seals.

Most insulated windows consist of two or three panes of glass that are connected together with seals. Air or insulating gas such as argon is often captured between the panes to help to eliminate the transfer of energy from and to the home. This results in lower energy bills and a more comfortable home.

When these insulated windows begin to look foggy or you see condensation within the panes, your windows’ seals are likely damaged. This is a good time to replace the window panes with updated, insulated ones.

Windows Fail to Keep Out Drafts and Outside Noise

If you feel a draft while you are sitting in your favorite chair that is near a window, you may need to replace the window. After trying lower-cost, weather-proofing solutions, you may decide that installing replacement windows is the most effective option. A premium replacement window can also insulate your home from noisy outdoor activity.

In Closing

Conducting proper window maintenance has short and long-term benefits. For instance, a professional-grade cleaning can make windows sparkle for the enjoyment of the home’s residents, while periodic inspections and repairs can save you money on your energy bills. If you choose do-it-yourself window maintenance, be sure to exercise safety precautions when caring for windows on multi-story structures.

Also worth noting, homes that were built before 1978 may have windows that were painted with toxic, lead-based paint. In these cases, it may be better for you to call in a professional to make repairs and to diligently follow their instructions to keep hazardous dust from the project out of your living space.

Home Security Basics

Just like the castle it’s supposed to be, a home needs reliable protection. You need to know the property is safe and your family is secure at all times. Thanks to advances in modern technology, it’s possible to monitor your home from anywhere and enjoy guaranteed 24-hour protection.

Home security should be at the forefront of every new homeowner’s mind. A security system is the front line of defense, but there are several additional steps you can take to improve safety. By combining smart security practices with surveillance technology, you can relax knowing your home has all the best defenses in place.

Keeping Your Home Secure: The Basics

Whether you’re relocating or moving into your very first house, securing the premises should be high on your list of things to do when you arrive. Get started on these basics of home security even before you unpack the boxes.

Get to Know Everyone

Meeting the neighbors not only makes your transition to a new place easier but also gives you an idea of who can be trusted to watch out for your home when you’re not around. Take the time to chat with the people on your street. Invite neighbors over for coffee, and start making friends on whom you can rely. You’ll build a network of people you can call to keep an eye on the house and report any suspicious activity to the police if you can’t be there to do so yourself.

Leave the Light On

Would-be burglars watch for patterns, and your home becomes vulnerable as soon as one of them spots an obvious break in routine. Keep them guessing by putting your lights, TV and other devices on timers so that everything runs as usual whether or not you’re at home. Setting timers to cycle and make it look as though someone is moving from room to room is also a smart idea. Add motion sensors to turn on lights if someone gets too close to the house.

Keep Everything Maintained

When you leave on a prolonged vacation, tall grass or piles of snow are clear indicators of an empty home. Arrange to have the lawn cared for or the aftermath of extreme weather cleaned up if you plan to be away for an extended period of time. Call up one of your neighbor friends, and ask them to grab your paper and the mail every day. A clean lawn and ongoing deliveries both make it look like you’re still home, and you get the added bonus of not having to plow your way through waist-high weeds or snow when you get back.

Learn to Love an Unfriendly Lawn

Landscaping the area around a new home can be a lot of fun, but keep security in mind as you design your outdoor space. Avoid placing tall bushes or extensive greenery close to the house where someone could use them as a hiding place. If you can’t resist adorning the perimeter, choose prickly plants like roses or juniper. Add motion-sensitive lighting along pathways, and consider installing a privacy fence to restrict access into and view of the yard.

Lock it Up

Christen your new home with a fresh set of locks just for you and your family. Even if there’s nothing wrong with the current set, you never know if all the old keys were rounded up when the previous owners left. If the garage is controlled with an electronic panel, change the code to something you’ll remember but no outsider can guess.

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Top Five Home Security Systems

Installing a total security system is one of the smartest things you can do to ensure the safety of your home. Surveillance and monitoring devices protect vulnerable points of entry, provide a way for you to keep an eye on your home at all times and alert authorities to the presence of intruders. Compare these five top-rated options to find the right combination of features for your new abode.

Frontpoint

For a flat monthly rate, Frontpoint provides 24/7 professional security monitoring and an extensive home system with a wireless keypad control panel. A three-year equipment warranty provides protection for the single motion sensor and four door and window sensors. Crash & Smash protection ensures intrusion alerts will be sent even if the panel is destroyed. Do-it-yourself installation means you can have your Frontpoint system in place in no time.

Link Interactive

The Link Interactive system also offers Crash & Smash protection, a rarity among home surveillance equipment. Different plan levels are offered, so you can afford top-quality home protection even on a limited budget. The monitoring team at Link Interactive is UL-listed and Five Diamond-certified, making them one of the most reliable security groups available.

In addition to home security monitoring, this system keeps your family safe from common dangers by watching for smoke and fire, dangerous levels of carbon monoxide and unusual extremes of temperature.

Protect America

If you choose Protect America, you get a lifetime equipment warranty covering the control panel, nine door and window sensors and one motion detector included with the system. Rates are locked in for life, so what you pay when you move in to your new home is what you’ll be paying throughout the duration of your residence.

This system has enough sensors to cover multiple entryways and other areas of concern, and you get the added bonus of vehicle tracking when you sign up. Since your car is also vulnerable when you’re not at home, this extra feature can be particularly useful if you’re a frequent traveler.

Vivint

If you’re into the Smart Home experience, Vivint is your kind of security system. The company offers 24/7 monitoring and gives you remote control access to all components. No matter where you are, you can control the locks, cameras and sensors in your customized automation package. This advanced technology requires professional installation but offers extensive features and superior control when compared to many other options. Choose a monthly or contract plan for full access, and enjoy extra features like temperature and appliance control.

SimpliSafe

With no contract to lock you in, you’re free to use SimpliSafe for as long as you wish and cancel the monthly plan at any time. Wireless construction means installation is easy, and the simplicity of the system makes it possible to change the configuration and expand functionality as necessary. Monitoring is conducted over a cellular network to ensure constant coverage. However, you won’t get the home automation perks found in some other packages, and you’ll have to pay extra to gain remote access from a computer or mobile device.

With today’s smart security systems and some basic protective measures, your house can be a secure, comfortable fortress. Find a security solution with the best tools to monitor your home and keep your family safe, and you’ll enjoy peace of mind whether you’re settling down to sleep or heading off on a prolonged vacation. When you implement the right plan to defend your home, you create a haven in which your whole family can relax.

Car Washing Basics

A new car is an expensive investment that can potentially serve you for many years. If you want to get the maximum possible enjoyment out of it, though, you need to wash it properly.

Why is it so important to wash your car properly?

  • It preserves your car’s appearance and keeps its value high
  • It protects the clear coat that deters rust and sun damage
  • It minimizes scratches and swirl marks from dirt
  • It prevents your car’s plastic and rubber trim elements from fading

An additional benefit of having a car that looks great is that it says something about who you are. It says that you value the way you present yourself to the world and are willing to do what’s necessary to ensure that you always put your best foot forward. For better or worse, people will make snap judgments about you based upon the appearance of your car — so it’s worth the effort to keep your car looking great. Let’s get started!

Washing and Drying the Body and Glass

Getting Ready to Wash Your Car

The most important part of washing your car is removing dirt safely so it doesn’t have an opportunity to scratch the clear coat. Dirt trapped under a rag can scratch the clear coat and leave persistent swirl marks. To avoid swirls, you’ll need:

  • Two large buckets – one for soapy water and another for rinsing
  • A grate for each bucket to allow dirt to settle to the bottom
  • A washing mitt with a thick weave that pulls dirt away from the car and traps it
  • A car washing fluid that’s strong enough to remove dirt and road grime but won’t strip the car’s clear coat
  • A hose with a nozzle that allows you to direct the spray
  • Several clean microfiber towels for drying

Fill one bucket with soapy water, fill the other with clear water and place a grate in each bucket. The grate keeps dirt at the bottom of the bucket and prevents you from picking it up when you rinse your wash mitt.

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Pre-Rinsing Your Car

Begin by rinsing the car thoroughly with your hose. Plain water removes some surface dirt and lubricates your car’s body to help prevent scratching when you wash. If your car is very dirty, you can attach a foam cannon to your hose. A foam cannon allows you to mix soap with water when spraying your car to remove more dirt than you could remove with water alone.

Washing Your Car

If you don’t have a foam cannon, get your car sudsy by wringing your wet washing mitt over the car’s entire body. Always start at the top of the car and work down because most of the grit that’s stuck to your car will be near the bottom – you don’t want to bring that grit to the top of the car where it can potentially scratch the paint.

Wash the car with your soapy mitt by rubbing gently in short, straight lines. Avoid rubbing anything on the car in a circular motion because doing so can create paint swirls. Rinse the mitt frequently in your clean water bucket. After washing the entire car, empty and refill both buckets if you need to do a second pass. Make sure that you’ve rinsed all the grit from the washing mitt before you wash the car again.

Rinsing and Drying Your Car

Rinse the car with fresh water from your hose. Work from the top to the bottom in case any surface grit remains. When you’re certain that you’ve removed all the excess soap, dry the car by pressing gently with microfiber towels. Wring the towels periodically to remove excess water. Pressing with the towels, as opposed to rubbing, further reduces the chance of scratching the paint. Reserve one dry towel to remove the last streaks of water.

Cleaning the Tires and Rims

The most important thing to remember when washing your car’s wheels is that you should do so separately from the rest of the car because the wheels are often the dirtiest parts of the car. If you wash your car’s wheels first – which can be wise because you wouldn’t want to spray dirt on your car’s clean paint – you should empty and thoroughly rinse your buckets before continuing with the rest of the car.

To clean your wheels, you’ll need the following in addition to the items listed above:

  • Two dedicated sponges or a sponge and soft brush
  • A cleaning compound that isn’t corrosive and is safe for your car’s wheel type
  • Tire gel to keep your car’s tires looking shiny and black

As above, use separate buckets with grates for your cleaning solution and clear water. Rinse your wheels before washing them, and use a straight motion to avoid swirls. After rinsing, apply a bit of tire gel with a fresh sponge.

Body Waxing

When waxing your car, the most important thing to remember is that the wax isn’t what makes your car shine, the clear coat is. If your car’s clear coat isn’t intact, wax won’t give your car a glossy appearance. Wax protects the clear coat from dirt, oxidation and sun damage.

To wax your car, you’ll need:

  • Car wax, polish or paint sealant
  • A dedicated foam sponge for applying the wax
  • A dedicated microfiber towel for buffing

You should always wash and dry your car thoroughly before waxing it. Since the wax bonds to the paint, and the waxing process involves buffing, the car’s body must be completely free of dirt. Keep the car in a shady area when waxing to prevent the car from taking on a cloudy appearance.

Using the applicator, apply a light coat of wax to the car’s body using straight motions. Wait about 20 minutes for the wax to cure. When the curing process is complete, the wax will appear slightly dull and powdery. With straight motions, use the microfiber towel to buff the wax and remove any remaining residue.

To further enhance your car’s appearance, you may want to go through the waxing process twice. Doing so gives your car a deeper shine and ensures even protection of the clear coat.

Manual vs. Automated Car Washing

At this point, you might be asking yourself whether washing your car manually is really worth it when almost every city has at least one automatic car wash. Despite the hands-off approach, automatic car washes do have their benefits. They’re inexpensive, convenient and fast. Automatic car washes have become more modern over the years. They are much gentler on clear coats today than they were decades ago.

The primary problem with an automatic car wash is that it can never wash your car with the same attention to detail as an actual person. When you wash your own car, you know if the car needs a second rinse because there’s still a bit of dirt on the paint. When the rinse cycle at an automatic car wash is over, it’s over – so paint swirls are more likely to result from automatic car washes.

An automatic car wash also can’t replace the process of applying, curing and buffing wax. Many car washes will spray liquid paint protector on your car, but the result isn’t the same as what you would get with a proper polish.

Detailing the Interior

Properly washing and polishing your car has many benefits, but the interior of the car is where you’ll spend most of your time — so it’s worthwhile to give it a good detailing occasionally. To detail your car’s interior, here’s what you’ll need:

  • An auto detailing vacuum with attachments for cleaning vents and other tight spaces
  • A few clean microfiber towels
  • Cleaning products such as stain remover, vinyl cleaner and leather cleaner

If your car’s interior is free of stains, detailing it will require little more than time and a vacuum with plenty of attachments. Remove your car’s floor mats for cleaning. Shake them away from the car to dislodge pebbles and coarse dirt. Vacuum the mats thoroughly to remove fine dirt. When you are finished, you can vacuum the rest of the car. Use the vacuum’s tools to clean inside the vents and between seams. If you have leather seats, vacuum them carefully to avoid scratching the leather.

You can clean your car’s vinyl and plastic interior components with a slightly damp microfiber towel. If your car has upholstered seats, you can remove stains with a mild detergent. Test the detergent for color fading in an inconspicuous area first. If you have leather seats, you can clean them with a mild leather cleaning solution.

Asthma 101

As people with asthma are well aware, living with chronic inflammation of the airways is often painful and life-invading. However, for those who do not have asthma or who suspect that they might have asthma-related symptoms, it is important to know exactly what asthma is, what causes and triggers it, and how it is treated.

If you suspect that you have asthma, you should contact your doctor to discuss symptoms, diagnosis, and what a treatment plan might involve. This article is not a diagnostic tool, but it provides helpful information that can initiate a discussion with your doctor.

What is Asthma?

Asthma is a life-long chronic inflammation of the body’s airways. Excessive amounts of mucus are produced along with the inflammatory response, making it feel difficult to breathe and triggering coughing attacks. In the United States alone, roughly 22 million people have been diagnosed with asthma, and approximately 6 million of them are children.

Our bodies’ airways carry air into and out of our lungs, but for asthmatics, the inflammation and mucus build-up caused by an inhaled trigger stimulus cause the airways to become restricted. As the airways become narrower, less air is able to pass into the lungs. A chain reaction can occur, causing the airways to narrow even more as the muscles tighten, allowing even less air into the lungs.

However, not everyone suffers from the same symptoms or experiences the same severity of symptoms. Some asthma sufferers barely notice a problem while others have asthma that is so severe that it interferes with daily living.

Currently, there is no cure for asthma. The best way to deal with asthma is to control its symptoms, which can take time, medication, or herbal remedies targeted at inflammation reduction.

What Causes Asthma?

The exact cause of asthma is not yet known, although some researchers tend to think that asthma is caused by environmental and genetic factors that tend to manifest early on in a person’s life. These factors generally include atopy (the genetic inheritance of the tendency to develop allergies), parents who also have asthma, contact with airborne allergens in early childhood, contraction of viral infections during early childhood, or respiratory infections that are contracted during childhood. Since young children’s’ immune systems are still developing, these types of infections can be more easily contracted and less effectively eradicated through treatment than they would with adults.

Some researchers also believe that our Western culture’s obsession with sanitation has led to changes in the ways children’s immune systems develop. Children do not contract as many serious childhood diseases as they did even 100 years ago, and their living situations have therefore dramatically altered. This could, as the “Hygiene Hypothesis” researchers claim, put children more at risk for having asthma and atopy, especially if they are already genetically predisposed due to their parents having these conditions. Of course, more research is necessary to understand the root causes of asthma, and this notion of our society’s emphasis on hygiene is still only a testable hypothesis.

What Triggers an Asthma Attack?

An asthma attack can be triggered by different sources, especially by exposure to an allergen in the environment. Examples of allergens include pet dander, mold, pollen, or dust mites. Asthma attacks can also happen when a person is exposed to perfumes, smoke, or other airborne irritants. Additionally, upper respiratory infections and sinusitis can trigger asthma attacks, as can a significant amount of exercise.

Even changes in the weather and shifts in our emotions, stress and depression specifically, are even thought to be triggers for asthma attacks in some individuals.

You can recognize a triggering event if you start to feel the need to scale back on your exercise while you’re in the middle of it, if you experience a sudden shortness of breath, if you develop a worsening cough, or if you find yourself reaching for your asthma rescue medication. If you are unsure of exactly what is triggering your attacks, try keeping a written record of what you are doing and feeling every time you experience an attack.

Foods to Avoid if You’re Asthmatic

There are certain foods that people with asthma should try to avoid eating. While research is ongoing into why some foods seem to make asthma symptoms worse, there are certainly some foods that commonly cause issues. Everyone tends to react differently to various foods, and other issues, such as autoimmune disorders or hypothyroidism, can further complicate matters.

Some of the worst foods for asthmatic people are eggs, salt, dairy products, and peanuts, as they all have negative effects on people with asthma. Peanuts are especially hazardous, as children with peanut allergies appear to develop asthma earlier in life than children without. Shellfish, another common food allergen, is a particularly persistent allergy that generally lasts your entire life and is especially prevalent in children who have asthma.

Alternatively, some foods are beneficial for people with asthma. Studies have found that apple consumption is inversely linked to asthma. As an example, a study conducted in the UK showed that flavonoids found in apples and red wine seem to have protective effects that benefit adults with asthma. Cantaloupe, flax seeds, avocado, carrots, garlic, and even coffee can be helpful for those with asthma.

How Asthma is Diagnosed

Asthma is generally diagnosed with a physical exam as well as a lung functioning exam. A physical exam helps to rule out the potential for having other similar conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, commonly known as COPD. This also allows your doctor to check for asthma symptoms.

A physical exam is sometimes accompanied by a lung functioning exam, which assesses how much air you take in and let out as you breathe. Your doctor might perform a peak flow test, which uses a meter to measure how hard you can exhale. Your lungs might not be working at an optimal level if your reading is low, which can indicate the presence of asthma. Your doctor might opt for a spirometry test to see how much air you exhale and how quickly you can do so. A low performance here tends to show the narrowing of bronchial tubes, which happens in response to inflammation and mucus build-up.

Your doctor might also want to perform additional tests, such as x-ray imaging and allergy testing.

Asthma Treatments

While there is no cure for asthma, it is a highly treatable condition. Long-term asthma control medications, quick-relief medications, and allergy medications are all commonly used to treat asthma.

It is also advisable that those with asthma make lifestyle and environmental changes, like regularly cleaning and preventing or treating mold spores that develop in the home. Getting regular and moderate exercise can help, as does eating the right foods and avoiding the harmful ones.

Alternative medicine also provides ways of controlling asthma symptoms. Meditation, yoga, and various herbal remedies can often benefit those with asthma who are not being helped by or wish to avoid taking prescription medications. Activities that focus heavily on breathing exercises can be very helpful for asthma sufferers.

Asthma can be a difficult condition to live with, especially for severe cases. Scientists are still looking for a cure, but the best hope for dealing with asthma symptoms is through education, awareness, early detection, and treatment. If you or your child have asthma symptoms, contact your doctor to discuss what you should do next.

The 5 Best Mascaras for Volume, Length, and Curl

If there is one cosmetic item that every woman should have in their purse, it is mascara. Mascara can be that special touch that makes your eyes pop, or helps camouflage that no-sleep look after a restless night. Mascara is truly the beauty pick-me-up that can make an enormous difference.

Because mascara can help change your look and improve your appearance when you need a little extra touch, it’s important to choose one that will provide you with the results that you are searching for. While you can buy any mascara at the store and hope that it gives you the curl and volume you want, it’s beneficial for you to do some research before purchasing to ensure you end up with the look you desire.

The best mascara provides lashes with the perfect balance of volume, length and curl, giving your eyes the wow factor that catches people’s attention.

The Top Mascaras on the Market

To help you find the mascara that will be the perfect addition to your go-to beauty products, we have compiled the best five mascaras on the market today.

they’re Real! by Benefit

Benefit is a well-known brand that makes quality makeup products and this mascara is no different. It offers incredible length, even for women who have very sparse eyelashes, and it doesn’t leave clumps. At a price of around $30.00, it offers top quality for a slightly higher expense.

It’s a great alternative for women who want or depend on eyelash extensions, as it does a wonderful job at enhancing eyelashes as the brand promises. It would be a great staple for your makeup bag due to its fair price, excellent quality, and durability.

Before buying, consider that the mascara bottle doesn’t contain a large amount of mascara, so be prepared to need to buy it on a semi-regular basis. But, the good news is that it is always best to only use your mascara for a short amount of time anyway. You should be swapping out your mascara for a new one every couple of months.

The Falsies Push Up Angel by Maybelline

Maybelline is a brand that you know, and perhaps, love. If you don’t, this mascara may change your mind. The name is fitting, because the look that you get from this mascara is akin to fake eyelashes, but the good news is that it will be “all you” – with a little help from Maybelline, of course.

The brush is long with a slight curve, so it offers that lengthening curl that so many woman desire from their mascara. The brush is the best shape for the type of flirty, long, and thick look that many women want out of their mascara.

At around only $6.00, it is the perfect low-priced mascara for that beauty extra that you can depend on at any given moment. Even at such a low price, it is a quality mascara for being a super-market buy. If you don’t want to spend over $20.00 on your makeup items, this could be the best mascara to meet your needs.

Hypnose by Lancome

In the world of beauty and makeup, this mascara is a must-have. It offers both curling and lengthening affects at an affordable price of around $25.00. It doesn’t get clumpy and offers the bold, dark texture and color that are so desirable in many mascaras. It’s also waterproof, which means that you can go ahead and tear up at the movies or kiss in the rain without worrying about making a mess.

The shape of the Hypnose brush is an S, which provides you with unique and curly eyelashes that will open your eyes for the world to see. For women who have naturally straight eyelashes and who want a curl, it works wonders. It’s easy to remove as well, with only a little bit of makeup remover needed. It works great for anyone who wants full, thick, and long eyelashes.

It isn’t the most crucial factor when looking at mascaras, but it’s worth mentioning that Hypnose doesn’t have that odd odor that is often found in mascaras. In fact, the unique smell is a highlight of the mascara.

Flutter-to-Full by Clinique

There aren’t many mascaras that can provide you with the option of going light or full, but Flutter-to-Full by Clinique offers woman a chance at switching up their look. It works great for that long, full, and thick look that you want for a night out, yet you can also wear it light for Sunday brunch.

It’s highly easy to use and it provides the perfect curl for a flirty look. It is also very easy to remove with warm water, and doesn’t leave clumps.

It stays on throughout the day and is an affordable option at around $21.00. Because of its versatility and functionality, it is a must-have for your makeup bag. It is the perfect mascara for anyone who wants to make sure they always have the perfect look for any occasion.

Lashblast Length by Cover Girl

The Lashblast Length mascara by Cover Girl has a long brush which helps to provide your eyelashes with the length that you seek. This mascara works wonders for women who want to add more length to their eyelashes to get that long and beautiful look.

However, It may not be the one for you if you are looking for extreme volume from your mascara. Lashblast Length by Cover Girl focuses more on length, as the name suggests, than thickness, but it still provides you with average volume.

While it may be labeled a “supermarket find,” this factor doesn’t take away from its durability and functionality as a perfect go-to mascara to keep in your purse. At only around $8.00, it offers both quality and affordability.

How to Know Which One is for You

When looking for a mascara, there are things to consider to make sure you get the one that works best for you. Some mascaras are better at enhancing volume, some length, some curl. There are even mascaras that boast the ability to positively affect all three components.

If you want that longer or curlier look, you may want to pick one with a long brush that has a slight curve. The shape of the brush helps to ensure that when you apply the mascara, it will provide you with that long flirtatious volume you want.

This list should help provide you with some options to choose from, with each one providing distinctive features that will offer you the results that you are looking for.

 

Reverse Mortgage 101

A reverse mortgage is a type of loan that allows a homeowner to gain access to the equity in their home. It is available to people who are 62 years of age and up. During a reverse mortgage, the homeowner does not pay mortgage payments. Instead, the interest accumulates on the loan and the full balance becomes due when you die or leave the house.

The goal of a reverse mortgage is to give elders access to home equity without forcing them to pay monthly payments. They are still responsible for insurance and other regular bills. The reverse mortgage is designed to provide supplementary money for seniors to help them during their retirement.

What to Look for in a Reverse Mortgage

A good reverse mortgage will have a low interest rate and good customer service. The lower the interest rate is, the slower the balance owing will grow. That leaves less to pay off at the end of the loan when the balance comes due. It’s a good idea to shop around and see what different companies offer when it comes to a reverse mortgage. The longer the loan will last, the more a low interest rate will make a difference.

Better customer service makes the company easier to work with when it comes to things like helping you understand the paperwork, and keeping up with the progress of the loan. A good company will be sure that you know exactly what to expect before you commit to anything.

Make sure the loan servicer has a good reputation in the industry, too. That way, you will know that they are more trustworthy. Some unscrupulous companies try to trick people into signing contracts with them, but they aren’t a true reverse mortgage company. Look up reviews, testimonials, and other sources of information.

What is a Reverse Mortgage Calculator

A reverse mortgage calculator is a tool that lets you calculate the various parts of a reverse mortgage loan, so that you can see in advance how much the loan will be under different circumstances.

For example, you can try out different years to see what the balance of the loan will be if you leave your home after eight, ten, or fifteen years. You can also test out different choices for the interest rate to see how that will affect the balance.

These are important because they make a big difference to the final balance, so it is good to know that balance in advance. Nobody can perfectly predict exactly how long the loan will run, but with an educated guess, you can learn more about the final balance. It is worth noting that usually a reverse mortgage’s final balance cannot be higher than the value of the home, so that acts as a useful upper boundary on what the total can be.

A reverse mortgage calculator is a perfect tool to help you plan because you can test out different scenarios quickly and easily. It helps you make preparations and decide whether you could benefit from taking out a reverse mortgage.

Reverse Mortgages for Seniors
Reverse mortgages are meant to help seniors take advantage of the equity in their homes and supplement their income without having to leave their homes.

There are many benefits to staying in your home, from being able to maintain your lifestyle and social life to convenience. However, retirement can be unpredictable. Using a reverse mortgage can help to ensure a steady stream of income that will support you. Unexpected medical expenses and other surprises can really disrupt your plans during retirement. With a reverse mortgage, you can use the equity in your home to overcome these obstacles.

The terms and conditions of reverse mortgages are specially designed for seniors who are in retirement and who want to keep their homes, so if that describes you, consider a reverse mortgage. If you are concerned about retirement, especially when it comes to unexpected events that can cut into your savings, then perhaps you need access to an emergency fund or extra money. A reverse mortgage can do that.

Is it Right for You?

When thinking about whether you should get a reverse mortgage, do a little research first. Think about your current financial situation and what it will be like in the future. Do you have enough money saved to live comfortably? What will you do in an emergency? Do you feel secure? Do you wish that you had easier access to ready cash?

These questions can help you narrow down whether a reverse mortgage is a good fit for your situation. Not all seniors need a reverse mortgage, but for many it can be life-changing. If you own your own home and wish to stay in it, then a reverse mortgage becomes that much more attractive because it lets you tap into all the equity that you have built up in your home. You won’t need to make any payments on the mortgage at all until the end when you leave the house. That makes it easier to manage your monthly budget. You simply continue to pay your ordinary bills and other expenses and live in your home as you did before, because you still own it.

Pros

  • A simple way to unlock the equity in your home without having to take on a monthly mortgage payment when you already own your home
  • Quick access to money that you can spend on your daily expenses or save in case of an emergency
  • An easy to use and understand loan that provides immediate relief without having to go through a lengthy approval process

Cons

  • It is necessary to keep track of the loan balance so that you or your heirs can be prepared to pay it when it comes due

That is all you need to know to make a decision on a reverse mortgage for you and your family. It is a loan product that has many satisfied customers all over America and the world. You have spent your life building equity in your home, and now you can use it with a reverse mortgage. The key lies in the special rules that the federal government created to help seniors who are retired. The reverse mortgage can fill in the gaps during retirement when you no longer have access to a regular income from work.

Reverse mortgages are becoming more popular recently because more people are retiring with homes, but feel insecure about their income. If this describes you, too, then you might be a future reverse mortgage customer.

Best Anti-Aging Beauty Products

Everyone experiences it aging differently. Some greet it warmly and embrace the changes, while others want to preserve their youthful glow for as long as possible. As we get older, our bodies respond to age with unfortunate side effects like lines, wrinkles, and sagging. While an aging body can be disappointing, modern cosmetics have produced some of the best anti-aging treatments to help. These treatments can be found in any drug store, physician’s office, grocery store, or even your own home.

As we age, we want to return to our younger days and have our skin return to those days with us. While there is no true “fountain of youth” that promises eternal beauty, there are many different forms of treatment available to help fight the effects of aging.

From lotions and creams, to at-home remedies, supplements, and surgery, there are treatments that can be used daily or added to your diet with varying degrees of success. From affordable to bank-breaking options, there are anti-aging treatments to meet any kind of need and budget. The following information is aimed to give insight to the many forms of anti-aging treatments that are available, what they do, and how to use them.

Lotions

Many people use various beauty products as part of their everyday routine, but few know that there are many lotions and creams available to help with anti-aging. These products can be used daily and can help your skin looking healthy, vibrant and young. Anti-aging creams and lotions work by promoting collagen and improving elasticity in the skin. They can also contain ingredients that turn on certain enzymes that go after wrinkles and scars.

Anti-aging lotions moisturize like most other lotions, helping to keep skin healthier and suppler. Most of these lotions are loaded with ingredients that help improve the appearance of wrinkles and leave you with healthier looking skin. Retinol, Vitamin C, and Hydroxy acids are common ingredients in these creams.

  • Retinol is a compound of Vitamin A and neutralizes the unstable molecules that break down the skin cells and ultimately cause wrinkles.
  • Vitamin C is an extremely potent antioxidant that helps protect the skin.
  • Hydroxy acids are varying forms of exfoliants that remove old, dead skin and help to encourage new skin growth.

Companies like Garnier, Aveeno, Neutrogena, Oil of Olay, and Lancome, among many others have created many different kinds of lotions and creams for anti-aging. Some of these products are meant to be used at night, others during the day. Some products offer SPF protection or additional moisturizing ingredients. If your wrinkles are worse around your eyes or mouth, there are anti-aging lotions available for those specific areas. There are lotions that promote firm skin, increase cell turnover, and use collagen to help fill in fine lines.

Surgery

Plastic and cosmetic surgeries have become increasingly popular in recent decades and there are now many more permanent options available for anti-aging treatments. If you’re looking for an anti-aging solution that is more permanent, there could be many options available to you.

Procedures like microdermabrasion and chemical peels can be done in a non-surgical setting and is relatively affordable. These procedures help to soften lines, exfoliate the skin, and refine skin texture. There are also injectable procedures that are simple and relatively cost-efficient. Botox is the most common form of injectable anti-aging treatments. Botox contains toxins that block muscle contractions within the skin, reducing frown lines and wrinkles. This procedure is simple, quick, and does not require an actual surgery.

A more expensive approach is laser resurfacing. This procedure uses a laser to make skin tighter, smoother, and more even toned. It is a more permanent option, but treatments must be done every few months to receive the maximum benefits.

Of course, there is always the option of cosmetic surgery. These surgeries are the most expensive option, are done in a surgical setting, and require the most recovery time. Of course, these surgeries are also the most permanent methods for anti-aging treatment. Cosmetic surgeries for anti-aging could range from face lifts, brow lists, and eyelid surgeries.

Home Remedies

For the more natural and affordable choice, there are many things you can do at home to add to your anti-aging regimen. Store-bought products can be expensive and could contain chemicals that could hurt your skin. There are many natural ingredients that can be found at home that contain youth-boosting antioxidants and acids just like the ones found at the drugstore.

Homemade lotions and creams like a rice milk cleanser contain natural ingredients that are rich in Vitamin E and help to exfoliate the skin. The rice milk adds some retinol and calcium to the formula, just like those store-bough lotions and creams. Homemade masks with natural ingredients like oats and honey have anti-inflammatory properties and contain essential fatty acids that can clean and brighten the skin. Homemade remedies that contain things like aloe vera, ginger, fenugreek, and olive oil can help give your skin attention from very important antioxidants that fight those skin-damaging free radicals.

Simple things like living a healthier lifestyle and caring for your skin are some of the easiest ways to maintain healthy skin. Using sunscreen when you go outside is an easy way to protect your skin from future wrinkles. Getting the proper amount of sleep is another way to help your skin get healthier at home. Daily exercise can also help the skin by regulating hormones and increasing blood flow.

Supplements

For the same reasons that the ingredients in lotions and creams work, supplements can be an easy way to add these benefits to your daily regimen. There are many products available in stores and online that can be taken daily to promote healthier, younger skin. Nearly all the ingredients found in lotions and creams can be found in a natural supplement, without any of the harsh chemicals that could hurt your skin. These supplements can also kill two birds with one stone; offering you younger, healthier skin while also adding healthy nutrients to your diet.

Supplements that contain the following ingredients can be added to your anti-aging regiment for better skin:

  • Vitamin C: This powerhouse can protect your skin against wrinkles and skin dullness by decreasing oxidative stress within the cells. This allows cells to grow normally, skin to regenerate, and skin to be healthier. Its regenerative power helps make your complexion more vibrant.
  • Vitamin E: This vitamin protects skin from UV radiation and environmental damage and contains anti-inflammatory properties. This is essential for skin regeneration and cell turnover. As an antioxidant, Vitamin E can help remove dead skin and produce more radiant cells to take its place.
  • Glucosamine: Used usually as a topical ingredient, it can also be found in supplements to help fill fine lines and fight against sagging skin. It can hasten the healing of wounds, decrease wrinkles, and improve the hydration of skin.

With so many anti-aging products and treatments available, it is important to do your research and find the best method for you. Some treatments are better suited for some more than others and some treatments can save you more money than others. This guide will set you and your skin on a better path to healthier, younger looking skin.

Life Insurance 101

You’ve watched the commercials enough to know that you need life insurance, but may still be uncertain as to how much you should buy. When is the right time to invest in a policy, anyway? How do insurance companies determine premium rates? These questions and more are answered in the guide below!

Life Insurance Defined
Life insurance is a contract between you and an indemnity company that guarantees monetary payment to your loved ones in the event of you passing away. You must name a beneficiary as the recipient of the policy and make premium payments promptly every month.

Upon your death, the benefiting family member or friend must inform the insurance company that you have passed away. The indemnity provider then sends documents that must be completed for funds to be released. Policyholders who do not name loved ones as beneficiaries will have funds from their contract regulated by a mediator appointed by the courts upon their death.

Two Main Types of Life Insurance
There are two central types of life insurance: term and permanent indemnity. Term insurance gives your beneficiaries payouts in the instance of your death, if it occurs before the term of your insurance policy has convened. Terms can be anywhere from five to twenty years, but do not cover individuals beyond 95 years old.

One central benefit of term insurance is its cost. Another advantage of the policy is its ability to convert to permanent indemnity in the future. You can purchase term life insurance at a low rate when you start your career and upgrade to a standing policy when you move up the corporate ladder.

Permanent life insurance is different from term indemnity as it sometimes gives dividends while you are living. The plan builds cash value with every timely payment and lets your beneficiaries receive monetary gains at your death regardless of when you pass away. Many middle-aged individuals go the extra mile to buy a permanent policy because of the savings benefit associated with the plan.

Types of Term Life Insurance
The most popular type of term insurance is the level premium policy. This contract guarantees the monthly price of your plan remains the same regardless of inflation and other economic increases. Many young adults invest in these sorts of plans to lock in a low monthly rate for the next twenty years.

Other term insurance policies that are less common are the annual renewable term, and decreasing coverage. Many indemnity companies do not offer these plans to individuals and families since they are not suitable for seekers who need a substantial financial cushion in the event of death.

Types of Permanent Life Insurance
Whole and universal life insurance are two of the most popular permanent indemnity plans around. Whole life policies come with the benefit of monthly payments remaining the same along with other perks that older customers enjoy. Universal life insurance is similar as it also comes with benefits that you cannot receive from a term indemnity policy. Variable and variable-universal life insurance are two other policies from which customers can benefit.

How Indemnity Companies Provide Life Insurance
Indemnity plans are either simplified issue or fully underwritten. Simplified issue policies require you to complete a questionnaire concerning your health but do not call for a complete medical examination. Most indemnity companies charge more for simplified issue contracts because proof of good health is not necessary for guaranteeing coverage.

Many customers exchange the fast process of a simplified issue plan for the lengthier fully underwritten policy. An underwritten policy requires applicants to undergo a medical exam that includes lab work for approval. Individuals in good health are typically given lower premiums, while those with a few complications are granted a contract with higher monthly payments. Persons with chronic illnesses sometimes face denial of underwritten plans because of poor health.

Factors that Determine Premium Rates
Age is usually the greatest factor that providers use when determining how much to charge customers for monthly premiums. Younger applicants tend to get lower quotes for payments, while senior citizens are charged more on a monthly basis because of the varying life expectancy between the two groups.

Other factors that influence premium rates are as follows:

  • Gender
  • Family medical history
  • Marital status
  • Location
  • Lifestyle

Women usually receive lower premium quotes than men because of their longer life expectancy. Individuals who are not married also pay less because they have fewer obligations than their married counterparts. Lifestyle choices significantly impact monthly payments for life insurance as smokers shovel out double in premium rates than those who are not addicted to nicotine. Athletes who participate in extreme sports, such as skydiving, may also find themselves paying more for life insurance as such activities negatively impact life expectancy.

How Should You Choose a Plan?
Different stages of life call for different life insurance policies. How much insurance you need depends on life changes that include whether you plan to have a large family in the future.

Here is a brief breakdown of how to purchase insurance based on four of the more popular stages in life.

Married Couples with Small Children
Young families usually purchase more coverage because of the risks associated with parenting. At any time, your small child can develop a life altering illness that requires you to become a stay-at-home mom or dad. You need an insurance policy that lets you use interest earned as a form of income replacement so that household expenses do not become overwhelming. It is for this reason that most young families start out with a term insurance plan and convert it to a permanent policy when finances are stable.

Married Without Children
Couples who share the burden of household expenses may not need as much life insurance coverage since both parties are earning enough to take care of bare necessities apart from the other spouse. Purchasing the cheapest term life insurance to pay for final expenses may be the best option for these applicants.

Single Parent
Studies show that single parents are at a financial disadvantage because they earn nearly three times less than households where both parents are present and working. Single moms and dads, however, need a life insurance policy that is large enough to cover funeral expenses and household expenses in the event of their death. The best policy for such parents, then, is a term plan that offers a good rate for the most cash payout.

Retired Senior Citizens
You’re under the age of 80, and ready to enjoy life as a retired citizen. Purchasing term life insurance is the best option since your retirement earnings coupled with savings should be enough to meet your basic needs. You may want to consider a permanent policy from which you can borrow against if you are one of many retirees with outstanding loans and other financial obligations.

Nothing is for certain except death and taxes. Life insurance is a necessary purchase for every household.

The Best Credit Card for Your Needs

When you’re in the market for a new credit card, it can be easy to feel a bit overwhelmed by the sheer number of options available today. While some credit cards are designed for building or improving credit, others reward consumers who have excellent credit with a host of benefits. Still, that’s not the whole story. (more…)

How to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth on a Budget

Sweet cravings can hit at any moment. You know the feeling, when you need something sweet and indulgent right that minute. However, you might find yourself on a budget and usually the first thing to get cut is any extra unneeded expenses, like sweets or junk food. What is a sweet tooth to do? (more…)

Comedy Gold: Where to Find the Best Jokes for Your Routine

You’re a funny guy or gal. You’ve got your look down pat, and your comedic timing is spot on. Perhaps you’ve even landed a few local gigs. What do you need now? And what will you continue to need throughout the life of your comedy career? Jokes, of course. And once you’ve told all your funny anecdotes and one liners, you’ll need fresh material – more jokes. (more…)

Pet Insurance 101: What You Need to Know About Insuring Your Pet

If you’ve ever had to rush your dog to the vet after being injured by another animal or falling ill, you know just how expensive veterinary care can be. A single visit can cost hundreds of dollars. If your pet needs ongoing care for a chronic condition or a serious injury, you can easily spend thousands of dollars. (more…)

How to Save Money on Diapers

Everyone loves their new little bundle of joy, but babies can be costly — especially when it comes to diapers. The cost of diapers has only gone up as brands compete against each other to offer more comfortable and fashionable diapers with a myriad of new features. The sometimes outrageous cost of diapers has led many frantic parents on the search for any sort of savings on diapers that they can find. (more…)

10 Warning Signs You Might Be Pregnant

While the only sure way to know whether you’re pregnant is with a pregnancy test and visit to your doctor, some of these telltale signs can help you determine if, in fact, you now have a fetus developing inside of you. Here are 10 warning signs you might be pregnant: (more…)

Best Tips to Making Moving Easier

The real estate hunt for a new apartment or house is typically pretty exciting. You imagine finally having your own office in the study, or a playroom for the kids, how you’ll arrange your art, which wall the TV will go on, or the kind of area rug you’ll use. These things run through your mind each time you consider a new place. (more…)

Take Control of Your Health: What You Need to Know About Your Pulse, Blood Pressure, and More

Nowadays, more and more people are becoming health conscious. Everywhere, you can see a lot of people working out in gyms, in parks, and at home.

Need some motivation to push you toward joining their ranks and taking up exercise yourself? When you exercise, the most common benefit you can get is an improvement of your pulse rate and blood pressure. Let’s talk about why this particular benefit is so important to your overall health. (more…)

5 Crock Pot Recipes for Busy Weeknights

On a busy weeknight, the last thing you want to think about is complicated meal prep. Slow cooker recipes take the hassle out of dinner — simply toss the ingredients into the Crock Pot in the morning and come home to a hot, flavorful meal. Whether you’re juggling social engagements or shuttling kids to after-school activities, these easy Crock Pot recipes make it easy to serve tasty, filling meals. (more…)

What You Need to Know About Unlocking Your Cell Phone

Whether you’re taking an extended trip to a foreign country where you want to use an international SIM card, or keeping your phone but changing phone companies after your contract has finished, you will probably need to unlock your phone to allow you to use the device with a new company’s service plan. This process can be time consuming and aggravating, but it is certainly worth the money you’ll save by keeping your old phone instead of buying a new one. (more…)

Getting There: Apps and Sites That Make Driving Easier

Technology is changing the way that we drive. We’ve come very far from the days of needing to plan your route out on a paper map and have even advanced well past needing to print your directions from your computer before you go. Today, planning for your drive means keying your destination into an app and allowing GPS technology to find the best way to get you there. (more…)

What’s On the Menu? 5 Tips for Getting the Most Value From Fast Food

Many people think of fast food meals as generally being cheap dining options. That doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to make them even cheaper and more economical, however. (more…)

What You Need to Know About Shipping With FedEx

Whether you have a small business and send a large volume of packages, or just want to send a gift to a loved one, there are so many benefits to choosing FedEx over the post office. However, it can also be tricky to figure out how to make the most of shipping with FedEx. (more…)

5 Things to Know About Shingles

The shingles virus, also known as herpes zoster, is a painful skin rash that affects one in three people at least once in their lifetime. It is characterized by inflammation of the nerves and a painful, blistering rash. There are people who are more at risk than others, but shingles can affect anyone, especially those with a weakened immune system. (more…)

5 Menopause Symptoms You Should Know About

Menopause is a natural and inevitable occurrence for women, yet there is still some confusion as to how to deal with the symptoms that may range from merely inconvenient to severely altering an individual’s everyday life. (more…)

5 Things to Know About Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a condition of the brain that affects bodily movement. There is a neurotransmitter called dopamine that’s in the brain. Neurotransmitters are brain chemicals that activate the different parts of the brain. The cells that produce dopamine in the brain break down in people with Parkinson’s disease. The result is that there is not enough dopamine to activate the parts of the brain that are involved in bodily movement. (more…)

5 Things to Know About Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is an infectious disease transmitted through the bite of a deer tick. In the US, Lyme disease has been found and diagnosed in all 50 states and the CDC estimates that 300,000 people are diagnosed with the disease every year. With the rates of Lyme disease rising rapidly, it is important to be well-informed about this issue. (more…)

Diabetic Diet: Controlling Your Blood Sugar

Exercising and maintaining your optimum weight will help you to control your blood sugar, but the foods you eat on a daily basis can play just as big a part. Some foods are helpful in diabetes management because they prevent your glucose levels from getting out of control, some can even keep you from overeating by making you feel fuller. (more…)

5 Things to Know About Teeth Whitening

An obsession with whiter, brighter teeth is sweeping the country. A staggering number of new teeth whiteners have flooded the market over the last 20 years.

Are Americans really that vain? Researchers believe that there’s more to it than that. A 2007 study of corporations across the U.S. revealed that job candidates whose teeth had been whitened were hired more often and received better compensation. Scientists at Penn State University found that clean teeth play a key role in mate selection. A winning smile is not only sexy, but it sends a nonverbal message of health, safety and stability. (more…)

Saving Money With Coupons: 5 Top Tips

You want to be smart about how to use coupons effectively. You know that coupons are available both in paper format and online. You know that you can get coupons for anything, but groceries and paper products like toilet paper are the most popular items. But how does it all fit together? (more…)

Cruises: Your Guide to Fun on the High Seas

Cruising while you’re on vacation is one of the most popular pursuits across the world. Boarding a cruise ship for three days or longer means that you can explore the open ocean and certain ports without any worries about travel logistics. You simply let the captain do his or her job as you enjoy the on-board amenities. To get the most out of your cruise trip, take a look at this guide to all the fun you can imagine. (more…)

Pet Food: What You Need to Know About Feeding Your Furry Friend

When searching for food for dogs and cats, pet owners have one thing in common: they want to find the best quality nutrition available at a price that suits their budget. As you shop for pet food for your furry friend, keep in mind that a number of different factors should be taken into consideration when deciding which one is the best fit for your individual pet. (more…)

GED Testing: 5 Things to Know

Because the traditional model of education of does not work for every student, the General Educational Development exam exists for those who cannot or do not wish to pursue a high school diploma. Whether you are an older individual who left high school at a young age to pursue work endeavors or you are a younger student who simply wishes to exit high school sooner than your peers, the GED might be right for you. (more…)

Types of Scholarships to Consider

If you want to get a great job in a field that allows you to do what you love, then it’s vital to get a quality education. The problem is that going to college isn’t cheap, and the admission prices continue to rise every year. This issue has left many people unable to pay for college without getting student loans.

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Adult ADHD: 5 Things to Know

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is often thought of as a pediatric condition; however, it often continues into adulthood. Some adults with ADHD were diagnosed as children and continue to experience symptoms, while others were not diagnosed in their childhood. (more…)

Latest and Greatest COPD Treatment Options

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, also known as COPD, is a disease that makes it difficult to breathe, and gets worse over time. COPD can cause deep coughing, producing a large amount of mucus, wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and other symptoms. The leading cause of COPD is cigarette smoking or long term exposure to lung irritants.

In addition to the traditional inhaled medicines that are used to help open inflamed lung airways in people who suffer from COPD, new treatments are helping to lower the numbers of severe flareups COPD patients experience. (more…)

Type 2 Diabetes Treatments: Just the Facts

It’s an astounding number: currently, 9 percent of Americans are diagnosed with some form of diabetes. That number is expected to rise to 33 percent by the year 2050. With Type 2, the most common form of the disease, either the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin or the body is resistant to properly using insulin to turn food into energy. New research in the field continues to contribute to more effective diabetes treatments. (more…)

Things to Know About Cross-Country Travel in the USA

Traveling cross-country by bus sounds like a charming way to travel. Inexpensive and generally safe, you can see the world from the seat of a motor coach. While US bus lines can make travel relatively simple and uncomplicated, there are several tips that can make your trip particularly easy and stress-free. (more…)

4 Things to Know About Buying Stocks

Investing in the stock market can be an effective way to build wealth faster than the rate of inflation. In other words, you are increasing your wealth in terms of real dollars that will help you fund your retirement or help you meet other goals later in life. However, it is important to know what makes a stock worth buying or worth holding for the long-term. (more…)

Continuing Education: 5 Things to Know

The decision to continue your education is a difficult one. Higher education costs are soaring while class sizes keep growing, making it hard to determine whether attending a college or university is worth it. There are many benefits of continuing education and here are five things to keep in mind when making this decision. (more…)

Teeth Whitening

A bright white smile can increase your confidence instantly. Teeth whitening used to be an expensive cosmetic treatment that was performed at the dentist’s office. Luckily there are now many affordable and easy to use teeth whitening options that you can do out of the comfort of your own home. Read on to find out more about teeth whitening products and treatments.

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Weight Loss: 5 Things to Know

It’s incredibly frustrating to feel like you can’t lose weight, even with diet and exercise. Whether it’s 100 pounds or just those stubborn last five, losing weight can be tough, especially when you don’t see any results right away. Sometimes this leads people to try to drop the weight in unhealthy ways like fad diets or extreme exercise routines, but these attempts at accelerated weight loss are likely to fail if they aren’t accompanied by permanent lifestyle changes. (more…)

5 Things to Know About Oil Change Coupons

Oil changes are a fact of life if you are a car owner. Unfortunately, it can be easy to overlook this bit of necessary maintenance, since the effects of a missed oil change aren’t always immediately apparent. Getting into the habit of delaying or ignoring oil changes is a big mistake, though. (more…)

Online High School: 5 Things to Know

Online high schools become more popular, viable and convenient each year. They provide a flexible means for both traditional and non-traditional students like you to acquire a quality secondary school education at your own pace, on your own time and in the privacy of your home.

There are thousands of online high schools and virtual high school diploma programs to choose from, and you probably don’t have time to evaluate each one. Instead, bear a set of criteria in mind to aid your search. (more…)

How to Find Your Dream Job in 5 Easy Steps

The average job search in the United States takes 43 days, according to Money, and as long as 65 for those who work in the healthcare industry. And this is if you’re willing to put in a diligent effort to finding the ideal job, not just floating a few resumes out there each week. Whether you’re unemployed or looking to make a career switch, here are five things you’ll need to do to find the perfect job: (more…)

Top 10 Dog Breeds

If you love dogs, you already know that selecting the top 10 dog breeds is a tougher task than it sounds. You can look at creating such a list from so many angles! You may have your own opinions on the cutest dog breed, the smartest dog breed, the most loyal dog breed or the best rescue dogs. (more…)

Credit 101: How to Check, Build, and Maintain Your Credit

Good credit is important to almost everyone. Without a good credit score, you have to pay more to borrow money. With bad credit, it’s difficult to get essential financial tools like credit cards, auto or mortgage loans.

According to the three major credit reporting agencies (CRAs), almost 25 percent of consumers identify some type of errors on their credit profiles. Without the individual consumer’s attention to these errors, credit reporting agencies continue to report them to prospective lenders. U.S. credit laws protect the individual’s right to dispute these errors. This is just one of the reasons that knowing how to check, build, and maintain your credit is essential in today’s world. (more…)

Back Pain: 5 Things to Know

Back pain can be debilitating and disabling. Millions of Americans have a problem with back pain. It’s the leading cause of disability in people younger than 45 years of age. If you have back pain, then there are some important things to know about it. This way, you can address it and find the appropriate treatment for it. (more…)

Online College: 5 Things to Know

When online colleges were in their nascent stages, many people were skeptical about them. Whether they felt these programs were not as strong as their brick-and-mortar counterparts or they did not have the right tools to access online learning platforms, students did not pursue these programs as readily as they do today.

Since online learning has become more popular, you may have a vested interest in enrolling in such a program. Before you do, make sure you keep some important information at the forefront of your mind to ensure that you select the right program. (more…)

Erectile Dysfunction: 5 Things to Know

Erectile dysfunction or ED is a condition that hinders men from getting an erection that is firm enough to allow them have sex. This is sometimes referred to as impotence.

Research shows that a good number of men experience erection problems in the course of their lives. This condition can occur regardless of one’s age. However, it is more prevalent among older men because they tend to have many health problems, which affect their blood supply to the penile region. (more…)

Everything You Need to Know About Cholesterol

Every cell in your body has this wax-like substance in it called cholesterol. Cholesterol is required for the production of hormones and vitamin D, and it aids in digestion. Although the body needs cholesterol, too much of it can harm your health. You may not know you have high cholesterol because this condition’s most common symptoms are none at all. (more…)

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is a term used to refer to the trend of moving computing to the Internet. Beginning with the widespread adaptation of home computers and continuing until recently, applications or software would be downloaded onto a physical computer or installed on a nearby server. When you clicked on the icon to begin a task, you were manipulating information directly from your computer.

With cloud computing services becoming more standard, users are having to shift the way they think about computing. Now, everything seems to be moving to the cloud. Here are five interesting angles to the concept you might not have thought of. (more…)

Understanding Income Tax (It’s Simpler Than You Think)

Each year, millions of Americans file an income tax return with the federal government. Many people also file income tax returns to their state and local governments as well. However, just because we are used to doing our taxes each year doesn’t necessarily mean that the tax code is easy to understand. (more…)

Comparing Phone Plans? Read This First!

The U.S. wireless industry went through quite a few years of relative complacency, where competition was rare and prices seemed destined only to go higher. In the last several years, however, things have changed dramatically. Competition has come back to wireless, and the four national providers have worked hard to build faster networks, more competitive plans, larger data buckets, and more value-added features.

Shopping around and looking for a new carrier never been more fun, nor has it ever been more confusing. Before comparing carriers and choosing a new plan, there are a few things to know that will help simplify this process. (more…)

Psoriasis: 5 Things to Know

Psoriasis, which is technically called “psoriatic disease,” manifests as a skin condition which is actually just one of the most common symptoms of an underlying autoimmune disease. In addition to the visible skin changes, psoriatic disease can have some other equally devastating symptoms, including diabetes and heart disease.

In this post, learn more about psoriasis, including 5 critical things you need to know right now. (more…)

Drug and Alcohol Addiction: 5 Things to Know

Drug and alcohol addictions are medical conditions characterized by the compulsive action of partaking in these substances, despite the severe adverse consequences. People who are addicted to drugs or alcohol choose the positive feelings that they get from these substances over the negative effects on their life and body.

Aside from the involvement of social factors, a biological process is involved to develop and maintain an addiction. This biological process is caused by the repeated exposure to the addictive substance. All addictive substances are reinforcing to the user, meaning that they create a high likelihood that users will want to use them repetitively. Addictive substances are also intrinsically rewarding, which makes the user temporarily feel good. (more…)

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA): 5 Things to Know

If you have recently been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), you may have many questions and concerns. While RA can develop at any age, those in their twenties and thirties typically begin to show signs of stiffness, joint pain and fatigue. This is caused when your immune system attacks the synovium (lining of the joints), producing painful inflammation. The seriousness of a person’s RA can range from mild, moderate or severe. (more…)