Reap Health Benefits 48 Hours After Quitting Smoking

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – “Within 48 hours of quitting smoking, health benefits begin,” said Dr. Steven Leers, a member of the Society for Vascular Surgery. “Blood pressure decreases. Pulse rate drops. The body temperature of hands and feet increases. Carbon monoxide levels in the blood return to normal. The chance of a heart attack decreases. Nerve endings regrow. There’s an increase in the ability to taste and smell.”
Dr. Leers is an advocate for not smoking. Research has linked smoking to cancer, vascular disease, stroke and lung disease.
“As a vascular surgeon, I’ve seen the damage done to veins and arteries from tobacco use,” said Dr. Leers. “Nicotine speeds up the heart and causes the body to release fat and cholesterol into the blood. All of these are related to vascular disease.”
In addition, smoking accelerates the hardening and narrowing of arteries. Smokers are two to four times more likely to develop blood clots.
Nearly 6 million people die every year from tobacco use according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Of these, more than 600,000 persons die from secondhand smoke.
In the U.S., the 2011 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report “Tobacco Use: Targeting the Nation’s Leading Killer” indicates that smoking leads to 443,000 premature deaths annually from tobacco use or exposure to secondhand smoke. On average, smokers die 13 to 14 years earlier than non-smokers.
“Nicotine in cigarettes raises blood pressure and constricts arteries,” said Dr. Leers.
Narrowed arteries can result in:
* blood clots
* heart attacks (narrowed coronary artery)
* stroke (narrowed brain or neck artery)
* peripheral arterial disease (PAD) leading to gangrene and amputation (narrowed leg artery)
* erectile dysfunction for men in their 30s and 40s (narrowed artery to the penis).
“Smokers are more likely to develop aneurysms (ballooning of an artery due to a weakness in the blood vessel wall) than non-smokers,” said Dr. Leers. For information on smoking and vascular disease, log onto www.VascularWeb.org.

Fall in Love with Platinum

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Every year, Valentine’s Day is looked at as one of the biggest gift-giving holidays of the year. Additionally, many use the holiday to drop down on one knee and pop the big question. Last year, 250,000 couples became engaged on Valentine’s Day -; a testament to how important the day is to thousands of love-struck Americans.
If you’re looking for a unique, stylish and heirloom-quality accessory to give your special someone this year, you aren’t alone. According to jewelry and style expert Michael O’Connor, Platinum jewelry is one of this year’s best bets for a Valentine’s Day gift.
“Giving a gift of love on Valentine’s Day is about emotion and being sure you will be remembered,” O’Connor said. “Platinum jewelry is the perfect choice because its purity and rarity underscore the emotional reasons why you’re giving the gift, while its durability means that it won’t wear down like other metals and will last a lifetime.”
The following jewelry ideas, compiled by O’Connor, will help you pick out the hottest jewelry this Valentine’s Day:
* Engagement ring. If you’re looking to propose to your significant other this Valentine’s Day, look beyond the four Cs and seriously consider the setting. With an engagement diamond purchase, a premium is paid for a quality diamond, and you won’t want to diminish that investment with a metal that won’t complement the beauty and longevity of the stone. Platinum will hold your diamond more securely, and since it’s naturally a white metal, it will maximize the diamond’s sparkle. Designs that range from modern styles by Martin Flyer to vintage-inspired looks from Tacori can accommodate all types of diamond cuts.
* Gifts for him. One of the most popular Valentine’s Day gifts for men -; stylish watches from companies like Franck Muller, Vacheron Constantin and Jacob & Co. -; pair masculinity with durability in Platinum looks that are perfect for dressing up or down. If you’re looking for a different approach, Platinum cuff links also make a good choice for that businessman with a sense of panache.
* Platinum pendants. From the runway to Hollywood’s A-list, it’s all about layering this season. Look to layering Platinum pendants in oval, heart and square shapes for a distinct flair this year.
For more information on jewelry trends for Valentine’s Day, visit www.preciousplatinum.com.

Take Advantage of Programmable Thermostats to Maximize Energy Savings

From smart phones to programmable thermostats, today’s electronics come equipped with advanced operating systems that make life easier and more efficient. The challenge is knowing how to take full advantage of the capabilities of these devices.

Consider indoor environment devices like programmable thermostats. Programmable thermostats are capable of controlling the entire heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system – from heating to indoor air quality and energy management.

“Adjusting the temperature up and down doesn’t equate to savings or even comfort in the home,” said Jonathan Payne, product manager of programmable controls at Carrier. “The key to total comfort is the homeowner’s ability to control the temperature, humidity, air circulation and energy use.”

Social Change: A New Year’s Resolution for 2012

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – From smart phones to programmable thermostats, today’s electronics come equipped with advanced operating systems that make life easier and more efficient. The challenge is knowing how to take full advantage of the capabilities of these devices.
Consider indoor environment devices like programmable thermostats. Programmable thermostats are capable of controlling the entire heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system — from heating to indoor air quality and energy management.
“Adjusting the temperature up and down doesn’t equate to savings or even comfort in the home,” said Jonathan Payne, product manager of programmable controls at Carrier. “The key to total comfort is the homeowner’s ability to control the temperature, humidity, air circulation and energy use.”
Although many homes have programmable thermostats, they may not be programmed or used properly. To truly realize the advantages of a programmable thermostat, consider these tips:
1. Choose a thermostat that manages your system properly and efficiently. Select a thermostat that is not only easy for you to understand and program, but one that controls all of the equipment in your HVAC system, including an air purifier, humidifier, air conditioner, furnace and/or heat pump.
2. Have the HVAC control or thermostat installed by a Carrier authorized dealer or other HVAC expert to ensure the wiring and settings are configured to match the needs of your specific system.
3. Choose a program that fits well with your lifestyle, and stick with it. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), energy can be saved if you keep energy-saving set points activated for longer timeframes. So, you could leave home energy-saving set points on during the work/school day, or at night when family members are asleep, for instance.
4. Avoid overuse of the temporary “hold” feature. If you consistently “hold” or over-ride the pre-programmed settings, you could be wasting energy. The EPA suggests that the “hold” and “vacation” settings should be set several degrees warmer and cooler in the summer and winter months, respectively, and only used when you’re away from home for an extended stay.
5. Try not to achieve a quick fix. The EPA’s Proper Use Guidelines for Programmable Controls indicates that you will not heat or cool your house faster by adjusting the temperature on your thermostat to the extremes — up to 80 degrees or down to 30 degrees.
To learn more about Carrier programmable thermostats, call 1-800-CARRIER or visit www.residential.carrier.com.

Energy-Efficient Products Add Comfort and Savings

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – When buying a new home or remodeling an existing one, many people get caught up in the selection of hardwood flooring or cabinet colors and can sometimes forget about adding real value to a home — specifically with the right combination of energy-saving solutions and an optimal heating and cooling (HVAC) system. What’s behind the walls and in the attic, basement or utility closet can really impact a home’s value and performance and lead to greater energy savings and long-term buyer satisfaction.
The average homeowner spends approximately $1,900 a year on energy bills. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, heating and cooling account for about 56 percent of a typical home’s energy usage, making it the largest energy expense for most homes.
A natural first step to achieving an energy-efficient home is to install a high-efficiency heating and cooling system. Many of today’s top builders and contractors are turning to the experts at Carrier and their full line of energy-efficient solutions to help reduce energy use in homes without pricing buyers out of the market. Plus, many Carrier products meet or exceed federal energy requirements and are Energy Star compliant.
Though investing in energy-efficient heating and cooling may have the biggest impact on reducing household energy use, homeowners should approach energy efficiency from a more holistic perspective.
A highly efficient system should work in concert with high-quality insulation, water heater, windows, roofing, light fixtures and energy-efficient appliances to ensure the greatest energy savings. Be sure to talk with a homebuilder or contractor about how these various systems work together to determine the right solution based on the style of home and climate.
So while contemplating what color to paint the master bedroom, think about what’s in the utility closet, too. It’ll reduce future energy use and contribute to a comfortable home. For more details on heating and cooling systems, visit www.residential.carrier.com.

Brighten Up Your Home to Combat SAD

Now that daylight savings time has ended for this year, the days are getting shorter, and the reduction in natural daylight makes many feel glum. For those who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), the symptoms of depression are more acute at this time of year. According to the American Lighting Association (ALA), there are some things homeowners can do to counteract the effects of SAD.

It’s clear that people need bright days and dark nights, a finding confirmed by a report by the Lighting Research Center in New York. Consumers might have seen “light boxes” promoted as a solution; however, using a light box is not a do-it-yourself project.

Is Water the Next Oil?

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Water is an essential natural resource — and it’s only becoming more valuable.
Despite 70 percent of the planet’s surface being covered by water, a mere 3 percent can be considered suitable drinking water. As pollution spreads and populations rise, fresh water supplies in highly populated areas are dwindling. Since 1950, the global population has nearly doubled, and water use has tripled.
“Much like oil, the growing demand for fresh drinking water is making it an increasingly valuable resource,” says Joel Sens, president of Seawright Holdings. “Water is the driving force behind life on this planet. As water use continues to climb, more regions find themselves facing a critical dilemma.”
More extreme cases of dwindling water supplies can be found in the hotter climate zones within the U.S. In fact, Texas is experiencing the worst single-year drought on record — now strengthened into a lethal rash of wildfires. In addition to Texas, the Great Lakes are shrinking, upstate New York reservoirs have sunk to record lows, and the west coast is riddled with water restrictions. Experts predict that at least 36 states will face water shortages within the next five years because of a combination of drought, population growth, waste and excess.
“The future of the global water supply is scarily dark,” says Sens. “At Seawright Holdings, we just happen to be in a good position to profit on the inevitable scarcity of water.”
Seawright Holdings is a small, overlooked public company whose stock currently trades well below $1 per share. As owner of one of the largest and oldest fresh water springs in the U.S., its spring is unaffected by drought and protected by 145 acres of land. Located 120 miles west of Washington, DC in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, Seawright Springs produces over 1 million gallons of natural, FDA-approved water per day. Not to mention, the spring is ideally located within a day’s drive of two-thirds of the American population, which makes the water even more valuable due to its close proximity to so much of the U.S. population.
As the value of water continues to rise, Seawright Holdings remains an interesting investment opportunity. The company trades under the symbol (OTCQB: SWRI). To find more information about the spring and stock-related details, go to www.swristock.com.

Be Prepared! Back-to-School Time Is Lice Season

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Parents need to be prepared for back-to-school season as 85 percent of all school districts report at least one outbreak a year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that most of the 12 million cases occur in preschool and elementary-school-aged children.
Fortunately, parents can now help to prevent head lice using natural, safe and effective ingredients. A recent study by Fairy Tales Hair Care showed that rosemary, citronella, tea tree and lavender oils were over 93 percent effective in preventing head lice. Daily use of shampoos and sprays help keep the fragrance fresh on the child’s hair and keep lice away.
In addition to natural products, Fairy Tales recommends the following tips:
* Explain to your children to never share hats, combs, pillows, ear buds or helmets. Keep long hair up in a pony tail or braid.
* Lice like clean hair — not dirty! Don’t shampoo every day, and use products to coat the hair shaft making it hard for a louse to attach to it.
* Do weekly head checks. Sit under a bright light and comb through tiny sections of the hair — focusing on the “hot spots,” such as the back of neck, behind ears and the part lines. Nits (eggs) will be grayish in color and glued 1/4 inch from the top of the hair shaft. If it is hard to remove, it is a nit and not dandruff.
* Lice-removal treatments are now available that are more effective and safer than traditional over-the-counter products. Enzymes dissolve the “nit glue” so eggs/nits wash out easily and kill live bugs on contact. Enzymes work on the new breed of “super lice” as well. Lice Good-Bye can be used repeatedly, allowing parents to safely remove lice and get children back to school quickly and lice free.
To learn more, visit www.fairytaleshaircare.com.

Six Tips to Prepare Your Kitchen for Entertaining

Nothing brings people together like a dinner party, potluck or barbecue – but entertaining can put strain on the kitchen as well as the host.
As you clean your home, consider giving your appliances tune-ups to keep them running more efficiently. The home economists at Whirlpool Corporation offer several quick tips and tricks to prepare the kitchen for entertaining:
1.    Change the water filter. Be sure to change the refrigerator water filter every six months to keep water fresh and free of contaminants.
2.    Use the dishwasher. According to ENERGY STAR, the U.S. government program that certifies energy-efficient appliances, washing dishes by hand uses much more water than using a dishwasher. Using an ENERGY STAR-qualified dishwasher instead of hand washing will save 5,000 gallons of water, $40 in utility costs and 230 hours of your time each year.
3.    Stop pre-rinsing dishes. When you pre-rinse dishes, the detergent doesn’t have any grease or grime to stick to. As a result, the detergent will attack dishes, making them appear cloudy, scratched or etched.
4.    Get rid of dust bunnies. Use a slender vacuum attachment or hosiery wrapped around a yardstick to clear out dust and debris from behind and underneath the refrigerator. Dusting will help the fridge run more efficiently.
5.    Switch to electric. Electric cooktops are about twice as energy-efficient as gas. Electric elements have high-efficiency insulation surrounding the element, and the close proximity to the pot or pan allows efficient heat transfer.
6.    Do a clean sweep. Cleaning appliances on a regular basis can keep unwanted odors at bay, since it has the tendency to exist anywhere moisture is present in a closed environment. Dishwashers and garbage disposals fit the bill — clean them every 30 days to prevent odors from leftover food particles and residue.
To help make this chore a little easier, Whirlpool Corporation developed affresh Dishwasher and Disposal Cleaner, the only two-in-one product on the market that removes unwanted odors in dishwashers and garbage disposals. Recommended for monthly use, consumers simply drop the tablets into the dishwasher and disposal for a convenient and affordable solution to unpleasant odors.
For additional information and product availability, please visit www.affresh.com.

Tips to Get Your Car in Shape for Summer

The days are longer, the sun is stronger and beach season is almost here, but getting in shape for summer means more than hitting the gym. It is also important to keep your car in tip-top shape before you get on the highway for an early summer getaway. Firestone Complete Auto Care has the following tips to get your vehicle road-trip ready:

Preparation