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9 Signs you’re happier than you think

by The Editors of Prevention

Your emotional well-being isn’t just about your genes or the kind of home you were raised in. It turns out that some pretty interesting factors—backed by science—play a role in how joyful you feel:

You were a smiley student

Adults with the biggest grins in their college yearbook pictures were up to 5 times less likely to be divorced decades later than those who looked less happy, according to a new DePauw University study. A smiler’s positive disposition may attract other happy people or rub off on a spouse.

You have a sister

People with at least one female sibling report better social support, more optimism, and better coping abilities, according to a study presented at the British Psychological Society’s annual conference. Sisters appear to encourage communication and cohesion in families.

You’re not glued to the TV

The happiest people spend 30% less time parked in front of the tube, according to a University of Maryland study that analyzed 34 years of data from more than 45,000 Americans. They’re more likely to spend time socializing, reading, or attending religious services—habits that are linked to better moods and health.

You keep souvenirs on display

People who use mementos or photos to remind themselves of good times better appreciate their lives and are happier, says Sonja Lyubomirsky, PhD, a professor of psychology at University of California, Riverside. Good memories remind you of your “happiness potential” and promise that soon you can reach it again.

You make exercise a priority

People who exercise more are less likely to be stressed and more likely to be satisfied with life, according to Danish researchers. Compared with sedentary people, joggers are 70% less likely to have high stress levels and life dissatisfaction, the study found. Couch potatoes who start moderate exercise—the equivalent of 17 to 34 minutes a day—experience the greatest happiness lift.

You have a healthy love life

Physical intimacy is a key contributor to happiness, found a study by Dartmouth economist David Blanchflower, PhD, and Andrew Oswald, PhD, of England’s University of Warwick. Married people report 30% more sex than singles, which may be one reason they also report being happier.

You hang out with happy people

Socializing with a cheerful person in your neighborhood increases the likelihood that you’ll be happy too, according to a new study. How often you get together matters most, say the researchers: People who live within half a mile of a buoyant buddy increase their odds of being happy by 42%. If the friend lives farther away (within a 2-mile radius), the chances drop to 22%—probably due to fewer get-togethers.

You stay warm with hot cocoa

Clutching a steaming beverage—coffee and tea also do the trick—can elicit a flood of positive feelings, according to a Yale University study. This may be because people associate physical warmth with emotional warmth, say the researchers. Study subjects held cups of either hot or iced coffee; those gripping warm mugs were more appreciative of friendliness in others and also felt more generous and trusting themselves.

You have two best friends

Among 654 married adults, those who said they had at least two “best friends” (not necessarily including one’s spouse) were likelier to have better mental well-being, says a study. But additional friends didn’t lead to any more happiness than just a pair.

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Posted by on September 30, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

5 expert secrets to looking younger than you are

by Liz Brody, Shine Staff

THE COSMETIC DERMATOLOGIST 

Who
: Heidi Waldorf, MD, associate clinical professor at Mount Sinai Hospital’s department of dermatology in New York. 

Top Secret: Diligently apply sun protection. (You knew that was coming.)  “Most women miss the jawline, neck, chest, and hands, and they’re all very telling of aging skin,” says Waldorf. Beyond that, if you’re not planning to get pregnant, use topical retinoids a few times a week. You can get them in OTC products or in higher concentrations from a dermatologist. “Studies show they help aged skin look more normal microscopically,” Waldorf says.

Next Best Tips: Once you hit 40, regular, gentle exfoliation helps keep the complexion lustrous. Of all the anti-aging products on drugstore shelves, Waldorf recommends RoC Deep Retinol Correxion Wrinkle Serum and SkinMedica TNS Essential Serum, which she calls, “chicken soup for the skin.”

THE IMAGE CONSULTANT

Who
: Kelly Machbitz, certified image consultant in Tampa, Florida, and author of All About Face.

Top Secret: Soften the eyeliner. “Women tend to go too heavy, which drags the eyes down and makes them look older,” says Machbitz Instead of black, try a slate or grey. “Then, with your pencil or brush, just dot along the rim where your lashes are, and lightly connect the dots without drawing a harsh line straight across.”  

Next Best Tips: Lose the dark-outline lip trick. “You can create a much fresher look by using a nude lip liner to define the shape, and then filling in with a clear or subtle gloss,” says Machbitz. And when it comes to choosing the right foundation it’s worth a one-time splurge at the makeup counter to have a specialist help you pick the right foundation so it looks like you’re not wearing anything. Before buying, let the product dry on your skin (the color can darken) and check it outside in the daylight. Once you have the perfect shade, you can always match it with a less pricey product. 

THE DATING COACH
Who
: Rachel Canis, professional matchmaker and president of Best Foot Forward, a Chicago dating service. 

Top Secret: Downplay. “Make sure you’re not going into dead-on cougar attire,” says Canis. “I’m talking about wearing really tight clothes that show it all. I don’t care how great your body is. After a certain age, it looks like you’re trying too hard, and you just come off older.”  Then again, she says, “dressing super corporate can age you too.” Young women have a sense of feeling comfortable with themselves, which is why Canis recommends mixing in some softer fabrics. “Try a structured piece with a flowy piece, or a tight tank top with a fuller jacket,” she says. “I always seem to meet people when I’m wearing a cocktail dress and a pair of funky flip-flops.” 

Next Best Tips: Err on the side of less makeup, versus more. Peachy colors and a little shimmer are all you need for a young and dewy appeal, says Canis. Also trendy can be tricky. “The short, sculpted hairdos are great in your twenties, but when you’re older, they frumpify you. And at a certain age, you really don’t want to be doing green nails.”     

THE PHOTO DIRECTOR

Who: Katherine Schad, director of photography at O, the Oprah Magazine. 

Top Secret: If you’re posing for a photo, “black and white film is more forgiving than color,” says Schad. “And shoot outdoors—an interior flash can be glaring if the photographer isn’t a pro.” The key to projecting “young”, she says, is being relaxed. One tried-and-true trick: Look away from the camera and then turn back so the “click” will capture your spontaneous energy.

Next Best Tips: Schad, who often shoots real women for her magazine’s makeovers, re-dresses her subjects in a classic look with a fun little twist: “Maybe a cute black dress with a pair of great red shoes, or jeans and a crisp, white shirt, with an unusual appliquéd jacket,” she explains. As for hair? Overly-fussy updos are a little dated, she adds. When in doubt, get a blowout. 

THE “REAL AGE” DOCTOR

Who: Micheal Roizen, MD, author of RealAge: Are you as young as you can be? and coauthor, with Mehmet Oz, MD, of YOU: Staying Young

Top Secret: Above and beyond everything else, the No. 1 key to looking younger is a healthy attitude, says Roizen, who chairs the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. “And the trick to that is re-focusing on how fortunate you are. Instead of griping, that jerk cut me off, you want to be thinking, At least I’m not as obnoxious as he is—or, in as much of a hurry.

Next Best Tips: Number 2 on the list (take Roizen’s test to determine your “real age”) is avoiding cigarettes, including second-hand smoke, which is “amazingly detrimental to your skin and health.” Number three is exercise. To get maximum youth benefit for minimum sweat, find 30 minutes each day to walk, and every week do the following: a half-hour of resistance training plus three 21-minute bouts of cardio in which you go as fast as you can for the 10th and 21st minute. Not only will these interval blasts boost your metabolism, says Roizen, “but they’ll increase the size of your hippocampus, which will keep you remembering long into the future.”

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

8 Natural Ways to Enhance Your Fertility

By Lucy Danziger

 

Practice, practice, practice!

Weekly sexual intimacy appears to regulate your monthly cycle, as well as delay the decline of estrogen as we get older, both of which can enhance fertility, according to research by Winnifred Cutler, Ph.D., founder of the Athena Institute in Chester Springs, Pennsylvania. More estrogen is also linked to increased bone density, a healthier cardiovascular system, lower “bad” cholesterol, higher “good” cholesterol and a milder menopause. After all that, what are you waiting for—consider this permission to get busy!

Weigh in

Having a body-mass index greater than 25 can increase the likelihood of a whole host of health troubles, including polycystic ovary syndrome, which disrupts your menstrual cycle—and may derail your plans for getting pregnant without complications. Aim for a BMI between 18.5 and 25; calculate yours at Self.com.

Butt out

You know smoking stinks for your lung and heart health—and now studies show that it can also raise your risk for early menopause. Toxins in the cancer sticks can disrupt ovulation, but the good news is that quitting today can help preserve your fertility. For new ways to kick the habit, talk to your M.D. or visit SmokeFree.gov.

Hit the hay

Some infertile women have been shown to have low levels of leptin, a hormone that affects hunger and weight regulation. Leptin levels drop if you fall short on zzz’s, so try to log 7 to 8 hours tonight and every night.

Clean house

Chemicals in home products can impair fertility. Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are flame retardants in some tech toys, plastics and fabrics, and a study in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives reports that women with high PBDE blood levels took twice as long to conceive as those with lower levels. The chemicals may alter thyroid function and disrupt sex-hormone levels. PBDEs leach out and linger in dust we breathe and touch, so use a vacuum with a HEPA filter and wash your hands often to rinse away any residual toxins.

Ace your exams

Sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia can cause pelvic inflammation and scarring of the fallopian tubes, which can lead to infertility. Practice safe sex, of course, and see your ob/gyn annually to monitor your reproductive health.

Don’t rule out ice cream

All you ice cream lovers, take heart: Full-fat dairy foods (like cheese, ice cream and whole milk) may help you get pregnant, a study from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston finds. A fat-soluble compound in dairy may up your odds of conceiving. Pass the spoon!

B smart

Once recommended only for pregnant women, folic acid (400 micgrograms a day) is now considered good medicine for all women of childbearing age, says Mark Gapinski, M.D., an ob/gyn at Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield, Illinois. We use the B vitamin to make and maintain new cells in skin, hair, nails and throughout the body. Found naturally in lentils (360 mcg per cup) and leafy greens like spinach (260 mcg per cup), folic acid prevents miscarriage and birth defects.

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

Good Sex Tips for Married Couples

By Redbook

Accessorize the action

To really blow his mind, break out the bling-bling and wear nothing but jewelry to bed: It’ll fulfill his Vegas-showgirl fantasy. Graze the nape of his neck with your chandelier earrings. Slip on a stack of bangles and create a clamor under the comforter. Or skim your superlong strand of faux pearls up and down his legs. (Earn bonus points if you tie him to the bedpost with them.)

Beer in bed

The secret to making midweek nooky more naughty: Pop a few exotic microbrews in the sack, and then drink to the rowdy fun to come.

Canoodle like the celebs

Who says you have to be a Hollywood “it” girl to get caught sneaking a sensuous snuggle with your man? The next time you’re dining à deux, squeeze in next to him on the same side of the booth or table — as if you’re at the most romantic cafe in Paris. Then let your tongue do the talking.

Don a dominatrix attitude

No, we’re not suggesting you wear leather; just take charge in the bedroom. Order him to strip, then to kiss your toes, then your calves, then your knees, then your….
Exercise, sexercise
Trust us: There’s a link between working up a sweat and having hot sex. When your blood is really pumping, your orgasms are more intense. For maximum mojo, hit the gym together late in the day, as close to your personal blastoff time as possible.

Free-ranging fingertips

Instead of parking your hands in his hair or on the small of his back, keep your fingertips — with their oh-so-sensitive nerve endings — roaming over his body. This extrasensory experience will supersize both your pleasure and his.

Garter belt

Haven’t worn one since your wedding? Then it’s time to give him a second viewing. (It’ll transform you into a sultry femme fatale from a forties movie; perhaps he’ll want to role-play the hard-boiled private eye.) On your next date night, slide his palm under your skirt just far enough so that he realizes you aren’t wearing your usual hose. A sexy mystery will begin!

Heighten the heat

Transform standard missionary-style sex into sizzling passion with one of these position-switching moves: 1. Stick a pillow under your butt — the lift will make sure you’re rubbed in the most intense way. 2. Once he’s inside you, squeeze your legs together for a more tantalizing fit. 3. Pull your legs up around the sides of his thighs; then gently push his tush with your soles.
Intensify ice cream eating
Remember in high school, when you got a rush from sharing the same cone with a guy? Next time you’re Ben & Jerry’s bound, split a scoop with your sweetie. Be sure to lick the drips off his fingers and chin.

Jump his bones

Sneak up from behind while your guy is paying the bills. Slip into the steamy bathroom while he’s showering. Fondle his thigh while he’s watching Sunday afternoon football. And be sure to moan that he’s too hot and irresistible for you to wait.

Kissing, Hollywood-style

Just once — heck, make that once a day — treat yourself to a head-thrown-back, big-screen smooch. Or try this riveting slow-motion twist: Grab him by his tie, reel him in, and plant your luscious, lingering lips on him. Who does that kind of thing, anyway? Why, you two do!

Little black undies

You already know that a little black dress is essential. But what every married gal also needs is a barely there lace bikini or thong in noir. It’ll make your man dizzy with desire.

Messages without words

Shh! Agree to spend an evening using only body language to get your amorous intentions across. You’ll discover a new level of touch.

Naughty videos
Tell your hubby that you really want to watch a special documentary together; then surprise him by turning off the lights and turning on a racy film.

Open your eyes

For the ultimate in bedroom bonding, make a pact to keep your pupils focused on each other while doing the deed. You’ll stay in the moment — getting an eyeful of each other’s climaxes.

Prime his perineum

To give your guy intense pleasure, gently knead the nerve-ending-intense area right behind his scrotum.
Quickies, and lots of ’em

Divert his attention ten minutes before he leaves for work, or as you’re headed to a dinner party. Keep him guessing when your impromptu passion will propel you to need him “right now.”

Reminisce about that time you two…

Here’s a little-known truth about rabid-for-each-other couples: They’re always running a postgame recap of their favorite sex-capades. Detail what you love most, and refer back to your sultriest moment often.

Signature sex stunt

Think of your favorite move, then give it a raunchy name. Here’s how: Start with “the.” Add an adjective that applies to small animals, such as “frisky.” Finish with the name of a wild animal, like “gazelle.” Look out! You crazy kids do The Frisky Gazelle.

Tickle him with your hair

Letting your locks brush alongside his torso is a huge turn-on. It strokes his biggest sex organ: his skin.

Unconditional love

So your husband doesn’t have Brad Pitt’s abs or Sting’s flair for tantric sex. Whisper to him that you can’t imagine waking up next to a sexier, more exciting man than him.

Valentine’s year-round

Why single one day out of 365 for wicked wooing? Celebrate every milestone: the first time you two rocked, the night you mastered Kama Sutra’s The Vine position, and the afternoon on a tropical beach when you let the waves surge between your legs.

Wear him out

One time, two times, three times — and again. Get into a randy rhythm.

X-rated pillow talk

A few well-placed dirty words on the mattress will make him want to bleep the bleep out of you.

Yoga breathing

A slow, steady exhale makes for more than good yoga: It’s the secret behind toe-curling orgasms. But even if you don’t know a Downward Dog from a hot dog, you can still master this momentous-sex must. Rather than holding in your breath as an orgasm approaches, slowly breathe out, expelling all the air from your lungs before inhaling again.

Z’s & the 2 a.m. trick

Why let an arousing dream go to waste? Next time you wake up after a sexy subconscious scorcher, rouse your man from his slumber and share that frenzied feeling. He’ll thank you.
 
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Posted by on September 19, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

Cold, Flu, or Allergies? How to Tell What Your Child Has

By Redbook

Not sure what’s causing your child to feel rundown? Check out these common symptoms of colds, the flu, and allergies along with helpful treatment for each problem.

It may be a cold if… your child is up and about, even if she has a runny nose, congestion, sneezing, a sore throat, and a cough. Symptoms tend to come on slowly and last no more than two weeks, says Sara Caldararo, M.D., an assistant professor of clinical pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, NY. If your child does have a fever, it’s typically low-grade. Some kids may have mild aches, including headaches.

What to do: Make sure your child gets plenty of fluids and rest. Try a cool-mist humidifier to relieve congestion. Cold symptoms that last several weeks — especially if your child has a headache, a low-grade fever, and (for an older child) facial pain — may signal a sinus infection, which requires antibiotics.

It may be the flu if… your child is listless — and grumpy. “They’re miserable because they just feel so bad,” says Carol Steltenkamp, M.D., an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Kentucky. The flu comes on quickly, and symptoms include chills, fatigue, muscle aches, and a fever.

What to do: To reduce fever and relieve aches or pain, try giving your child acetaminophen or ibuprofen (both of which are considered safe for children over the age of 6 months). If you take your child to the pediatrician within 48 hours after symptoms start, he may prescribe an antiviral remedy that can decrease the flu’s duration. If symptoms don’t improve after 10 days, the fever continues to climb, or your child starts having trouble breathing or drinking enough fluids, call your doctor — she may have something more serious, such as pneumonia.

It may be allergies if…
your child feels itchy in her eyes, nose, or both, and has nasal congestion and sneezing, but never a fever. Colds go away in seven to 14 days, but allergies can hang on indefinitely, especially if your child is sensitive to indoor allergens, like dust mites and mold.

What to do: Oral antihistamines, like Benadryl and Claritin, can usually provide some symptom relief. Head to your doctor to get a sense of how intense your kid’s allergies are and ask about intranasal steroid nose sprays, such as Flonase, which can prevent allergy symptoms, says Derek Johnson, M.D., a pediatric allergy and immunology specialist at Fair Oaks Medical Center in Fairfax, VA. “Use mattress and pillow encasements to shield your child from dust allergens, and wash bedding and stuffed toys in hot water to kill dust mites,” he says. “Keep pets out of the bedroom and don’t use humidifiers, which will only encourage mold and dust mite growth.”

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

7 Homemade Alternatives to Controversial Over-the-Counter Cold Remedies

by Kaboodle.com

According to American Medical News, The Food and Drug Administration is considering recommending restrictions on over-the-counter cold medicines that contain dextromethorphan, a chemical that is present in more than 100 cold remedies and can cause euphoria and dysphoria. An increase in emergency room visits associated with recreational abuse of over-the-counter medications that contain this ingredient has prompted the FDA to consider making some cold medications available by prescription only.  Luckily, all your cold symptoms can be treated just as well, if not better, with natural ingredients you most-likely already have in your kitchen. Read on for seven powerful, homemade cold remedies that will save you a trip to the drugstore and help you to fight the common cold safely and naturally:

1.    Salt Water Gargle
Can you believe simple table salt may be the answer to your seasonal-cold prayers? It’s true! The dehydrating effects of salt pulls out the extra fluid in the throat that causes uncomfortable swelling while simultaneously killing bacteria.  When gargled, salt breaks up phlegm and decreases inflammation that causes soreness. So next time you’re throat is pestering you, add half a teaspoon of salt to an eight-ounce glass of warm water and gargle three times or until the entire glass is gone. It’s not exactly pleasant but you’ll feel instantly healthier and you can literally see your cold going down the drain when you spit.

2.    Sinus-Clearing Vapor
Colds thrive in dry, cold conditions, which is why they are most common in the winter months. Inhaling steam helps hydrate your air passageways and gets the cold moving out of your body. While Vicks Vapor Rub does wonders in breaking up sinus congestion, you can easily make your own powerful minty concoction. Just boil mint, rosemary, and clove in a pot of water and breathe in the spicy vapor to instantly clear your sinuses. Spending time in steamy showers also helps to break up head and chest congestion. And for mild congestion, even just sucking on a mint can help clear up the sniffles temporarily.

3.    Cayenne Water
Cayenne pepper increases blood flow instantly which means the blood cells needed to fight off infection can get to their destination more quickly. Mixed with warm water, it’s literally an instant savior to anyone with a severely sore throat. Just mix warm water with a ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper and gargle to temporarily soothe a sore throat and to give your immune system a kick.

4.    Fresh Chopped Garlic
Garlic is a powerful antioxidant that supports immune function, so ingesting it in its most natural form gives our natural defenses the boost it needs to fight the cold. At the first sign of the sniffles, chop up a clove of raw garlic and eat it with crackers. Your breath may be a bit harsh, but your body will thank you for it.

5.    Homemade Cough Syrup

No need for over-the-counter cough syrup. All you need are three ingredients for a powerful, natural throat calmer: Lemon juice, which is a good source for vitamin C, a natural anti-bacterial, and full of antioxidants; honey, which is a natural energizer to help you fight fatigue; and warm water: Combine three tablespoons of lemon juice, one cup of honey, and a quarter cup of warm water and take a teaspoon at a time, as needed, to suppress a cough and soothe an achy throat. Note: This is not advised for babies, who are recommended to avoid honey.

6.    Hot Toddy

Thanks to its combination of soporific alcohol and throat-soothing honey, this alcoholic drink wipes out that awful achy feeling and helps you sweat out a fever. To raise your glass (adults only, please!), combine one ounce of whiskey, rum, or brandy with one tablespoon of honey, three tablespoons of lemon, and your favorite tea (think chamomile or mint for the most soothing concoction).

7.    Chicken Soup

Parents have been spoon-feeding their sick children chicken soup for ages. Turns out that mothers’ instinct was right! Scientists have now found that the health benefits aren’t just a placebo effect. According to the Mayo Clinic, chicken soup has been shown to relieve congestion and inhibit inflammation as it speeds up the movement of mucous. For best results, make your own chicken soup by simmering the carcass of a chicken in water with vegetables such as onion, carrot, and celery, for at least 12 hours. The longer the pot is on the stove, the more the medicinal properties are drawn out of the bones

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Bedbugs

By Amanda Greene

The old rhyme “Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite” has become a frightening reality lately. With bedbug outbreaks so common they’re hardly even newsworthy anymore, people are on high alert for the tiny insects. But with increased awareness comes an onslaught of rumors, myths and flat-out fallacies. So WD went to the experts to differentiate fact from fiction, and found out everything you never knew about bedbugs.

1. The term bedbug is a misnomer.

The Latin name for bedbugs is Cimex lectularius, which means “bug of the bed.” But don’t let that fool you—the pesky creatures can be found anywhere. “Bedbugs want to feed on you at night while you’re still, so they’re commonly found in your bed,” says John Furman, president of New York City–based pest management company Boot-A-Pest. “But I always say the bed is 70 percent of the infestation and the rest of the room is the other 30 percent. They can be all over your apartment—in the sofa, behind picture frames or in the crevices of baseboards.” Photo by Shutterstock.

2. Bedbugs don’t discriminate.

“There’s an unnecessary stigma associated with bedbugs,” says Susan Jones, PhD, associate professor of entomology at Ohio State University. “Anyone can get them. They’re not associated with poor housekeeping or a certain poverty level or anything like that.” So if you have them—or know someone who does—remember that it has nothing to do with personal hygiene habits. “Every woman whose home I treat tells me how often they shower, how clean they are, that they get manicures—none of that matters,” reports Jeff Eisenberg, founder of Pest Away Exterminating. Photo by iStockphoto.

3. Bedbugs haven’t been proven to transmit any harmful diseases.

Unlike with many other pests and insects, research has not yet proven that bedbugs do anything more harmful than give you the heebie-jeebies. But that doesn’t mean people should brush them off as no big deal. Dr. Jones believes the research is “incomplete and inconclusive.” And Eisenberg insists they are a mental health risk. “People can become so obsessed with bedbugs they don’t sleep for weeks—they miss work, they spend hours Googling the topic. I call it bedbug paranoia.” Bedbugs have also been shown to aggravate allergy and asthma symptoms in people who already suffer from them. Photo by Shutterstock.

4. No two people’s bedbug bites will look the same.

It’s easy to notice a suspicious bite and head straight to the Internet to diagnose yourself. But just because a website tells you bedbug bites look a certain way doesn’t mean your bites will follow that pattern. According to Dr. Jones, bites often appear in a grouping of three or a “1-2-3—breakfast, lunch, dinner” pattern, but many people—around 30 percent, according to Furman––don’t react to bites at all. And others may have singular scattered bites. Photo by iStockphoto.

5. Bedbugs aren’t truly nocturnal.

Though these pests like to come out before dawn, don’t think you can wait up all night to outsmart them. “A bedbug is an opportunist, and while their peak feeding time is between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m., if you work nights they will come out and feed on you during the day,” says Furman. Dr. Jones explains that they’re attracted to a human’s body temperature and, even more so, the carbon dioxide we exhale. Photo by John Downer / Getty Images.

6. Even if you can’t see them, you may have them.

While itchy bites may indicate you have a bedbug problem, a thorough inspection is necessary to prove it. “If you have a low-level infestation, most people will miss the signs. You really need to call a professional who will spend the time to find the evidence,” says Furman, who takes at least an hour inspecting rooms for signs of bedbugs. Things you should look for include “peppering,” which are black fecal spots that are usually imbedded in the mattress seams or on the box spring, as well as insect skins (immature bedbugs shed their skin five times before becoming an adult). You may also see actual bedbugs, which, depending on their age, will be clear or rust-colored. You can never be too careful, but don’t panic. “I’ve had people email me photographs of Hostess cupcake crumbs, lint, fingernails, you name it,” says Furman. Photo by Tetra Images / Getty images.

7. Properly trained dogs can sniff out bedbugs.

Well-trained and properly handled canines can track down bedbugs because, like bomb-sniffing and drug-sniffing dogs, they are taught to home in on the scent. But according to Furman, “a dog is a tool to bring a handler to a defined search area. You’ve still got to find the bugs in the area they alerted you to.” Photo by iStockphoto.

8. You don’t have to throw away your belongings if you have bedbugs.

A common misconception about bedbugs is that if you have them, you have to trash your mattress and send all your clothing to the dry cleaner’s. Not true: According to Furman, heat is the number-one killer of bedbugs. Exterminators treat rooms and furniture with a combination of dry steam cleaning, deep heat and chemical treatments. If your clothes have been in an infested room, throw them in a hot dryer (at least 120 degrees) for 30 minutes to kill any bugs. Photo by Shutterstock.

9. You should never treat your home for bedbugs yourself.

Whatever you do, don’t attempt to fumigate your house for bedbugs yourself. “Don’t use a bug bomb or fogger, even if it claims it’s meant for bedbugs,” warns Dr. Jones. “All it will do is scatter them throughout your home, and if you have an apartment, it will give them to your neighbors.” She reports that boric acid and other grocery store sprays won’t work either. Calling a professional is essential—and call one early. “You have to deal with this right away,” insists Dr. Jones. “One single female bedbug can lay 500 eggs at once, so it can get out of control quickly.” Photo by iStockphoto.

10. Bedbugs aren’t going anywhere any time soon.

According to Dr. Jones, bedbugs started making a comeback in the late 1990s for a variety of reasons. A spike in international travel combined with a change in the pesticides and insecticides we use as well as lifestyle changes all played a role in their resurgence. “Bedbugs reproduce very quickly and live for a long time, so it was just a matter of time until their populations exploded,” she says. So what now? Though the situation is manageable, “there’s absolutely no end in sight. This is a pest we’ll likely be living with for the rest of our lives.” Photo by Dorling Kindersley / Getty Images.

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2010 in Uncategorized