It’s long been a fixture of American medicine cabinets, but hydrogen peroxide is not the wound-care wonder you might think it is. In fact, the properties in it that kill bacteria can actually damage healthy cell tissue. (The same is true of other disinfectants, such as alcohol or iodine.) That rarely causes serious harm, but it could slow healing time. Studies show that for most cuts and scrapes, rinsing thoroughly with water and cleaning the surrounding area with plain soap is at least as effective at preventing infection as hydrogen peroxide. And it’s less irritating to the wounded tissue. Use lots of
water, at a high enough pressure to flush out debris.
Hydrogen peroxide shouldn’t be your first-line defense for wounds, but it’s not a bad idea to stash some in an emergency kit for when you don’t have access to clean water. Keep some rubbing alcohol in the kit for disinfecting surfaces and various first-aid tools such as tweezers.
Reproduced from “Water, not hydrogen peroxide, is best for cuts,” Consumer Reports, October 2011.
Ah, the holidays. They’re a time for food, family, and fun. But when it comes to energy use, they can also be a time of excess and waste. All that cooking and baking and oodles of electric decorations – not to mention heating your home against the winter chill – can certainly cause your energy bill to spike. Here are a few tips to help keep your energy use in check this holiday season:
–When cooking your holiday turkey or ham, don’t preheat the oven. These foods are slow roasted anyway, so preheating is unnecessary – even when the recipe calls for it. Don’t open the oven door too often, either. Every time the door is opened, the temperature inside the oven drops 25 degrees. This causes the oven to have to work harder to heat itself back to the set temperature. And cook more than one thing at a time! This saves time and energy and allows foods to be ready all at once. Also, look for alternative, more energy-saving ways to cook, such as grilling, microwaving, or slow cooking. When using the stove top, match the size of the pan with the size of the burner. Small pans on large burners allows heat to escape around the edges; large pans on small burners means the food has to cook longer, thereby using more energy.
–When heating your home, set the thermostat to around 68 degrees. This is the most energy efficient temperature for your system. If you get chilly, build a cozy fire in the fireplace and don that gay apparel! It’s more cost-efficient to wear a sweater than to turn up the thermostat. But be careful: make sure the chimney is clear of debris before staring a fire. And keep your Christmas tree a safe distance from the flames.
–When decorating, discard those old bulbs that burn hot and gobble up energy. Use LED (light-emitting diode) lights instead. They are available in all shapes, colors, and designs and they use just a fraction of the electricity that traditional lights use. Be sure to use the right type of light for the situation, however. In other words, if the box says “for indoor use only,” don’t hang them on the outside of your house. Get the lights specified for outdoor use, which are designed to withstand harsh weather conditions.