Five Cheap and Easy Ways to Stay Healthy

By Aina Hunter

Aug. 13, 2008

Follow These Simple and Inexpensive Health Fixes to Stay Well for Less

Now that we’ve all been hit with the economic trifecta — the mortgage, food and gasoline crises — finding ways to cut back has become an imperative.

Of course, you never want to skimp when it comes to your health. Fortunately, there are ways to get well and stay that way for less.

1. Reduce Your Need for Allergy Meds

Dr. Beth Corn, an allergy immunologist at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, says that one of the most common mistakes allergy sufferers make is to keep stacks of books and magazines, stuffed animals, decorative pillows and other “dust-mite breeding grounds” in the bedroom.

Dust mites, she says, are the leading cause of indoor, year-long allergies.

And when it comes to outdoor allergens, about 60 percent of us suffer from ragweed, leaf molds and other harbingers of fall.

Good as it feels to sleep with your windows open to the sound of breezes rustling the trees, that might be why you wake up with a puffy, drippy, Garbage Pail Kid face.

Corn has a simple remedy: Close your windows and turn on a fan.

And if you’re a jogger, jog in the evening, she says. That’s because pollen counts are higher in morning.

And when you get home, remove your clothes immediately and shower to get rid of the pollen that has attached itself to your clothes, skin and hair.

But the worst enemies may be your best friends. Many people let pets sleep not only in room but in the bed.

It’s a touchy subject, Corn says. Getting allergy sufferers to stop sleeping in the same room or even in the same bed with Tiger is just not easy. But pet dander is one of the worst culprits.

Marty Becker, author of “The Healing Power of Pets” and host of the “The Pet Doctor” on PBS, has a few key tips on making the transition a smooth one:

No Mixed Messages: Keep your bedroom door closed.

A Bed of His Own: Your dog or cat needs a comfortable, secure place to sleep that he knows is his.

The Happy Place: Stroke, talk sweetly and give treats to your pet when he’s in his bed. Never send a pet to bed as punishment.

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