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18 Quirky Summer Health Tips

These offbeat tricks really will make for a better season

  • Ted Morrison / Chris O'Riley

    No more sore throat

    En español | The summer cold has a fluffy new enemy: marshmallows. The gelatin in these campfire confections coats the throat and relieves irritation and pain, experts say. Just don’t eat them too hot.

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  • Ted Morrison

    Sun protection tip

    Vivid colors offer more protection than pale ones — think bright yellow versus a muted version. And darker colors block more UV radiation than lighter shades. Plus, synthetic fibers (Lycra, acrylic, nylon) are better than cotton, notes the Skin Cancer Foundation.

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  • Sam Kaplan / trunkarchive.com

    Eat for better hydration

    With the dog days upon us, it’s hard to drink enough to stay hydrated. Luckily, you can get plenty of fluid through your food, especially summer’s fresh produce. About how much you’re taking in: 1 watermelon: 10 ounces; 1 medium peach: 5 ounces; 1 cup sliced strawberries: 5 ounces; 1 cup sliced cucumber: 4 ounces; 1 medium tomato: 4 ounces; 1 cup chopped raw zucchini: 4 ounces; 1 ear cooked corn on the cob: 3 ounces

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  • Jupiterimages

    Chill out

    To cool down during a workout, try chilling your hands, say researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine. People who grasped hand-cooling devices worked out longer and were better able to stick to their workouts. Cooling the palms helps to circulate blood and pulls heat from the body.

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  • Jason Schneider

    Window hazards

    Yes, you can still damage your skin through a glass window. That’s because windows don’t filter out UVA rays. So cover up when driving or in your sunroom.

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  • Jason Schneider

    Spoon trick (Bite relief)

    For a mosquito-bite itch, try pressing a warm spoon on the welt. Run a spoon under hot tap water and apply. Heat relieves the itch in five to 10 minutes, a recent German study showed. Or you might try capsaicin cream, which has an analgesic effect.

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  • Glow Wellness

    Whiff of calm

    Meditation and yoga can help reduce stress, but consider this faster fix — sniff an orange. Citrusy and floral aromas help to lower anxiety, suggests a study from the Lyon Neuroscience Research Center in France.

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  • Jason Schneider

    P.M. Rx for BO

    A little habit to add to your bedtime routine: Put on deodorant. While most people roll it on after their morning shower, all that heat can interfere with the antiperspirant’s active ingredients before they have a chance to plug sweat gland ducts. Once the glands are blocked, you’re covered for 24 hours — even through your morning shower.

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  • Jamie Chung / trunkarchive.com

    Honey for scrapes

    It’s sticky, gooey and not at all what you think you ought to put on an open cut. But researchers at the University of Auckland in New Zealand have found that honey reduces healing time significantly when applied to wounds, because of its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Honey also reduces scarring, another study showed. Simply spread it over the affected area, then carefully apply a bandage.

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  • Getty Images

    Laundry room tick tip

    Your best defense against blood-sucking ticks this summer? The dryer. The high heat dries out the ticks, killing them, says University of Rhode Island tick expert Thomas Mather. Five to 10 minutes is sufficient.

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  • Istock

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  • Getty Images

    Eat your sunshine

    Don’t want to risk getting a sunburn? Fill up on these vitamin D–rich foods. Aim for 600 IU daily. Sockeye salmon, baked or broiled, 570 IU; Ready-to-eat fortified cereal, 1 cup, 40 IU; Yolk of 1 large egg, 40 IU; Swiss cheese, 1 ounce, 6 IU; Mushrooms, 1 cup of pieces, 5 IU; Cod-liver oil, 1 tablespoon, 1,360 IU

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  • ULTRA.F

    Rev up your engine

    Burn extra calories by chugging an extra glass or two of cool water. The body uses energy to warm up the H20 to body temperature, researchers say.

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  • Jason Schneider

    Go to the tape

    Here’s a remedy to protect your heels: Tape your feet. Stanford researchers say it’s the easiest and most effective way to prevent blisters. Their new study, published in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, found that surgical paper tape, which is found at most drugstores, reduced the instance of blisters by 40 percent.

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  • Jason Schneider

    Stop shoe odor

    Tea bags in your footwear? This sounds wacky, but believe it or not, it’s a great way to reduce odor in sneakers and other shoes. The tea bags absorb the moisture — and the stink. First, wipe the inside of each shoe with a cotton ball moistened with rubbing alcohol, to kill bacteria. Next, place a dry, unused tea bag in each shoe; let them sit overnight.

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  • Angie Wheeler

    The way to spray

    It’s not enough to apply bug spray and sunscreen for protection against summer hazards. You need to make sure you do this in the right order. Tip: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says sunscreen goes on first, then the insect repellent. That’s because bug sprays work “by creating a field of repellency as they evaporate and leave the skin,” says the CDC’s Kate Fowlie. Avoid combo repellent-sunscreen products, no matter how convenient they may seem; sunscreen usually needs to be reapplied more often than bug spray.

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  • Jason Schneider

    Cut clutter, cut cravings

    Your messy kitchen could be more of a problem than you think: It may be causing you to overeat. A Cornell University study showed that participants in a cluttered kitchen snacked on twice as many calories as people in a more orderly one, often reaching for sweets instead of healthier offerings such as carrots. One possible reason? The stress you experience in a chaotic environment may interfere with your ability to exercise self-control, researchers suggest.

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  • Edward O'Neil

    Cook first, then shuck

    Peeling uncooked corn can be a pain, and there’s a great reason not to do it: The husks on those fresh ears help keep nutrients intact. Instead, keep the ears in their jackets and steam, grill or microwave, then shuck.

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  • Echo

    Garden to your health

    Think health can’t come from your backyard? Check out these easy-to-grow summer plants that offer all kinds of benefits, from warding off disease-carrying mosquitoes to helping you sleep.

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  • Getty Images
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