Archive for February 2020

Prevent Cancer with a Better Lifestyle, Not Better Luck

A new study published in the journal, Nature, suggests that up to 90 percent of cancer cases are linked to lifestyle choices that are usually avoidable. This study refutes a previous assertion that many cases of cancer are simply due to “bad luck,” those circumstances that are out of our control.

What are those lifestyle choices that can result in a higher risk for developing cancer? They include a poor diet, lack of exercise, stress and pollution. You should also avoid smoking and excessive ultraviolet radiation to help lower your risk.

Researchers are interested in these findings to help doctors find more effective preventative treatments for their patients. If a patient believes that improving their lifestyle choices will have little effect on their health because it is mostly up to luck, they will have little incentive to work on those choices. But if doctors can show that cancer is due to many factors within their control, there is a better chance that improvements will be made.

Teaching Your Dog New Tricks

There are many theories about dog training, but most experts agree that dogs respond best to rewardbased training. New research shows that dogs can learn to “please their owners.” When starting to train your dog, think of it as increasing attachment between you and your pet. You see this type of attachment when your dog is very happy to see you after a long day away. This same emotion can be used to help your dog learn good behavior.

One way researchers have seen that dogs can increase this attachment is by simply letting them win when they play games with their owners. In the study, dogs played tug-of-war with a person, over and over. When the dogs were allowed to win the game, they were more interested in playing with that particular person. And best of all, the dogs who were allowed to win did not exhibit any unwelcome dominant behavior—they simply learned to attach more to their playmate.

This type of interaction leads to a sense of “working together,” which in turn can help your dog become more confident and obedient. Playing this type of game is also a good opportunity to teach your dog that at the end of the game, he or she should drop the rope at your command. If your dog knows that you will continue the game if he obeys, then you’ve rewarded the good behavior with an activity that your dog wishes to continue.

You know your dog best, so if you engage in this type of play and you notice that your dog becomes fearful or overexcited, it might be best to take a break. Occasionally, a dog will not enjoy these types of games, so pay attention to any negative behavior it might cause. But if you can set some firm rules for play and your dog enjoys the attention, it can lead to better behavior and a happier relationship.

That Sneezing Might not be a Cold

During the winter months, coughing and sneezing can hit at any time, but don’t assume you have a cold. It could be allergies. While colder temperatures can bring some relief by limiting mold and pollen in the atmosphere, more time indoors means more exposure to indoor allergens.

Dust mites, pet dander, cigarette smoke, gas fumes, and household sprays and chemicals can all trigger allergy and asthma symptoms. Mold can continue to grow during colder weather, as it really only needs moisture and oxygen to thrive.

There are some things you can do to help relieve allergy or asthma symptoms during the winter. These tips can help:

• Keep humidity levels in your home under 35 percent to restrict the growth of mold and dust mites.

• If you use a humidifier, keep it clean and change the water frequently. You can also use an anti-mold agent in the water or as a spray for the humidifier.

Use exhaust fans in your bathroom and kitchen as often as possible.

• Replace your furnace filter every two to three months. Be sure to use high-efficiency filters in order to remove as many allergens as possible.

• Vacuum floors and furniture frequently. Make sure your vacuum has a HEPA filter. If you have a problem with dust mites, consider removing any dust traps from your home, including stuffed animals, clutter on shelves, old books, and decorative pillows and blankets.

• Use allergy covers on your mattresses. You can also cover your box springs and pillows. Wash bed linens and nightclothes in water above 130 degrees.

How do Carpet and Fabric Protectors Work?

You see it on television and internet commercials all the time, a glass of wine or fruit punch being spilled on a beautiful, new carpet. The guests are mortified, but the smiling hostess blots up the spill with a towel, leaving the carpet clean and spot-free. Disaster averted, the party continues. But is this really the way it works? Well, yes and no.

Modern Fabric Protectors

Virtually all carpets manufactured today feature some type of protector application. These specialized fluoropolymers have names like Permashield®, R2X®, Repel®, and of course, DuPont Teflon® and 3M Scotchgard®. In addition, almost all nylon carpets are treated with special stain blockers called acid dye resistors to help prevent permanent staining by common food and beverage spills. When a carpet is new, the factoryapplied protectors perform extremely well. Liquid spills bead up on the surface of the carpet yarns. But as a carpet ages with traffic, vacuuming and even professional cleaning, the protection wears off and is reduced significantly, requiring reapplication from time to time.

How Protectors Keep Your Carpets Looking Good

You may wonder how these miracle polymers work. Well, they work partially through surface energy, which is similar to surface tension. You may have heard of surface tension. In fact, you have likely seen a demonstration of this phenomenon in action when a glass is filled with water so that the water rises slightly above the rim of the glass without spilling over. If you are careful, you can actually float a metal paper clip on the surface of the water, too. This is due to surface tension. Surface tension is used to describe what happens at the surface of liquids. But solid materials like carpet fibers have a property called surface energy. Surface energy is not easily explained or demonstrated, so let’s just say that surface energy determines how well liquid can penetrate a solid. If a liquid is spilled onto a fiber that has high surface energy, it will penetrate easily.

If a liquid is spilled on a fiber with low surface energy it will tend not to penetrate. Fluoropolymers work by reducing the surface energy of a material. Protectors not only shield your carpet from water-based spills, but also from oils, grease and dry particles. This means that you have more time to blot-up spills or tracked-in soils. Vacuuming becomes more efficient because dry soils are repelled. Oily and sticky soils are also repelled so they don’t attract dry soils. That is important because it is the dry, gritty particles that do the most damage to your carpets by scratching and dulling the fibers just like sandpaper. All of this means that carpets which are regularly cleaned and protected last longer and look cleaner, brighter and newer.

Re-Protecting Your Carpet

Like any topical coating, carpet protectors wear away with age and use. Laboratory testing reveals that protection is reduced by 30% or more each year. Even professional cleaning, important as it is, removes a little bit of the remaining protector.

The fact is that your carpets are only new once. When the fibers have been scratched and dulled, they will never look as colorful and pretty as they did when new. Protectors help to prevent this damage and keep carpets looking newer longer. That’s why major carpet manufacturers recommend annual cleaning and protector application on most residential carpets. Keep that in mind the next time you invite Hansen Steam Way to clean your carpets.