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With his 2-year-old upstairs taking a nap, Tim Anderson* seized the chance to do some yard work. A few moments later, he was bewildered to find the toddler lying on the lawn, crying inconsolably. That's odd, he thought: How did he get downstairs so fast? Then, to his horror, he noticed a window screen lying beside his son. Alone in his room, the enterprising tot had managed to push out the screen ...

Do you know the difference between a POS and a PPO? They aren't airport codes or lines on an eye chart -- they're actually types of healthcare plans. Modern healthcare follows its own rules and speaks its own language. With a little preparation, you'll be ready to navigate the healthcare maze and find a plan that's right for you. What are the different kinds of healthcare plans? Here's a rundown...

As a freelance cameraman for domestic and international news outlets for 16 years, David Lee has witnessed disaster on an epic scale. His work has taken him far and wide in search of some of the most vivid images of the last quarter century. In 1986, he landed in Mexico City after one of the country's most devastating earthquakes. Then, during the Los Angeles race riots in 1992 that followed the a...

Carl von Czoernig, a deputy sheriff in a small county in Ohio, started every workday with an involuntary ritual. After showering and shaving, he'd vomit in the toilet. Then he'd grab a fistful of Rolaids (known in law enforcement as "cop candy") to keep his stomach settled during the day ahead. No doubt about it, police officers work a dangerous beat. Every year, close to 60,000 cops are attacked...

Hospitals are supposed to be places of recovery and healing. But they can also be dangerous. A 1999 landmark study sponsored by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) estimated that medical errors in hospitals kill between 44,000 and 98,000 Americans each year. Approximately 7,000 of these deaths are due to errors in medications. The message is clear: Whether you're being treated for a heart attack or a ...

Medicines don't do much good when they never leave the bottle. And yet the American Heart Association estimates that 12 percent of all Americans don't take their medications after getting a prescription. Another 12 percent don't fill their prescriptions in the first place. When patients do try to follow their doctor's instructions, they often miss a dose or take less than their doctors recommend. ...

Medicines don't always work the way they should. Even treatments that have helped you for years can suddenly lose their punch. You may need a slightly higher dose, or you may need a different medication entirely. But first things first: Your doctor is unlikely to change your prescription unless there's a clear sign of a problem. How can you tell if your medicine is working the way it should? It t...

In an ideal world, doctors would always prescribe the right drugs, pharmacists would never mess up orders, and patients would always carefully follow the instructions on their medicine bottles. In the real world, people sometimes make mistakes. And when it comes to medicine, mistakes can be dangerous. According to a 2006 report from the Institute of Medicine, 1.5 million preventable medication er...

How can I tell if my child's too sick for daycare? It's not always easy. Obviously you don't want your kid to pass a phlegmy cough along to all his pals, but it's a much harder call when he has nothing more than a runny nose. In general, you shouldn't bring your child to daycare if the illness is contagious and could do anything more than make any youngster a little cranky. Here are some spe...

In an ideal world, doctors would always prescribe the right drugs, pharmacists would never mess up orders, and patients would always carefully follow the instructions on their medicine bottles. In the real world, people sometimes make mistakes. And when it comes to medicine, mistakes can be dangerous. According to a 2006 report from the Institute of Medicine, 1.5 million preventable medication er...

On a visit to her oncologist, breast cancer patient Vicki Tosher didn't think to ask a key question about bone marrow transplantation: Might she interview other women who had undergone this procedure as a way to better gauge whether it was the right option for her? Thanks to the guardian angel at her side -- Tosher's significant other, who did pose that question as her unofficial patient advocate...

Do I really need to worry about food poisoning? You do if you want to avoid those nasty bouts of cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting. The fact is that most every time you have a "stomach flu" or even a stomachache, food poisoning bacteria are the likely culprits. What's more, you may never know what hit you, since symptoms can take anywhere from several hours to days to appear. Even mild complaints li...

Often called "the silent killer," carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that can be fatal when inhaled. Smoke from fires, backdrafts from blocked chimney flues, grills that use charcoal or chemical fuels, emissions from faulty gas heaters, and the exhaust of motor vehicles, boats, and appliances are all common sources of carbon monoxide. Accidental deaths from carbon monoxide te...

How can I make sure my child's toys are safe? The toys that we treasure in childhood, we remember all our lives. This is one reason to choose your child's toys with care; the other is safety. Consider these guidelines when choosing toys, and share them with anyone who may be buying gifts for your child:

Whether it's a backyard oasis or the gem of the community park, a swimming pool is a great place for summer fun. But it's important to remember that swimming pools can be dangerous, especially for children. According to the 2000 U.S. Census, children ages 1 to 4 are more likely than any other age group to die from accidental drowning. Most of these drownings occur in residential pools, often in ...

If you have toddlers or small children, you may have already poison-proofed your house. If not, the sooner you get started, the better. Children between the ages of 1 and 6 years old are at the highest risk for poisoning because they are mobile, curious, and likely to put almost anything into their mouths. After the introduction of child-safety caps in the 1970s, the number of children's deaths by...

Spend an hour at a playground, and there's a good chance that you'll see a child in tears. As long as kids climb, play tag, and reenact superhero battles, a few bruises and scrapes will be part of the scene. But not all mishaps on the swings, slides, and monkey bars can be fixed with a Band-Aid. According to the National Safety Council, playground injuries send more than 200,000 American children ...

Most cigarette smokers know the dangers of tobacco. After all, the Surgeon General stamps a warning right on the pack. But what about the people sitting next to the smoker? What about his friends and coworkers? His children? Secondhand smoke doesn't come with a warning label. If it did, more smokers might try harder to kick their addiction. According to the best current estimates, secondhand smoke...

Two strangers' eyes meet over the brief flare of a freshly lit match. A jazz chanteuse croons through a haze of smoke. Around midnight, a bartender clears away the islands of empty cocktail glasses and lipstick-smudged cigarette butts left in the revelers' wake. For generations, immortalized in Edward Hopper paintings and Humphrey Bogart movies, inseparable from the sounds of Miles Davis and Sarah...

You never forget how to ride a bike. But if you're like many adults, you might need a refresher course in bike safety. Perhaps you're pulling that ten-speed out of storage for the first time in years. Perhaps a recent wreck or close call has made you suddenly aware of the hazards of the road. Or maybe you're teaching your kid how to ride a bike and suddenly want to set a good example. Whatever you...

How can I protect myself from sports injuries? You faithfully wear your goggles on the racquetball court, you never go in-line skating without your pads and helmet, and you stretch like a fanatic, yet you still get sidelined by injuries. What's going on? Although safety precautions are indispensable, there's more to staying injury-free than avoiding flying projectiles and cushioning your falls. ...

About 1 million people suffer from whiplash injuries each year, usually after being involved in minor fender-benders. Yet for the numerous whiplash cases reported, it can still be difficult for many doctors to diagnose and harder still to pinpoint an effective treatment. Although 90 percent of patients with whiplash injuries get better within a year with little or no treatment, other people appear...

In Truckee, California, 25-year-old Timothy Brooks flew into a rage after another car cut him off on the highway. He followed the offending car to a bagel shop where the driver, 47-year-old Robert Ash, had stopped to eat. After yelling at the older man, Brooks attacked him, stabbing him to death with a knife. Brooks was convicted of second-degree murder. In Little Falls, New Jersey, May Lee and h...

You've heard the adage that "drinking and driving don't mix." But if you've ever been in a bar around closing time, you know that a lot of people haven't gotten the message. A report from researchers at Boston University estimates that Americans take about 820 million drives each year after drinking. Almost 20 percent -- 159 million -- of those drivers are legally drunk when they take the wheel. ...

Medical Specialties Acupuncture An ancient medical practice originating in China that uses the insertion of needles into various parts of the body to restore the body's life energy and balance (called Chi). Disruption of the Chi flow results in pain and/or illness, according to practitioners. Addiction Medicine The diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of substance abuse disorders, including helpi...

When pharmacists are asked to work long hours under grueling pressure, mistakes happen. And although many errors are minor, some of them can be extremely grave. It was Monday, one of the busiest days of the week, and the pharmacy in South Carolina was understaffed. A pharmacist handed a mother a bottle of pills that was supposed to contain Ritalin, a medication to control her 8-year-old daughter's...

Oxygen, light, and water are among the substances that humans need to survive. However, those same life-affirming elements can be destructive if they're present where many people keep their medications, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Take a look in your medicine chest. What's there may trigger a nostalgic swing down memory lane: the cough syrup you used to give your toddler -...

Although you can't control the occasional obnoxious motorist, you can take steps to help protect yourself on the road:

  • Ask that noise levels be monitored at all times to prevent hearing loss. Experts suggest workers wear earmuffs or earplugs to shield their eardrums from high decibels.
  • At a minimum, ask for training in how to set up a safe work zone -- an essential part of the job...

When 51-year-old Bob Lewis worked as a nursing assistant on the teen psychiatric unit at St. Mary's Medical Center in San Francisco for more than two decades, he was pushed, jumped, and pummeled on the back. And that's not the worst of it. Once a girl in a suicidal rage charged him, biting a nipple so hard it tore the skin and bled. As a precautionary measure, doctors gave him a tetanus shot that...

What kind of pacifier should I buy? Find one with a shape your child likes. You may have to experiment a bit before you find something that works. Choose a sturdy one-piece type with a soft nipple and ventilation holes (without them, saliva can collect behind the base, irritating the skin around the mouth and causing a rash). The shield surrounding the nipple should be at least one and a half in...

Why should my child wear a bike helmet? Every year about 350,000 children under the age of 15 are rushed to hospital emergency rooms with injuries from bicycle wrecks -- many of them head injuries that can cause brain damage and life-long disabilities. But these injuries are largely preventable if your child wears a bike helmet, which can reduce the risk by 85 percent, according to the U.S. Cons...

With all the news about contaminated food, is there anything I can do to lower my child's risk? There's good reason to wonder. Salmonella, E. coli, Listeria, and other potentially dangerous germs can be transmitted in food, causing illness and sometimes death. Fortunately, a few simple tips on buying, storing, and preparing food can go a long way toward lessening your family's chances of getting ...

Fetid grease traps, backed-up toilets, overloaded sewers -- as a rule, you don't want to get a plumber started on war stories. But Mike Tehle, a Billings, Montana plumber and a 30-year veteran of the business, has a story worth telling. After all, not everyone can describe what it's like to be buried alive. In 1987 Tehle was laying sewer lines in a ditch 30 inches wide and 8 feet deep. After conn...

A five-story building doesn't sound too daunting, does it? Even someone with a major fear of heights could enjoy the view from there. But when Jim Willingham dangled helplessly above the ground, it seemed plenty far enough. Like most window cleaners, he knew an interesting tidbit about physics: A person falling from a five-story building hits the ground just as hard as a person falling from an air...

You can't judge drivers by their age -- just look at teen-agers. They receive more citations and cause far more accidents than people in any other age group. However, that doesn't make every teen a menace behind the wheel, and likewise, many seniors continue to be perfectly safe drivers well into their 80s. At last count, there were more than 30 million licensed drivers 65 or older, according to t...

What special risks do medications pose for seniors? As people grow older, needing a prescription medicine is almost as inevitable as gray hair and reading glasses. Two-thirds of all seniors take at least one medication each day, and 25 percent take three or more. Many seniors owe their lives -- or at least their lifestyles -- to medications, but the remedies can also carry serious risks. As a sen...

How to bottle-feed a baby isn't always clear, especially if you've never handled a bottle before. There's the question of how much should you give a growing infant, what formula to use, and whether he should sit upright when he's eating. Even mothers who breastfeed their babies may sometimes use a breast pump to express milk and feed the baby with a bottle. By feeding your baby correctly from the...

Our homes should be safe havens from the dangers of the world outside, but even the coziest nest can hold hidden perils. Telephone cords, throw rugs, and slick tile can cause falls or injuries. Frayed wires or a worn-out heater can lead to a house or apartment fire. And if you're an older person who has trouble seeing or walking, you may be more vulnerable to such accidents. But you don't have to ...

Anyone can be the victim of a crime, but seniors are often targeted by criminals who see them as easy pickings. That's why you should always be armed -- with the facts. Knowing how to secure your home against intruders and being able to spot telephone scams are the most important weapons in your arsenal. How can I protect myself from burglary? Burglars want to get in and out of a house or apartme...

Why is hypothermia dangerous for seniors? In most parts of the country, a 60-degree day would hardly count as a cold snap. And yet if a senior citizen lives in a poorly insulated house and keeps the heater off to save money, such a day might be chilly enough to cause a hazardous drop in body temperature. As people get older, their bodies become a little less efficient at regulating heat. And if t...

Can prescription drugs be hazardous for senior citizens? Senior citizens need more medications than any other sector of the population, and the drugs can take a toll. By some estimates, one-third of their prescriptions may trigger serious consequences. While some of the risk is unavoidable, you can provide some protection for yourself and loved ones by staying informed. Many thousands of dangerou...

After Neil Hancock died, his family discovered an awful secret. Although Hancock didn't have a cassette player or a VCR, piled in his closets were more than 2,500 cassette tapes, along with hundreds of video cassettes and towering stacks of magazines from more than 100 subscriptions, says his daughter, Pat Raines. For four years before his death at 80, Hancock had been the victim of telemarketing ...

1. Roughly what percentage of childhood poisonings are fatal? a. 50 percent b. 10 percent c. 1 percent d. Far less than 1 percent 2. Which of the following household items is the most harmful if swallowed? a. Liquid dish soap b. Liquid or powdered automatic dishwashing detergent c. Fluoride toothpaste d. Mouthwash 3. Which one of these medicines and supplements fatally poisons the most young c...

How can I prevent fractures? If osteoporosis has started to thin your bones, even a simple fall or twist can have devastating consequences. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, 10 million people have osteoporosis, and almost 34 million more have low bone mass, which places them at risk for fractures. Indeed, one out of two women over 50 -- and one out of four men -- will suffer ost...

You don't need to stay inside just because the temperature is plunging. As anyone who has ever strapped on ice skates or hopped on a sled can attest, cold-weather fun is some of the best fun of all. Of course, cold weather also calls for caution. How much do you know about staying safe when it's cold outside? Take this short quiz to find out. 1. Which of these is a common symptom of hypothermia?...

The headline in the paper on that August 2001 morning made me recoil. Another young boy had died in a wilderness boot camp -- a victim, like many before him, of abuse at the hands of those in charge of helping him. Tony Haynes, 14, drowned after employees at an unlicensed boot camp in Arizona, run by a group called America's Buffalo Soldiers, stuck him in a bathtub half-conscious and turned on th...

Aaron Rogers led the Green Bay Packers to the Super Bowl title in 2011, but the road to the championship wasn't easy. The quarterback suffered two concussions during the season, a one-two punched that temporarily clouded his thinking and threatened his season. Rogers had plenty of company: 2010 was the year of the concussion in the NFL. The league reported 154 concussions in the just first half of...

At a time when millions of Americans are making dangerous mistakes with their medications, experts are taking a hard look at the labels on prescription drugs. Are the labels really as clear and informative as they could be? The instructions on labels are often complicated and hard to understand -- if you can read the small type in the first place. But the most baffling items on labels may be the ...

A pill bottle with a skull and crossbones on it sends a universal warning: DANGER. But in plain view in the average home, dozens of items used every day are potentially hazardous. And when young children touch and swallow things that catch their eye -- peppermint pink cleaning fluid or bright red iron pills -- the substances can be fatal. Hundreds of children were dying from poisoning each year ...

Long before scientists learned how to split the atom, our planet has been radioactive. The rocks and dirt all over the globe crackle with small amounts of uranium, a natural ore that constantly releases radiation. As it decays, uranium also produces radon, a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas that's all around us. Some places have more uranium -- and radon -- than others. In central Montana, peo...