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December 18, 2012

Creepy-crawly holidays: 9 ways to avoid germs

The most wonderful time of the year has a dark underbelly: germs, bugs and general ickiness that can travel more quickly than Santa's sleigh. We're not trying to give you the willies, just suggesting a few easy ways to prevent problems and make your holidays even happier.

Spoiled Snacks on the Doorstep

Mail-order food gifts are great unless the weather outside is too delightful to keep them cold. Left out too long, even well-packaged perishables such as cheese and cheesecake become frightful. What to do: Open perishables immediately. If food temperature is above 40 degrees, call the company that sent it and don't eat any. Not even a nibble. Seriously, don't.

Maladies Under the Mistletoe

Before you pucker up, consider a cheery note from a British Columbia health department: "Colds, kissing disease [mononucleosis], herpes infection, warts, hepatitis B and meningococcal disease may all be transmitted by kissing." What to do: Smooch with discretion. (Thinking about warts should help.)

Tummy Troubles in Tight Places

Getting away for the holidays? Norovirus, a.k.a. "winter vomiting disease," causes more than 20 million cases of gastroenteritis every year. It spreads easily in tight quarters such as hotels, restaurants, airplanes and cruise ships and is often transmitted on uncooked greens, fruit and shellfish. What to do: Wash hands often and don't share utensils. If someone becomes ill with nausea or diarrhea, disinfect contaminated surfaces with a bleach solution.

(Hum)bug on the Tree

Critters on conifers are harmless and usually remain unnoticed until you haul the tree to the curb, but a few mites, spiders or praying mantids might hop off or hatch and stay awhile. What to do: Before taking a tree inside, shake it to get rid of loose bugs and remove obvious eggs and nests. Don't spray with insecticide - it's flammable.

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  • Dangerous Darkies Logo.png Redskins not the only nickname to cause a stir

    Daniel Snyder has come under fire for refusing to change the mascot of his NFL team, the Washington Redskins. The Redskins, however, are far from being the only controversial mascot in sports history.  Here is a sampling of athletic teams from all areas of the sports world that were outside the norm.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • 'Rebel' mascot rising from the dead

    Students and alumni from a Richmond, Va.-area high school are seeking to revive the school's historic mascot, a Confederate soldier known as the "Rebel Man," spurring debate about the appropriateness of public school connections to the Civil War and its icons.

    July 28, 2014

  • Fast food comes to standstill in China

    The shortage of meat is the result of China's latest food scandal, in which a Shanghai supplier allegedly tackled the problem of expired meat by putting it in new packaging and shipping it to fast-food restaurants around the country

    July 28, 2014

  • wd saturday tobias .jpg Stranger’s generosity stuns Ohio veteran

    Vietnam War veteran David A. Tobias was overwhelmed recently when a fellow customer at an OfficeMax store near Ashtabula, Ohio paid for a computer he was purchasing.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 1.33.11 PM.png VIDEO: High-dive accident caught on tape

    A woman at a water park in Idaho leaped off a 22-foot high dive platform, then tried to pull herself back up with frightening results. Fortunately, she escaped with only a cut to her finger.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • CATS-DOGS281.jpg Where cats are more popular than dogs in the U.S.-and all over the world

    We all know there are only two types of people in the world: cat people and dog people. But data from market research firm Euromonitor suggest that these differences extend beyond individual preferences and to the realm of geopolitics: it turns out there are cat countries and dog countries, too.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • 072214 Diamond Llama 1.jpg Llama on the loose corralled in Missouri town

    A llama on the lam cruised Main Street Tuesday before it mistook a resident’s fenced backyard for a place to grab a meal and freshen up.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • When your doctor commits suicide, things get complicated

    When they call for appointments, patients are told they can't see their doctor. Ever. The standard line: "We are sorry, but your doctor died suddenly."

    July 15, 2014

  • NWS-HB0713-HowardMartin-004.jpg Airman laid to rest back home in Indiana six decades after death

    The mystery of what happened to a military transport plane that disappeared in the fall of 1952 into an Alaskan glacier was solved two years ago when a helicopter crew spotted the wreckage. But it took another two years to retrieve the remains of Airman Howard Miller and 16 other servicemen passengers. Saturday, Miller was laid to rest in his hometown of Elwood, Ind., with full military honors. Hundreds turned out for the funeral and burial services.

    July 13, 2014 2 Photos

  • This is what happened when I drove my Mercedes to pick up food stamps

     I climbed the ladder quickly, free to work any hours in any location for any pay. I moved from market to market, always achieving a better title, a better salary. Succeeding.

    July 8, 2014

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