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Critical Illness Needn’t Hurt Your Bank Account, Too

Measuring stick in place
Source: Flickr

In the time it takes you to read this sentence, the bills from a critical illness may have forced yet another American to file for bankruptcy. It could be as a result of their own illness or a loved one’s, but the result’s the same: Half of all bankruptcies are due to serious illness, according to a recent Harvard study, and-of those-75 percent were forced to file despite having health insurance.

One new option consumers have to help cover all expenses associated with critical illness is called, appropriately, Critical Illness Insurance. This specialized insurance provides a lump-sum payment should a subscriber suffer from certain specific critical conditions.

Right now, one of the few companies offering such insurance is Stonebridge Life Insurance Company. However, experts say that as Americans continue to survive critical ailments that were fatal only a few years ago, the need for the insurance is increasing. Stonebridge Life Insurance Company gives policyholders a one-time payment of up to $50,000 as soon as they’re diagnosed with a covered cancer, stroke, paralysis or a heart attack. The payment is intended to help people meet basic expenses, such as mortgage payments, car insurance, groceries, child care-even ballet lessons.

“Many people aren’t aware of the financial consequences of surviving a critical illness, especially if they’re unable to work for an extended period of time while they recover,” said Marlene Jupiter, author and expert on personal finance. “Now that medical progress and early detection are helping more people live through serious illnesses, people need to plan for how they’re going to financially survive the aftermath.”

For monthly premiums as low as $20, Critical Illness Insurance from Stonebridge Life is a direct-to-consumer product offering lump-sum payment options of $10,000, $20,000, $30,000 and $50,000. As an added benefit, the plan offers a return of premium option. Customers who sign up before the age of 50 and select this option may receive their paid premiums in full if they don’t make a claim before age 65.

“There is an increasing need for critical illness insurance because it helps close the gap that exists between health and disability plans, making sure that survivors are financially supported throughout their recovery process,” explained Lew Whalen, vice president of Stonebridge.

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First Aid For Climbers

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Climbing is a sport that is exhilarating and exciting. When you’re climbing, professional medical aid is usually too far away. It’s important to be aware of how to treat minor injuries and ailments so they do not become serious.

First off, make sure you pack a first aid kit that is lightweight but still contains the essentials. Antibiotic ointment and gauze is lightweight and can prevent minor scrapes and cuts from becoming infected. An anti-inflammatory such as aspirin or ibuprofen is not only good for inflammation but also headaches.

It’s important to carry a small amount of sterile water with you so you can clean scrapes and cuts. Many climbers drink sport drinks to keep hydrated but these can not be used to clean wounds. Natural water sources may not be in close proximity and many of them contain bacteria that may cause more problems; water from these sources should only be used as a last resort.

Sunburn is not only painful but since your skin blocks against invasive organisms, it’s imports to use sunscreen. A sunburn can also make movement painful and dehydrate you. Remember that you can burn just as easy in cool climates or cold weather and if there is snow then your chances are even greater.

AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) occurs when you ascend too quickly in high altitudes where there is less oxygen. It’s important to know the signs and how to treat it. It can lead to more serious altitude sickness.

It’s also beneficial to know basic first aid which is usually covered in climbing classes. These classes will cover various topics; everything from the Heimlich maneuver to how to make a sling and carry a fellow climber with an injured ankle. They will even show you more complicated first aid such as how to tell a fracture from a compound fracture and what to do in each case.

Knowing Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation or CPR can be the difference between life and death. The procedure is simple and short classes are offered in most areas and are many times free. They may be available through a YMCA, an employer, or a community center.

Treating common climbing ailments such as heat stroke, AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) and frostbite is also important. It doesn’t require a great deal of medical knowledge but learning some simple prevention and treatment methods will go a long way. For example, frostbite can be treated by simply covering the exposed tissue and heating it with warm water.

Knowing basic first aid and how to treat and prevent climbing related injuries and ailments is important. It will ensure you enjoy this exhilarating sport.

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How To Check If Cut Flowers Are Fresh

How To Check If Cut Flowers Are Fresh

Bike Life
Source: Flickr

Fresh flowers should feel crisp or firm. Before you buy, run your hand under the flower heads from stem to petal tip. Proceed gently under the petals so as not to bruise them.
If the flower vendor objects, give them a withering look and enquire in a loud voice, “Are these flowers fresh?

If the flowers feel soft, cool or damp, don’t buy them.
Keep testing the other bunches until you find a good one. Often there are only one or two bunches older than the others. Look and listen. Really fresh flowers will make a soft rustling sound as you stroke them.
As flowers age:
the foliage will start to yellow from the bottom upwards
the stems will discolor from the bottom up as bacteria spreads from the cut
seeds or pollen on the flower head will open and shed spores
the petals will fade in colour, lose moisture, dehydrate and eventually collapse
Change the water daily, recut the stems often and enjoy your flowers longer.

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Picking The Best Golf Clubs And Accessories

There are many reasons why someone would want to choose the absolute best in golf clubs and accessories.
Maybe they want to show off their devotion to the game in order to close an important business deal with a huge golf fan. Maybe they hope to become a professional player and compete in tournaments. If you are interested in getting top of the line equipment and clubs for golfing, your reasons don’t matter. What matters is that you pay close attention to all of the details involved in getting the clubs that will be the best for your style, without digging too much into your pocketbook (although you will probably notice quite a dent once you are done making the transactions).

Graphite is the preferable material for golf clubs. It is known or being lighter and easier to swing. Since the lightness allows for a faster swing, you will notice an immediate increase in the power of your stroke if you are switching from steel to graphite. This can be a positive aspect or a negative aspect, depending on your play style. You can compensate a lighter shaft by going for a heavier head in order to increase the momentum you get when you swing. You probably shouldn’t get something too drastically different than what you are used to, since this could get in the way of whatever you have learned so far. However, don’t be too adverse to change, since you may find something that takes a while to get used to but still improves greatly on your game.

As far as accessories go, you will probably only need a carrying case and some golf balls. You can spend a little bit of money or a huge amount of money on either of these things. Balls come in many different varieties, although you will find that they all look the same. You can buy ones that tell you their position over a GPS device (few people would find any use for this), or ones that glow in the dark allowing you to play at night. Usually a standard regulation ball is the best thing you can buy, despite the luxurious and more expensive other choices. As far as carrying cases or other accessories go, you simply have to ask yourself if their usefulness is worth the money. Don’t go overboard just to impress your golfing buddies. Instead, ask yourself if your game will really be improved by the item.

Club stores will always have something new and appealing to offer you. If you take them up on every offer, then you have likely wasted a large amount of money. Instead of just picking the most expensive club or the one with the flashiest advertisement, you should pick one that will help you out when you are actually playing the game. Analyze your own playing and decide whether you need that extra flex or whether your stroke is fast as it is. Figure out the length that will be perfect for you, and avoid paying for clubs that hinder your game rather than help it.

The best way to find out about great clubs is to talk to your golfing friends and see what they have been using. Rather than spend money on a recent product just to find out that it is terrible, you can talk to people who have already kept up with the latest technology. See what their thoughts on the clubs are, and maybe even borrow them for one game. This will give you a personal reference to whatever you are thinking of buying, and perhaps allow you some hands-on time with it. These are some of the most important things when buying new products, so be sure to accomplish them somehow before you spend any money. Your club buying experience should be a good one as long as you take it slow.


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Sources Of Antioxidants

Golfer on the tee box
Source: Flickr

What exactly are antioxidants?
And why is it so vital to our core health?

At the molecular and cellular levels, antioxidants serve to deactivate certain particles called free radicals. In humans, free radicals usually come in the form of O2, which is the oxygen molecule. The oxygen molecule wants to be oxidized, and this oxidation process can sometimes be carcinogenic. Free radicals are the natural by-products of many processes within and among cells. They are also created by exposure to various environmental factors, tobacco smoke and radiation, for instance.

Antioxidants have become synonymous with good health. They are a class of compounds thought to prevent certain types of chemical damage caused by an excess of free radicals, charged molecules that are generated by a variety of sources including pesticides, smoking and exhaust fumes. Destroying free radicals may help fight cancer, heart disease and stroke, researchers believe.

Why Fruits and Vegetables are Important!

Fruits and vegetables have long been viewed as a rich source of antioxidant compounds. Health officials have been urging consumers for years to eat more fruits and vegetables in order to gain the health benefits of antioxidants, but progress has been slow, according to researchers. Westerners still tend to favor diets that are rich in fats and carbohydrates, they say. More recently, researchers have begun to formally study the health benefits of herbs and spices. The two differ mainly by source. Herbs typically come from the leaves of plants. Spices come from the bark, stem and seeds of plants. Both have been used for thousands of years to flavor foods and treat illness.

Does Herbs have Antioxidants?

Yes! Recently, herbs have emerged as a quick and easy way to get a concentrated source of antioxidants, without all the extra calories of whole foods. Researches recently compared the antioxidant activity of herbs to a few select spices, including paprika, garlic, curry, chili, and black pepper. Herbs came out on top!

Herbs can be consumed in a variety of ways. Some people prefer to drink herb extracts, which can be made by adding herbs to hot water to make potent antioxidant teas. Others use concentrated herbal oils available in some health food stories. Most of us prefer a little dash and sprinkle of the familiar leafy or powdered versions to add flavor to our favorite meats and vegetables. This is a great reason to head to your nearest herb store for a boost of antioxidants!

In general, fresh herbs and spices are healthier and contain higher antioxidant levels compared to their processed counterparts. For example, the antioxidant activity of fresh garlic is 1.5 times higher than dry garlic powder!

Natural or Supplemented Antioxidants?

And of course, it is always best to take the all natural antioxidants from your food! But many times, too many of us do not really stick to a all well balanced diet, and this is why it is essential that we take antioxidant supplements to ensure we have all the proper balance of nutrients!