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BOOSTER SHOTS

Cold Numbers

March 23, 1998|MARTIN MILLER

If you think the national budget deficit is high, how about this hot little number? People in the United States suffer 1 billion colds annually, according to Healthline, a monthly newsletter for physicians. That's a lot of sneezing, scratchy throats and runny noses. Kids are most susceptible, averaging about six to eight colds per year. Adults average two to four colds per year. Colds are the leading cause of doctor visits and of school and job absenteeism, the newsletter reports. The good news is the number of colds usually begins declining in late March or early April.

Got Tea?

If you're thinking of conceiving, you might consider a brew that appears to increase your chances--tea. According to a study of 187 pregnant women reported in the American Journal of Public Health, drinking half a cup of tea or more a day nearly doubled the odds of conception per cycle. Apparently, tea contains polyphenols and xanthines, which are believed to contribute to the development of healthy eggs and embryos. So, if you're hoping for an heir, it might be wise to get off the bean and on the leaf.

A Step in the Right Direction

As if physical activity needed any more good press, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Assn. earlier this month found that walking can lower the risk of developing diabetes. The study conducted by the University of South Carolina showed that habitual, nonvigorous physical activity is associated with better insulin sensitivity, which has been associated with a reduced risk for diabetes. Researchers hope the findings will help motivate an estimated 30% of American adults who, surveys report, don't exercise at all.

Slap Me Some Skin

It's springtime and you can almost feel something special in the air. That's right, it's Skin Awareness Month (although the folks at Vaseline Research urge us to stay "aware" in April too). The Vaseline Research team estimates that 63 million Americans don't have healthy, smooth, soft and supple skin--and that darn El Nin~o may have those numbers climbing higher still. You can help defeat dry skin by taking shorter showers with lukewarm water, applying a moisturizer after bathing and avoiding saunas and steam rooms. You can also send for a dry-skin-repair kit by writing to the Vaseline Research Dry Skin Challenge, P.O. Box 8991, Young America, MN 55551-8991.

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