Not to be too spooky, but how much is your body worth?

Happy Halloween! We couldn’t think of a more appropriate and ghoulish topic for the day than finding out what your body is worth. The excellent infographic below gives you a good body-part-by-body-part snapshot of your market value. (Click for larger). Or fill out a brief questionnaire for a more personalized version of your body’s worth in dollars and cents.

If you are feeling really macabre, you may want to visit the The Death Clock, which bills itself as “the Internet’s friendly reminder that life is slipping away… second by second.” Enter your date of birth, sex, BMI and smoking status. You can choose to your results on a scale ranging from “sadistic” to “optimistic” – or just plain “normal.” If things look really dire, think about your life insurance coverage and update your beneficiaries.  Oh — and we really can’t think of a better way to celebrate the day and ensure your longevity than to sign up as an organ donor.

body-value

The scariest place to be on Halloween?

Halloween background

That’s an easy one: “Nothing is scarier than a trip to the emergency room,” said Mark Cichon, DO, chair, Department of Emergency Medicine, Loyola University Health System. “In a season devoted to frights, it is our goal to keep everyone safe.”

Pumpkin carving injuries, trips & falls and choking injuries are all among some of the most common Halloween-related injuries that could make for a scary unplanned ER visit. Dr. Cichon offers his excellent tips for a safe Halloween. Here are some of our safety tips:

Home Safety

  • When decorating, avoid candles – use LED lights and battery-powered lights instead.
  • Take care not to overload electrical circuits with lights.
  • Paper and dried plant decorations can easily ignite. Keep them away from flames, lights, and electrical cords.
  • Keep porches and walkways well lit and free of debris and clutter that might be tripping hazards; Put reflective tape on your steps and along your walkway.
  • Park your car in a garage, if possible. Mischief makers may egg your house or car.
  • Lock up bicycles, gas grills and other outdoor valuables.

Kid Safety

  • Consider parties and visits to charity based Haunted Houses as an alternative to Trick or Treating
  • Equip kids with flashlights. Add day-glo or light-reflective tape to their costumes.
  • Make sure costumes are fire-safe and flame-resistant.
  • Ensure costumes and masks don’t impair vision or present a tripping hazard.
  • Make sure kids are dressed warmly and have comfortable, non-slip footwear.
  • Costume accessories and props should be short , pliable, and soft – no hard, long, pointy, or sharp objects
  • Inspect all candy before kids eat it. Be alert for choking hazards and watch for anything that is loose or unwrapped.
  • Don’t let kids walk while eating candy on a stick – very dangerous if they trip.
  • Don’t let kids eat homemade treats unless made by someone you know very well
  • Stick to familiar neighborhoods and familiar houses
  • Kids shouldn’t enter any homes unless they know the neighbors well
  • Kids without adults should keep in groups
  • Walk on sidewalks. Complete one side of the street, cross carefully, and complete the other side.
  • Use cross walks and crossing lights whenever possible.

Pet safety

  • Don’t forget about your pets – they could be upset by the unusual activity and may be skittish. Keep them inside and away from the door so they don’t frighten or nip at your guests.
  • Be careful not to let your pets eat candy, which can be toxic to them.
  • More: Halloween Perils For Pets … and People, Too

Other issues

Call your agent
If you should suffer any damage to your property or have any accidents during Halloween weekend, file a claim as soon as possible to get the claim process in motion. Be ready with the details of where and when the event occurred, along with the names and addresses of any injured parties or witnesses to the event. If there is damage to your property, report it to the police, take photos, and record the details so you won’t forget them later.

Take these quizzes to see how safe you are online

octoberThink you’re safe online? October is Cyber Security Awareness month – a good time to put things to the test.Take these two quizzes to see how you fare.

Phishing Quiz – Think you can Outsmart Internet Scammers?
Ever wonder how good you are at telling the difference between a legitimate website and one that’s a phishing attempt? Take this quiz to find out.

How cyber-savvy are you?
Test your knowledge about the cyber security risks you face every day. Take the 11-question quiz to find out how cyber-savvy you are!

Whether on a desktop, laptop or mobile device, your password is often your greatest point of vulnerability. Is your password on the list of the Top 500 Worst Passwords of All Time? If so, change it now!

Here are two tools from Microsoft that can help in formulating a better password:

It’s National Teen Driver Safety Week

Driving: Teens in Car

October 19-25 is National Teen Driver Safety Week. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among 15- to 20-year olds. Teenagers are four times more likely to be involved in a fatal car crash than adults. As many of these 30% of these accidents involve alcohol. Distracted driving is also a key issue. The most dangerous time of a teen driver’s life is the first 12 months of holding an independent license.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) offers a Driver Education Toolkit with a variety of fact sheets on topics that are valuable to novice and experienced drivers alike:

  • Alcohol and Driving
  • Blindzone Glare Elimination
  • Driver Distractions
  • Efficient Steering Techniques
  • Proper Seat Belt Use
  • Risk Management
  • Visual Search / Perception
  • Work / Construction Zones

Other great resources include the National Safety Council’s Teen Driving page, the Insurance Information Institute’s Teen Drivers page and Ride like a Friend.

Flus, allergies, colds, oh no! Fighting seasonal maladies

z-flu

It’s that time of year again – flus, colds, and allergies are kicking in. Flu season runs from October through May, generally peaking in February. When you get sniffles and aches, it’s hard to differentiate because these maladies have similar symptoms — but the treatment can be very different. The National Institute of Health offers a handy chart comparing symptoms, treatment and prevention:
Cold, Flu, or Allergy? Know the Difference for Best Treatment

The flu can be serious for some groups: seniors (65+), children (especially those younger than 2), and people with chronic health conditions. Your best defense is a flu vaccine. The CDC suggests that everyone 6 months of age and older should get the flu vaccine.

Use the Flu Vaccine Finder to find a location near you.

In addition to the flu, parents are quite concerned about virus affecting kids – while it is not a new virus, it seems to be popping up and causing concern. The CDC offers more resources to learn about Enterovirus D68, as well as some prevention tips.

EV68-infographic

Here are links for more helpful flu resources

Handy household hacks: creative uses for everyday products

Here are some video clips of great money-saving hacks for household products you probably already have in one of your your cabinets. Learn some of their less-well known uses and save on expensive alternatives.

10 Awesome Vinegar Life Hacks you should know

6 Uses for Windex You Should Know

25 Creative Uses For Common Household Items

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

breast-cancerOctober is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a chance to raise awareness about the importance of early detection of breast cancer. 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. When breast cancer is detected early (localized stage), the 5-year survival rate is 98%. Make a difference! Spread the word about mammograms and encourage communities, organizations, families, and individuals to get involved.

For some inspiration, here are some of the 2014 Pink Glove Dance winners … the Grand Prize Winner, Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center in California

Here’s a 2nd Place Winner from Health Concepts, Ltd. in Providence Rhode Island.

The first Pink Glove video that started the dance craze – from Providence St. Vincent Medical Center in Portland, Oregon in 2009

See more Pink Glove videos.

Feel-good Friday post: Owl family waking up to a GoPro

How did your day start today? You probably wouldn’t be thrilled to wake up and find a camera filming you but that’s exactly what happened to an owl family recently — they woke up one morning to find a GoPro camera trained on their burrow. The curious birds spent some time investigating this intruder, which gave us the opportunity for a great up-close-and-personal look at some baby owls. (The baby owls make their appearance about a minute or so in.) Too cute!

And if you enjoyed that, you may also enjoy seeing Kuu the Screech Owl having a bath and being dried.

Now after all that cuteness, if you think having an owl as a pet might be fun, think again: Here are the top 10 reasons you don’t want an owl for a pet. Owls are sharp-eyed predators that hunt small game – occasionally even swooping down on a small household pet. So if you want to learn more about owls, the Audubon Society is a good place to start.

Driving in rain can be tricky: How to avoid hydroplaning

Storm Driving

When there’s snow or ice on the road, drivers are cautious, but rain is such a frequent occurrence that drivers are sometimes over-confident. That’s a mistake that could be costly or even deadly. According to the Federal Highway Administration:

“Most weather-related crashes occur on wet pavement and during rainfall. Each year, 75 percent of weather-related vehicle crashes occur on wet pavement and 47 percent happen during rainfall. Nearly 5,700 people are killed and more than 544,700 people are injured in crashes on wet pavement annually. Every year, over 3,400 people are killed and over 357,300 people are injured in crashes during rainfall.”

Edmunds offers a good refresher on best practice Tips and Techniques for Driving in Rain. But one condition that you should know about and prevent is hydroplaning or aquaplaning. According to SafeMotorist.com:

The term hydroplaning is commonly used to refer to the skidding or sliding of a cars tires across a wet surface. Hydroplaning occurs when a tire encounters more water than it can scatter. Water pressure in the front of the wheel pushes water under the tire, and the tire is then separated from the road surface by a thin film of water and loses traction. The result is loss of steering, braking and power control.

Rubber tires have tread (grooves) that are designed to channel water from beneath the tire. This creates higher friction with the road surface and can help prevent or minimize instances of hydroplaning.

Learn more at Hydroplaning Basics: Why it Occurs and How You Can Avoid it

This video from Defensive Driving offers a great overview of hydroplaning, how to avoid it and what to do if it happens.

Fall foliage extravaganza: ideas for your weekend

winding road in foliageThe upcoming weekend forecast is for warm and glorious weather here in New England, a perfect time for getting out to enjoy the foliage. There’s leaf peeping, apple picking, corn mazes, pumpkin festivals, country fairs and more – we’ve gathered some resources to help you make the most of the nice weather.

Yankee Foliage offers an excellent live foliage map and an extensive selection of suggested foliage drives. They also suggest the 5 Best Pumpkin Festivals in New England.

New England Destinations is a good local guide, offering many ideas for the fall season, including a list of activities for September and October. They also offer their own selection for foliage drives, as well as foliage maps and hotlines.

For more ideas, here are the official state tourism bureaus

If you want current tracking of the weather in this or any other season, Twitter can be a very fun way to do that. Meteorologists have a strong and active presence — many issue updated foliage reports and photos along with the weather. We have a list of New England Weather Resources on Twitter that you can follow.

If you’re heading out for drives, we issue our seasonal caution to be alert for deer and moose. The Insurance Information Institute reminds us that fall is peak season for deer and auto collisions. “Deer migration and mating season generally runs from October through December, and causes a dramatic spike in the movement of deer population. As a result, more deer-vehicle collisions occur in this period than at any other time of year.” Plus, in northern New England, you need to be on the lookout for moose.