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Take precautions with backyard fireworks on Fourth of July

ANSWERS: 1. a; 2. b; 3. c; 4. a; 5. a.

Sources: Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, www.healthdiaries.com

Protect your ears

If your summer plans include concerts, clubs and other loud noises for hours on end, you (and your ears) might be interested in a nifty new product called Ear Peace.

These tiny earplugs look kind of like silicone mushrooms, and are a lot more comfortable than foam plugs. They filter sound rather than block it. So instead of everything sounding like you're underwater (our usual experience with foam plugs), what you hear sounds high-fidelity, just not so high volume.

And since they are so small and come in three skin-tone colors, nobody will know you're wearing them. They're washable and reusable and come in a little red or silver canister that attaches to your key chain. $12.95 at www.earpeace.com; buy two pair and get a 25 percent discount with the code music25.

free kids' dental exams fill fast

It feels like summer just started, but when it comes to your child's teeth, it's not too soon to start thinking about back-to-school. Get on your dentist's schedule now, or plan to attend one of the Pinellas County Health Department's free back-to-school dental exam and X-ray clinics for children and teens ages 4 to 18 who are new clients. No appointments needed, but these are popular, so get there early:

Wednesday

310 N Myrtle Ave., Clearwater; (727) 469-5800, ext. 121

July 13

12420 130th Ave. N, Largo; (727) 588-4040, ext. 129

301 S Disston Ave., Tarpon Springs; (727) 942-5457, ext. 111

July 20

205 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N, St. Petersburg; (727) 824-6975

July 27

6350 76th Ave. N, Pinellas Park; (727) 547-7780, ext. 103

Children and teens must be residents of Pinellas County, except at the Tarpon Springs dental clinic, where residents of Pasco and Hillsborough will also be seen. A parent or guardian must accompany the child or teen. Call for more information or go to www.pinellashealth.com and select "Dental Health Clinic" on the left navigation bar.

Compiled from staff and wire reports

For the most accurate readings from your bathroom scale, follow these tips from Maria Kinirons, director of food and nutrition for Weight Watchers North America:

• Weigh yourself weekly. Weight can fluctuate by 2 or 3 pounds from day to day based on fluid changes. "Track it on a chart for a visual reminder of progress," Kinirons says.

• Stick to one time of day. Again, weight can vary by 2 or more pounds over the course of a day. Many people prefer weigh-ins first thing in the morning, before eating.

• Position your scale correctly. Scales should sit on a hard, level surface. Carpeting can throw off readings by several percentage points.

• Wear the same type of clothes (or none) at each weigh-in. A pair of jeans and a belt can add up to 2 pounds.

• Go scale shopping. Some models now offer advanced functions such as measuring body fat or calculating weight loss over time. If certain information would motivate you, see if a new scale fits your budget.

• Don't get too hung up. Numbers on a scale are only one measure of healthy weight loss. Also consider body fat percentage, muscle tone and loss of inches from your body.

We can't deny it: It's pretty fun to blow things up in the back yard on the Fourth of July.

But we also can't deny this: According to the U.S. Eye Injury Registry, an estimated 12,000 fireworks-related injuries are treated in hospital emergency departments every year. And up to 400 Americans suffer permanent vision loss annually because of fireworks.

Fact is, there is a whole lot that can go wrong, even if you don't do something really stupid like giving kids unsupervised access to a box of explosives and a lighter.

If you must do it yourself, at least make sure you're dealing with legal fireworks, follow the directions closely (i.e., keep them away from children and flammable objects), and make sure you have a fire extinguisher and a bucket of water available.

And keep the phone handy to call 911 if worst comes to worst.

The smartest move? Leave fireworks to the pros. You'll find lots of great displays throughout the Tampa Bay area at our website: tampabay.com/things-to-do.

And try some nonexploding fun for the little ones.

• TNT Pop-Its, right, make a loud snap when thrown against a hard surface or stepped on. They are cheap and safe, emitting just a little spark.

• Kids love festooning themselves with glow sticks, glow jewelry, far right, and body lights. Find them in party stores.

• Flashlights — especially ones that blink — are big fun in little hands.

crunch these tidbits

Celery has been a favorite of the health-conscious as far back as Hippocrates, who called it a "nerve soother." How much do you know about this vegetable?

1. University of Missouri researchers found that apigenin, a compound found in celery, can slow the growth of which condition in lab rats?

a. Breast cancer

b. Liver cancer

c. Throat cancer

2. What was a medicinal use ancient Romans had for celery?

a. Cured fever

b. Heightened sex drive

c. Reduced gout swelling

3. Celery contains androsterone, which can do what?

a. Decrease the sense of taste and smell in men

b. Lower testosterone levels in men

c. Release a pheromone in men that attracts women

4. How many calories are in a single stalk of celery?

a. 10

b. 6

c. 1

5. How many celery seeds does it take to produce an acre of celery?

a. 1 ounce

b. 1 pound

c. 10 pounds

Take precautions with backyard fireworks on Fourth of July 07/01/11 [Last modified: Friday, July 1, 2011 3:49pm]

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