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GO RED

Friday is National Wear Red Day, when everyone is encouraged to show support for women's heart disease awareness by, yes, wearing red.

This year, Macy's stores and macys.com have a choice of three red dresses to benefit the cause, and 10 percent of the purchase price on dresses bought between Sunday and Feb. 25 goes to the American Heart Association. Shown here: a scoop-neck Charter Club dress that comes in sizes XS-XL, $89.

Not a dress person? Macy's also is selling Go Red for Women lapel pins for $2 each; all sales go to the heart association.

And here's a deal: Wear anything red to Macy's (lipstick counts) and get a discount of 10 or 20 percent on an assortment of merchandise, from Wednesday through Feb. 5.

Learn more about the month's events at www.GoRedForWomen.org.

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FACTS ABOUT THE FLU: Flu season is upon us, and you may be in more danger than you think: 75 percent of those polled by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases said they would go to a party even if they had flu symptoms. But this is a very bad idea, given how much more serious flu can be than the common cold. How to tell the difference? Dr. Susan Rehm, medical director of the foundation, says the difference is spelled FACTS:

F: The flu commonly results in fever.

A: Muscle aches are more common with the flu.

C: Chills are more common with the flu.

T: Real "I can't get out of bed" tiredness is common with the flu.

S: A cold usually comes on gradually and a flu suddenly.

So if you think you might have the flu, don't spread it. And if you feel fine, get a flu shot - a recent report suggests anti-viral medications aren't as effective as many hope.

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FIGHT BACK PAIN: When back pain strikes, movement can be the best medicine. Three research-proven ways to send pain packing, courtesy of Prevention magazine:

1. Stretching: Stretching of any kind, whether static (you hold the pose) or dynamic (you move through a complete range of motion - but don't bounce), can help improve flexibility and decrease back pain.

2. Yoga: Combines stretching with strength and balance poses, which help shore up weak muscles and release tight ones. It's also a stress reliever; tension can lead to a tight back.

3. Pilates: Strengthens the core muscles that support the spine, decreasing your risk of injury. It also boosts flexibility, making it easier to move without pain.

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TEXT NECK: If you're devoted to your mobile phone and your neck hurts, a South Florida chiropractor has a name for that condition: "Text Neck."

Turns out that it strains the spine when you're forever looking forward and downward at your phone (or computer, video game unit, MP3 player or e-reader). This can cause headaches, neck pain, shoulder and arm pain.

Use your device to check out Dr. Dean Fishman's website, www.text-neck.com, where you'll find information on dealing with this plague. And yes, there's an app for your phone.

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FOOD TRUTHS AND MYTHS: Under review: Coffee Is Bad Good For You by Robert J. Davis

Is coffee good for you, or bad? Robert J. Davis, a health journalist and professor, takes on this question and many other food-related truths and myths and explains the science behind (or not behind) each claim.

Is red wine good for you? Is it okay to eat bagged "triple-washed" salad greens without washing them? All these questions are subjected to a "truth scale" Davis has created to evaluate the claims. A "yes" says that "the claim is believable because there's solid supporting evidence from at least several randomized trials or large cohort studies with consistent results," Davis writes, while a "no" says that "the supporting research may be very limited or nonexistent."

Davis' scale includes "half-true" and "inconclusive" for cases where evidence is contradictory.

As for coffee, his scale gives a definitive "no" to the idea that it's bad for you. Studies show it provides a lot of health benefits. Just don't drink too much or load it up with cream and sugar.

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