75 Secrets Nurses Won’t Tell You

This is what I mean when I say to get a second opinion


“We’re not going to tell you your doctor is incompetent, but if I say, ‘You have the right to a second opinion,’ that can be code for ‘I don’t like your doctor’ or ‘I don’t trust your doctor.'”—Linda Bell, RN, clinical practice specialist at the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses in Aliso Viejo, California  Here’s how to find a doctor you trust.

Before you gossip…


“Feel free to tell us about your personal life, but know that we’re here for 12 hours with nothing to talk about. So the stuff you tell us will probably get repeated.” —A nurse in St. Petersburg, Florida

Sometimes we give more medication than we’re ordered to


“When a patient is terminally ill, sometimes the doctor won’t order enough pain medication. If the patient is suffering, we’ll sometimes give more than what the doctor said and ask him later to change the order. People will probably howl now that I’ve said it out loud, but you have to take care of your patient.” —A longtime nurse in Texas  

A lot of my patients are incontinent


“I’m supposed to just use a wet washcloth to clean them. But if it’s a patient who’s been really nice and appreciative, I’ll go all the way to intensive care to get some of the heated wet wipes, which are a lot more gentle. Somebody who’s constantly yelling at me? I just use the washcloth.” —A nurse in St. Petersburg, Florida

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I always remain calm

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“I’ve had people blow out arteries in front of me, where I know the patient could bleed to death within minutes. I’ve had people with brains literally coming out of their head. No matter how worried I am, I’ll say calmly, ‘Hmmm, let me give the doctor a call and have him come look at that.'” —A longtime nurse in Texas.  These are the craziest things ER nurses have ever seen.

Yes, you were stupid not to come in earlier


“I’d never tell a patient that he’s a moron for waiting a week for his stroke symptoms to improve before coming to the hospital. Although I’d like to. Especially if his wife then complains that we’re not doing anything for the guy.” —A longtime nurse who blogs at head-nurse.blogspot.com  

Don’t lie about your pain


“If you’re happily texting and laughing with your friends until the second you spot me walking into your room, I’m not going to believe that your pain is a ten out of ten.” —A nurse in New York City.  Here are some more things doctors and nurses wish patients wouldn’t do.

Your life is in our hands—literally


“We question physicians’ orders more often than you might think. Some of the mistakes I’ve headed off: a physician who forgot to order a medication that the patient was taking at home, a doctor who ordered the incorrect diet for a diabetic, and one who tried to perform a treatment on the wrong patient.” —A nurse from Pennsylvania

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People have no idea of the amount of red tape we have to deal with every day


“We spend hours at the computer just clicking boxes. They tell us, ‘If it wasn’t charted, it didn’t happen.’ So I always chart with a jury in the back of my mind.” —An intensive-care nurse in California

Hospitals are full of drug-resistant germs

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“Despite nurses’ best efforts, hospitals are still filthy and full of drug-resistant germs. I don’t even bring my shoes into the house when I get home.” —Gina, a nurse who blogs at codeblog.com

These days, you can’t get admitted unless you’re really sick


“And you’ll probably get sent home before you’re really ready. So we don’t get any easy ones anymore.” —Kathy Stephens Williams, RN, staff development educator for critical care at St. Anthony’s Medical Center in St. Louis, Missouri. Here are some doctor-approved tips to shorten your hospital stay.

The No. 1 thing you should never say to me:


“‘You’re too smart to be a nurse.’ I went to nursing school because I wanted to be a nurse, not because I wanted to be a doctor and didn’t make it.” —A longtime nurse in Texas

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The sicker you are, the less you complain

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“I’ll have a dying patient with horrible chest pain who says nothing, because he doesn’t want to bother me. But the guy with the infected toe—he can’t leave me alone.” —An intensive-care nurse in California

I’ll always come into your room with a smile


“No matter how many times you use your call light, even if it’s every ten minutes, I will come into your room with a smile. However, if you don’t really need help, I will go back to the nurses’ station and complain, and this may affect how the nurses on the next shift take care of you.” —A cardiac nurse in San Jose, California. Check out these heartwarming stories about nurses who went above and beyond.

Over-the-counter drugs and herbals count as medications you take


“When your provider asks for a list of the medications you’re taking, make sure you include over-the-counter drugs and herbals. People think that if an herb is ‘all natural’ and ‘organic,’ it’s not a medication. But that’s not true. Herbals can interact with other medications and can cause serious complications.” —Kristin Baird, RN, a health-care consultant in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin

‘Grey’s Anatomy’? We watch it and laugh

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“Ninety percent of the things doctors do on the show are things that nurses do in real life. Plus, there’s no time to sit in patients’ rooms like that.” —Kathy Stephens Williams, RN

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This is a hospital, not a hotel


“I’m sorry the food isn’t the best, and no, your boyfriend can’t sleep in the bed with you.” —A nurse in New York City.  Learn the secrets hospitals won’t tell you.

I’ll wait for the doctor to tell you about test results

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“If you ask me if your biopsy results have come back yet, I may say no even if they have, because the doctor is really the best person to tell you. He can answer all your questions.”—Gina, a nurse who blogs at codeblog.com

Nurses can be mean to each other


“In my first nursing job, some of the more senior nurses on the floor refused to help me when I really needed it, and they corrected my inevitable mistakes loudly and in public. It’s a very stressful job, so we take it out on each other.” —Theresa Brown, RN, an oncology nurse and the author of Critical Care: A New Nurse Faces Death, Life, and Everything in Between

It’s stressful when a physician makes a mistake

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“It can be intimidating when you see a physician who is known for being a real ogre make a mistake. Yes, you want to protect your patient, but there’s always a worry: Am I asking for a verbal slap in the face?” —Linda Bell, RN.  Learn what happens when doctors make life-threatening mistakes.

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I hate being blamed for things that aren’t my fault


“Every nurse has had a doctor blame her in front of a patient for something that is not her fault. They’re basically telling the patient, ‘You can’t trust your nurse.'” —Theresa Brown, RN

A positive note from you can go a long way

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“If you have a really great nurse, a note to her nurse manager that says ‘So-and-so was exceptional for this reason’ will go a long way. Those things come out in her evaluation—it’s huge.” —Linda Bell, RN

I love when you come back and visit

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“If you’ve been a patient in a unit for a long time, come back and visit. We’ll remember you, and we’d love to see you healthy.” —An intensive-care nurse in California

We still believe in miracles

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“I once took care of a child who had been in a coma for more than a week. The odds that he would wake up were declining, but I had read that the sense of smell was the last thing to go. So I told his mom, ‘Put your perfume on a diaper and hold it up by his nose to see if it will trigger something.’ The child woke up three hours later. It was probably a coincidence, but it was one of my best moments as a nurse.” —Barbara Dehn, RN, a nurse-practitioner in Silicon Valley who blogs at nursebarb.com.  Read more stories of miraculous recoveries from nurses and doctors.

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Nursing is incredibly demanding


“Some jobs are physically demanding. Some are mentally demanding. Some are emotionally demanding. Nursing is all three. If you have a problem with a nurse or with your care, ask to speak to the charge nurse [the one who oversees the shift]. If it isn’t resolved at that level, ask for the hospital supervisor.” —Nancy Brown, RN, a longtime nurse in Seattle

Demand their attention


“Now that medical records are computerized, a lot of nurses or doctors read the screen while you’re trying to talk to them. If you feel like you’re not being heard, say, ‘I need your undivided attention for a moment.’” —Kristin Baird, RN

Never talk to a nurse while she’s getting your medications ready


“The more conversation there is, the more potential [there is] for error.” —Linda Bell, RN

Nurses shouldn’t miss your vein


“If the person drawing your blood misses your vein the first time, ask for someone else. I’ve seen one person stick someone three times. They need to practice, but it shouldn’t be on you!” —Karon White Gibson, RN, producer-host of Outspoken with Karon, a Chicago cable TV show

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Never let your pain get out of control


“Using a scale of zero to ten, with ten being the worst pain you can imagine, start asking for medication when your pain gets to a four. If you let it get really bad, it’s more difficult to get it under control.” —Nancy Beck, RN, a nurse at a Missouri hospital. These are the secrets pain doctors won’t tell you.

Drink lots of water before having your blood drawn


“If you’re going to get blood drawn, drink two or three glasses of water beforehand. If you’re dehydrated, it’s a lot harder for us to find a vein, which means more poking with the needle.” —Mary Pat Aust, RN, clinical practice specialist at American Association of Critical-Care Nurses in Aliso Viejo, California

Don’t hold your breath before a painful procedure


“Don’t hold your breath when you know we’re about to do something painful, like remove a tube or take the staples out of an incision. Doing that will just make it worse. Take a few deep breaths instead.” —Mary Pat Aust, RN

Try to avoid hospitals in July


“If you have a choice, don’t go into the hospital in July. That’s when the new crop of residents starts, and they’re pretty clueless.” —A nurse supervisor at a New Jersey hospital

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Doctors don’t always tell you everything


“They’ll be in the hallway saying, ‘She has a very poor prognosis. There’s nothing we can do.’ Then they don’t say that in the room. Sometimes I try to persuade them to be more up-front, but I don’t always succeed.” —Theresa Brown, RN. Learn what doctors are thinking (but won’t say to your face). 

Many doctors seem to have a lack of concern about pain


“I’ve seen physicians perform very painful treatments without giving sedatives or pain medicine in advance, so the patient wakes up in agony. When they do order pain medicine, they’re so concerned about overdosing, they often end up underdosing.” —A nurse supervisor at a New Jersey hospital

Always ask anyone who comes into your room if they’ve washed their hands


“There are a few doctors at every hospital who just don’t think that they need to wash their hands between seeing patients. Others get distracted and forget. So always ask anyone who comes into your room, ‘Have you washed your hands?'” —Kathy Stephens Williams, RN. And make sure you don’t make these hand-washing mistakes yourself, either.

Please give physical affection to dying loved ones


“When you’re with someone who is dying, try to get in bed and snuggle with them. Often they feel very alone and just want to be touched. Many times my patients will tell me, ‘I’m living with cancer but dying from lack of affection.'” —Barbara Dehn, RN, NP. Here are some other things you should never do while visiting someone in the hospital.

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It’s the little things that make a difference for people who are sick


“One of the best things you can do is wrap them in a warm blanket or towel. Throw the towel in the dryer before they are bathed. If they’re in a hospital, find out where the blanket warmer is.” —Barbara Dehn, RN, NP

I may talk to family members to clarify their goals for the patient’s care


“I’ll never tell you to change your code status to Do Not Resuscitate, even though I might cringe at the thought of having to break your ribs during CPR. With certain patients, however, I may talk to family members to clarify their goals for the patient’s care. This sometimes leads to an elderly person being placed on comfort care rather than being continually tortured by us with procedures that aren’t going to help.” —A cardiac nurse in San Jose, California

The doctors don’t save you; we do


“We’re the ones keeping an eye on your electrolytes, your fluids, whether you’re running a fever. We’re often the ones who decide whether you need a feeding tube or a central line for your IV. And we’re the ones who yell and screech when something goes wrong.” —A longtime nurse in Texas

Husbands, listen to your wives if they tell you to go to the hospital

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“Today a man kept fainting but wouldn’t go to the hospital until his wife forced him. He needed not one, not two, but three units of blood—he was bleeding internally. He could have had a cardiac arrest. Another man complained to his wife that he didn’t feel ‘right.’ His wife finally called me to come over to their house. His pulse was 40. He got a pacemaker that evening.” —Barbara Dehn, RN, NP. Here are some more mistakes you make that can lead to a misdiagnosis.

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If you do not understand what the doctor is telling you, say so!

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“I once heard a doctor telling his patient that the tumor was benign, and the patient thought that benign meant that he had cancer. That patient was my dad. It was one of the things that inspired me to become a nurse.” —Theresa Tomeo, RN, a nurse at the Beth Abraham Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Queens, New York. These are the medical facts that doctors and nurses want everyone to know.

At the end of an appointment, ask yourself: Do I know what’s happening next?


“If you had blood drawn, find out who’s calling who with the results, and when. People assume that if they haven’t heard from anyone, nothing is wrong. But I’ve heard horror stories. One positive biopsy sat under a pile of papers for three weeks.” —Kristin Baird, RN

Sometimes you do nothing but run numbers and replenish fluids


“Sometimes you’re also the person who reassures the teenager that ‘everybody’ gets her period on the day of admission, the person who, though 30 years younger than the patient, tells that patient without blushing or stammering that yes, sex is possible even after neck surgery. You’re the person who knows not only the various ways to save somebody else’s life but also how to comfort those left behind.” —A longtime nurse who blogs at head-nurse.blogspot.com

Know when to draw the line

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“I had one patient show up repeatedly to see me after he was discharged. Another little old man tried to pull me into bed with him. (He was stronger than he looked.) The general rule is don’t ask us on a date. We’re busy. It’s unethical. And, really, I already know you better than I want to.” —A longtime nurse in Texas

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Stay positive

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“Positive attitude is everything. I have seen many people think themselves well.” —Nancy Beck, RN   

Say thank you

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“A simple ‘Thank you’ can really make my day.” —A nurse in New York City

I don’t have time to wait on you

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“I know you asked for mashed potatoes, but that sound you hear is my other patient’s ventilator going off.” —A nurse in New York City

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Sometimes I have to lie


“When you ask me, ‘Have you ever done this before?’ I’ll always say yes. Even if I haven’t.” —A nurse in New York City

We can’t talk to everyone

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“You might think that all the doctors who see you talk to each other, but they often don’t. That’s a problem because physicians sometimes disagree. The more you can keep track of different doctors’ opinions—and communicate them—the better off you’ll be.” –A nurse in Pennsylvania

Don’t come for lunch

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“Don’t show up for a scheduled hospital admission at 12:30 p.m. and expect lunch. We’re not a hotel with room service and we can’t always turn around requests that quickly. Eat before you come, unless the doctor tells you not to.” –Theresa Brown, RN, an oncology nurse and the author of Critical Care: A New Nurse Faces Death, Life and Everything in Between

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Know your symptoms

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“To get a faster diagnosis, know your symptoms and what makes them worse. If you’re having chest pains, is it worse when you take a deep breath? What about when you press on your chest?” –Nancy Beck, RN, a nurse at a Missouri hospital 

Know how to check glucose

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“If you’re diabetic and need to check your glucose frequently, don’t buy a glucometer—the gadget that measures your blood sugar. Some manufacturers will give you one for free if you know to ask, because they make more money on the test strips than they do on the machines. Just make sure your insurance plan covers the test strips for the glucometer you choose. If you’re paying out of pocket, check the price of the strips, not just the device.” –Theresa Tomeo, RN, a nurse at the Beth Abraham Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Queens, New York

Don’t lie about your pain

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“For some reason, when I ask ‘Are you having pain?’ a lot of patients say no, even if they are. But I’ve found that if I say, ‘Are you uncomfortable?’ people are much more likely to say yes. Please tell us if you’re in pain. We have all sorts of medications we can use to help you.”–Mary Pat Aust, RN, clinical practice specialist at American Association of Critical-Care Nurses in Aliso Viejo, California. Here are some questions you should always ask before you take pain medication.

Say “I love you”

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“When someone you love is dying, you can never say ‘I love you’ too much.” –Barbara Dehn, RN, a women’s health nurse practitioner in Silicon Valley who blogs at nursebarb.com.

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Fresh air works wonders

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“I once had a patient who had been in ICU for six months. He was totally withdrawn—wouldn’t look at us, talk to us, or even open his eyes. One day, the doctor said, ‘Why don’t you take him outside?’ We were thinking, ‘Man, that’s a lot of work,’ but of course we said okay. We rolled his bed out the door, thinking what a waste of time it was. Well, the wind was on his face, he could hear the birds, and suddenly he opened his eyes and talked to his wife for the first time in months. That was an incredible day.” Gina Rybolt, RN, an intensive care nurse in California who blogs at codeblog.com

Prep the day before

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“One of the things people hate most about having a colonoscopy is drinking the solution that triggers diarrhea to clean you out. But if you mix the prep the day before and place it in the fridge, it will be a lot easier to get down.” –Theresa Tomeo, RN, a nurse at the Beth Abraham Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Queens, New York

Your vitals are important


“We know you hate being woken up, but we have to check your vital signs every four hours. It’s not the Hilton, it’s a hospital. And that’s hospital policy.” –A nurse in St. Petersburg, Florida

Use a pill planner

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“You might think you’re taking all of your pills, but a lot of you are missing one or two or all of your pills on a given day. Use a weekly pill planner.” –Theresa Tomeo, RN, a nurse at the Beth Abraham Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Queens, New York

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Some doctors smoke

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“Some doctors tell people not to smoke, then sneak a cigarette outside.” –Karon White Gibson, RN, producer-host of Outspoken with Karon, a Chicago cable TV show. These are the stroke symptoms you should never ignore.

Ask if you can call back

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“When someone you care about is in the hospital and you call in for information, sometimes it’s not a good time for me to have a 10-minute conversation. Ask me first if I can call you back. That way, I can talk to you after I’ve collected my thoughts—and when I’m not thinking about another patient who’s throwing up.” –Theresa Brown, RN, an oncology nurse and the author of Critical Care: A New Nurse Faces Death, Life and Everything in Between.

Ask the nurse for recommendations

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“If the doctor gives you names of three different specialists, ask the nurse which doctor she would choose to take care of her own child.” –Karon White Gibson, RN, producer-host of Outspoken with Karon, a Chicago cable TV show

Don’t have me call your doctor

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“Before you demand that I call your doctor, understand what you’re asking. It’s not like you can just place a pleasant little phone call. You have to call their answering service and get them to call you back. Inevitably, you’re in another room when they call. Then when you finally talk to them, a lot of them are complete jerks, especially if you wake them up.” –A nurse in St. Petersburg, Florida

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We investigate

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“I don’t know if we’re making more mistakes now or if we’re just tracking them better. It used to be if a patient came in the hospital and developed pneumonia, the attitude was ‘That just happens.’ Now, if they get pneumonia, we ask, ‘How did that happen?’ and we investigate.” –Kathy Stephens William, RN, staff development educator for critical care at St. Anthony’s Medical Center in St. Louis, Missouri

Bother the nurse

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“My biggest piece of advice: Bother the nurse. When I come upon patients who are in a lot of pain, I’ll ask, ‘Why didn’t you ask the nurse for your pain medication?’ and they say, ‘She looked so busy. I didn’t want to bother her.’ Please, ‘bother’ your nurse. She can’t help you if she doesn’t know what you need.” –Nurse supervisor at a New Jersey hospital

Tell us about money problems 

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“If you can’t afford your medication, tell us. Your doctor may have other, less expensive ways to keep you healthy, or we may be able to connect you to resources that can help.” –Nancy Beck, RN, a nurse at a Missouri hospital

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Keep comfort in mind

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“When it comes to very elderly patients, sometimes family members who are afraid of seeing Mom or Dad go will want us to run a lot of tests or do a major surgery—when, really, the elderly patient just wants to be comfortable. If you’re the older patient, be sure your nurse and your doctors know what you want.” –Nancy Beck, RN, a nurse at a Missouri hospital

Don’t blame us for being late

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“Please don’t get mad at me because your scan was supposed to be at noon and you didn’t have it until 3. Unfortunately, I have no control over that.” –Theresa Brown, RN, an oncology nurse and the author of Critical Care: A New Nurse Faces Death, Life and Everything in Between

Be patient

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“Expect to get pain medication about 10 minutes after your request. If I am not there, simply call back.” –Nancy Beck, RN, a nurse at a Missouri hospital. Learn about how a positive attitude can influence your health.

Let us know about your family

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“If you think your family member is confused, let us know. That tells us we should move them closer to the nurses’ desk and check in on them more frequently. We’ll also attach an alarm to their gown so we know if they’re getting up without assistance.”  –Nancy Beck, RN, a nurse at a Missouri hospital

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Don’t bring your medication with you

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“I understand why you want to bring your own medication to the hospital: It probably costs $10 in the hospital and 3 cents at the drugstore. But please, don’t do it. Under our regulations, it’s not allowed. We need to know everything that’s going into your system.” –Mary Pat Aust, RN, clinical practice specialist at American Association of Critical-Care Nurses in Aliso Viejo, Ca.

Tell them to take deep breaths

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“In an emergency, the person who needs assistance is usually hyperventilating. So when you jump in to help, the first thing you should do is tell them to look you in the eye and take some slow, deep breaths. You’ll sound and act like an expert, and it will help everyone focus.” –Barbara Dehn, RN, a nurse practitioner in Silicon Valley who blogs at nursebarb.com

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You Won’t Believe What Could Be Growing in Your Tap Water

Water tap with flowing water. Selective focus, shallow depth of fieldGyvafoto/ShutterstockIn most parts of the United States, we’re privileged to have access to clean drinking water with a simple turn of the tap. Sure, we may use a filter for a smoother taste, but, by and large, our tap water feels safe. However, a new study reveals there could be something lurking in our H2O that wasn’t previously detectable.

Researchers recently found bacteria in tap water can actually proliferate if a faucet has gone unused for a few days.

What kind of bacteria, you ask? According to a University of Illinois study, the same microbial communities associated with such illnesses as Legionnaires’ disease.

Before you vow to never use your faucet again, first understand this: Plenty of innocent microbes already live in our tap water and researchers attest that the bacteria found in the study don’t appear to present a health risk, no matter how icky the thought of it might sound.

To collect their findings, the study authors took tap water samples from three separate dormitories on the University of Illinois campus before the school closed for a break and then again just ahead of the students’ return.

“Our results suggest that the increase in bacteria in the post-stagnation samples is a result of something occurring in the interior plumbing, not the outside city source, and in pipe segments closest to the taps,” said Wen-Tso Liu, co-author of the study and a civil and environmental engineering professor, in a press release from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Researchers believe that the influx of bacteria in the post-stagnation samples is due to the interaction between the biofilm on the inside of plumbing pipes and the tap water. They also learned that bacteria was heaviest in the first 100 milliliters of flowing tap water once a faucet had gone back into use after a period of rest. With that in mind, if you’re returning from a vacation or weekend away, Liu suggests running your faucet for a minute or two before filling your glass.

“It is contrary to what we have learned about conserving water, but I like to think of it as just another basic hygiene step,” he says. “We have made a habit out of washing our hands; I think we can make a habit out of running the tap for few moments before use as well.”

Read on to discover the common household items that may be poisoning your air.

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Things Rental Car Companies Won’t Tell You

Book now, pay later

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“Renting a car is one of the last remaining travel reservations you can make with no prepayment; in most cases, it doesn’t even require a credit card,” says Bill Androckitis Jr., Owner, Touring Central Florida. “Book the best rate you can find, then keep checking your preferred rental company for better rates.” The same company may offer different specials or change prices based on the rental location. “It’s not uncommon to see greatly reduced rates in the weeks right before your desired rental period as the company wants to rent out as many vehicles as possible,” says Androckitis. (Find out the 11 secrets travel booking companies don’t want you to know.)

Don’t book on these days

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When you’re traveling for leisure, you’re competing for car rentals with business travelers. “I definitely try to avoid Sunday and Monday, as these days may have limited inventory because the regular corporate clients have a standard contract that guarantees them a car,” says Annette White, travel blogger at Bucket List Journey.

Don’t rent from the airport

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Renting a car from an airport location is terribly convenient, which is why it’s usually the most expensive. Instead, hop on a hotel shuttle to get closer to town, then rent from a non-airport based location, suggests Charles McCool, travel expert and blogger at McCool Travel. In some cases, paying for an Uber to a nearby car rental company is still cheaper than booking at the airport location. These are the 15 things you should never, ever buy at the airport.

Rotisserie chicken and car rentals

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If you thought Costco’s $4.99 rotisserie chicken was a great deal, wait till you check out their car rental deals. McCool says their rates are typically lower than anywhere else. When you search for deals, Costco Travel makes it easy to compare too. Plus Costco won’t charge you for an additional driver, like most car rental companies. Here’s everything you can do at Costco without a membership.

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Membership privileges

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Their reputable roadside service draws millions of us to sign up for AAA membership, but did you know you can rent some wheels for up to 20 percent savings with Hertz in the U.S. and Canada and up to 10 percent savings on international rates (where permitted by law)? Other noteworthy perks are a free child seat with rental and up to four free additional drivers who are AAA members who meet rental qualifications. These are the 9 travel discounts you didn’t know you were eligible for.

Perks if you’re 50+

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The AARP Advantage website is available to AARP members (membership is a mere $16 dollars a year) and holds a trunk load of car rental deals, such as a free weekend day with Avis or Budget-Rent-A-Car and 43 percent savings on a Zipcar membership. (If you’re not familiar with Zipcar, it’s an easy way to rent a car if you just need to get around town for an hour or the day. It operates in 40+ states and six additional countries.)  Find out everything seniors can get for free (or discounted).

Put your search in park

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If you don’t want to mess around with trying to find the best car rental deal, park it and try AutoSlash. “They compare rates from several companies so you can make a better choice. Even better, they track the rate continually and will rebook when the rate lowers or notify you so,” says McCool. When you enter the necessary criteria, it also asks for memberships you have, like Costco or AARP, and applies the applicable discounts to the quotes you receive via email. From there you decide which one is best for you.

Do you really need to buy insurance?

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That depends. Before you book, check out your personal auto insurance policy and find out what it covers. If you have sufficient limits and coverage while driving a rental car, then you probably don’t need it. But there is another issue to ponder regarding an accident. “The consumer needs to decide whether they want a potential claim on their own insurance policy,” says Trevor Chapman, manager of external communications, Farmers Insurance Group, Inc. If the consumer files a claim for a loss with his or her own insurance company, this claim could result in higher premiums down the road. “If the customer purchases insurance or a collision damage waiver through the rental car company, the claim will not be paid by the consumer’s own auto insurance, thus avoiding potential premium impacts,” states Chapman. Speaking of insurance claims, these bizarre excuses will blow your mind.

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Your credit card may cover your back

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Some credit card companies offer some rental car insurance, but you have to read the fine print. First off, credit card companies, like American Express and Discover, stipulate that you decline the loss/damage waiver offered by the car rental agency and that you reserve the car in your own name, pay the full rental price, and sign the rental car agreement. Second, credit card companies generally provide secondary insurance, which means it isn’t all-inclusive. It usually doesn’t cover injuries to other people in your car or other cars involved in an accident or cover damages to other vehicles or properties. Carefully read your guide benefits or Google “car rental damage and loss” with the name of your credit card to learn more. Upgrade your vacation with these credit card perks.

Who’s driving?

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This gets a little complicated because some car rental companies charge for an additional driver and some don’t. A spouse, partner, or employees on official business may be free with one company, but an additional cost at another. “I always add the additional driver, fee or no, to prevent getting into a sticky situation if there was an unfortunate accident,” says White. Read the contract thoroughly. Here’s exactly how to handle 11 scary driving scenarios.

Pay at your own pump

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It may be convenient and a time saver to return the car on empty and have the rental car take care of refueling but some companies charge a hefty price for this service, well over nine dollars a gallon. “If the price of gas is low and you are in the city, fuel up yourself before you return the car and be sure to keep the receipt as proof because you get charged more if you don’t return with a full tank of gas,” says Anshula Varma Travel Writer/Blogger, Passport to Eden. Find out the 11 things your car is revealing about your personality

Should you prepay for gas at the car rental company?

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The good thing about prepaying for gas is you don’t have to worry about filling up the car before you return it to the lot. You can return it half-empty or drive in on fumes. The downside to this is that you don’t get credit if you return the car with unused gas in the tank. “If you know you will use the full tank, and have a tight return time, like coming straight from a meeting and there isn’t a gas station near the airport or you know it won’t be open, use the prepay option,” says Stump. While this option is more expensive than refueling yourself, opting in it may be worth it, depending on the car rental company. For instance, Hertz prepay policy says their fuel price is competitive with local pump prices. Compare the fueling policies with your travel itinerary before signing the contract.

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For whom the toll charges

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Nasreen Stump, a veteran business traveler and writer at Traveling Mom always brings her own toll pass. Rental car companies charge a daily fee for using their toll pass, which according to Stump, could easily add an extra $30 charge to your rental. Check out the tolls required on your expected driving route and buy your own pass online or just pay tolls as needed. These 74 maintenance tips will extend the life of your car

Car seats

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A car seat is essential when you’re driving with kids in the back seat. Some car rental deals, like the one from Hertz offers one free car seat for AAA Members when you use the club’s discount code. If you need more than one, it doesn’t hurt to ask for a break in the fee, which is normally between $10 to $15 dollars per seat. However, you can lug your own on the plane, as most airlines don’t’ charge a fee to check a car seat. Traveling with kids? These tips will save the day—and your sanity.

Extended road trippin’

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You would think the longer you are renting a car, the cheaper it would be but that’s not always the case, according to Lisa Marquardt, travel blogger at TheHotFlashPacker. A recent inquiry Marquardt made through Enterprise confirmed that renting weekly was cheaper than renting the entire four weeks she would need the car. The monthly charge was $591 versus the total of renting four separate weeks at $489, saving her $106.

Pimp my ride

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“Reserving the lowest car class and hoping for a better vehicle at pickup is a common strategy,” says McCool. The early bird gets better wheels in the morning too. “There is less availability as most people haven’t returned the car yet and most rental car companies will give you a free upgrade to a bigger or better car,” says Varma. Don’t get too hopeful though. If you have a car full of people or a lot of baggage, don’t opt for a compact car, hoping to get a mid-size car. Upgrades aren’t always a sure thing. Never leave these items in a rental car or your own car!

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The enticing pay now feature

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When you’re shopping for car rental deals, you’ll often notice a Pay Now option featuring a lower price for reserving and paying upfront. McCool doesn’t fall for it. “I shop around until finding more flexible rates, which for me, have always been lower.”

Take a pic, it will last longer

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Taking a picture could be just the proof you need to avoid paying for damages that occurred with a previous renter. White learned an expensive lesson while traveling abroad.”After an incident in France where I was left paying damages from a previous driver, I never leave the lot without taking photos of the car inside and out,” says White. Here’s why you should always take pictures of moving truck rentals too.

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Money Saving Tips ShopRite Employees Won’t Tell You

Don’t even think about shopping without joining the “Club”

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Membership in ShopRite’s Price Plus Club gives you access to instant cash discounts on hundreds of items throughout the store, as well as exclusive offers, points on every purchase, and even a free Thanksgiving turkey, according to smart shopping expert Trae Bodge of TrueTrae.com. Plus, joining takes less than a minute online, and although the card gets mailed to you, you can start saving immediately just by entering your phone number at the checkout line, reveals Tom LaBell, a former ShopRite employee and current healthcare media influence manager at Marina Maher Communications.

Check the circular for budget-challenging items

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As with many grocery stores, you can learn what’s on sale each week at ShopRite via the paper sales circular, but those deals are also available online. Get in the habit of checking the site regularly for items that might be out of your budget normally, advises Harrington. She stocks up on expensive items—like wild-caught salmon—when they turn up in the circular. Check out these important grocery shopping secrets everyone should know.

Alternatively, try the Flipp app

flippvia Flipp

If you’re not a fan of combing through sales circulars and individual digital coupons, consider downloading the Flipp app, advises Bodge. Flipp not only digitizes circulars from many stores, including ShopRite, but also has a shareable shopping list function that helps you save as well, she explains. Here are some other grocery-shopping apps that will revolutionize your shopping habits.

Look for the Wall of Values. If you aren’t finding a dry item you’re looking for from the weekly circular, the Wall of Values is likely where you’ll find it. Don’t assume that just because you didn’t see an item on its typical aisle that you have to pay more for another brand.Julie Ramhold, Consumer Analyst with DealNews, Four of the SAME coupon per household, according to ShopRite’s website. http://www.shoprite.com/coupon-policy/

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Always check the Wall of Values

woman shopping cart in supermarketpixfly/Shutterstock

If a non-refrigerated item you’re looking doesn’t happen to be in the sales circular or listed on Flipp, check your store’s “Wall of Values” before assuming it’s not on sale, advises Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst with DealNews. The Wall of Values is often somewhere in the front of the store, such as in or near the produce aisle.

Keep your eye out for items in odd places

Beautiful young brunette doing some shopping at a supermarket and looking at a refrigeratorantoniodiaz/Shutterstock

Just because you don’t see a particular item you’re looking for in the aisle where you usually find it, don’t assume it’s not in stock, Ramhold advises. Keep your eye out for the item at the ends of aisles (known as “endcaps”) and in specialty aisles. One example: The pasta you’re looking for might be in the international aisle instead of with the other kinds of pasta.

Stack those coupons

Woman In Grocery Aisle Of Supermarket With CouponsMonkey Business Images/Shutterstock

Ramhold tells us that many ShopRite locations offer double coupons so that you can redeem one manufacturer’s coupon multiple times. And according to ShopRite’s coupon policy, you can redeem the same coupon up to four times per household! Just be sure not to fall for these supermarket tricks

Save time, gas, and cash with Club-size offerings

Buyer man chooses chicken meat in a shopSergey Ryzhov/Shutterstock

ShopRite offers “Buy Bulk & Save” deals, such as eight pounds of chicken for $10—with no membership fee, thus eliminating the need for additional trips and memberships to Warehouse clubs. As with warehouse clubs, this works best when you’re planning to use what you buy right away or have enough freezer space to store the extra, says Masterson. In addition, be sure to consider the cost per unit before deciding to buy in bulk, points out Natasha Rachel Smith, shopping expert at TopCashback.com.

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Don’t miss manager’s specials

Couple shopping together at a supermarketRawpixel.com/Shutterstock

Even when an item doesn’t make it to the weekly circular, it might be subject to a “Manager’s Special,” Ramhold tells Reader’s Digest. Keep room on your shopping list and flexibility in your meal plans to make use of these special savings, advises Materson.

Some sale items don’t make it to the weekly ad, so you may be pleasantly surprised when you arrive at the store. Stores indicate manager’s specials with neon signs above or below the sale product.

Act quickly — the special price is available for a limited time, though you probably won’t see an expiration date listed on the sign. Check your shopping list, think quickly and make the best decision for your shopping cart!

Do the Can-Can

BUCHAREST, ROMANIA - MARCH 01, 2015: Canned Food On Supermarket Stand.Radu Bercan/Shutterstock

This one’s maybe not such a secret because of the ubiquitous television ads, but ShopRite’s annual “Can Can Sale”—big savings on canned goods and other products—runs for a couple of weeks each year. This is a great time to expand your non-perishables, advises Ramhold. What you may not know is that ShopRite offers savings on canned foods “from applesauce to zucchini” every single week.

Go to happy hour

Man holding beer can in a liquor store, choosing beerAleksandar Karanov/ShutterstockIf your local store hosts a happy hour, shopping during that time not only allows you to try beer and wine, but you’ll also be able to save a few dollars off a six-pack, Ramhold tells us. Or, as Smith suggests, simply shop at the end of the day, which is when you’ll find major discounts on perishable, prepared meals, including sushi, sandwiches, salads, and bakery items. Don’t miss these 29 things your grocer won’t tell you.

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Free samples

Salesman Holding Cutting Board With Assorted CheeseTyler Olson/ShutterstockThe deli will give you free samples and usually as many as you’d like, LaBelle recalls from his ShopRite days. “The bakery does bake new, fresh items every single morning, and the same applies here.”

Special requests at the butcher and seafood counter

Butcher's hand writing on paper at counter in shopstockfour/ShutterstockIf you need something special at the butcher and seafood counter, ask away. “They’ll help out with pretty much any request you have if it’s feasible,” LaBelle tells Reader’s Digest. He also recalls that they’ll even steam fresh lobsters for you if you tell them you’re wary of doing it on your own.

Overcharged = free

Woman shopping at the supermarket, she is checking a long grocery receipt and leaning on a cart, budgeting and lifestyle conceptStokkete/ShutterstockAlways check your receipt before leaving the store, LaBelle advises: If you were overcharged for an item, you get it free. “Not all front-end managers will bring it up,” he points out, “but if you do, they’ll comply.” Here are the biggest pet peeves for every grocery store employee.

Check in with one of ShopRite’s Retail Dietitians

Cute brunette getting some assistance from a store clerk at a local grocery storeantoniodiaz/ShutterstockAnother way to save at ShopRite is a bit more indirect, but it’s something you should know, several dietitians have told Reader’s Digest. Most ShopRites have an in-store RD on staff, says Harrington. You can schedule an appointment in advance to help you save time, money, and calories, according to David Mercado, an RD at the ShopRite in Newton, New Jersey. Here are some secrets for healthier grocery shopping.

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Check for dietitian recommendations in store

girl makes a purchase at the grocery hypermarketGoncharov_Artem/Shutterstock“Some dietitians have coupons to try new products,” Mercado adds. Even if you don’t meet with a dietitian, you can still find dietitian labels on healthy products throughout the store. Catherine Sebastian, another ShopRite RD, suggests looking out for the “Dietitian’s Catch of the Week” in the seafood department and the “Dietitian’s Produce Pick of the Week.”

“The focus is new each week,” Sebastian says, “with in-season items featured to ensure freshness. We even display fun facts sheets, including nutritional information, how to pick, and a recipe for customers to try!”

Let them help you entertain

Staff standing near various cheeses at counter in grocery shopwavebreakmedia/ShutterstockAt the cheese counter, the employees are experts on texture and flavor and can customize a cheese board for you, according to Sebastian. “Add some Wholesome Pantry hummus, multigrain crackers, and fruit wedges to add more nutrition to your beautiful cheese board!”

Moving boxes

Courier with parcel in doorway, closeup (it's not real QR code)Africa Studio/ShutterstockIf you don’t think of ShopRite as a source for moving boxes—think again: “ShopRite always has them and will put them aside for you if you call,” LaBelle tells us.

Scan your receipts on IBotta

ibottavia ibotta.comIf you’re someone who hates planning out coupon strategies in advance, then you could benefit from a post-shopping savings app such as IBotta, notes Bodge. Download it to your smartphone and save on select purchases by linking your Shoprite Price Club card and scanning your receipts once you’re home.

But that’s not all! Check out these smart ways to save at the supermarket right now.

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Things Your Podiatrist Won’t Tell You

When you go into a shoe store, your salesperson should measure your feet

Shoemaker measuring customers feet, close upMonkey Business Images/Shutterstock

A lot of you have been wearing the same-size shoe for the past 30 years because no one measures your feet anymore, but feet often get bigger as you age.

Your feet don’t need to smell

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You use antiperspirant on your armpits to keep them from getting stinky, don’t you? The same stuff works on your feet. Try the spray kind. Alternate your shoes so they have a chance to dry completely, and wear socks. Otherwise, the sweat will promote the growth of bacteria that stay in your shoes. Here’s another important reason to never wear shoes without socks.

Infections from nail salons keep us in business

Man having hydrotherapy water footbath in spa settingKzenon/Shutterstock

If you want a pedicure, book the first appointment of the day, when the equipment is cleaner. Those footbaths can be especially germy. Even if technicians spray the basin between customers, many of the tubs have drains and filters that don’t get cleaned.

Toe separators, bunion splints, and “yoga toes” may help you feel better…

foot pedicure applying woman's feet with red toenails in toe separatorsVoyagerix/Shutterstock

…but they aren’t going to get rid of hammertoes and bunions. You’ve got to come to me for that. If you have a structural problem, a $6 device isn’t going to reverse anything.

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Some podiatrists will shorten toes or do injections so you can wear high heels more comfortably

Close up of female legs of worker standing near her office. The woman is wearing formalwear and shoes on high heels. She is holding a handbag. Copy space in left sideOlena Yakobchuk/Shutterstock

But I don’t believe in cosmetic surgery for feet. You shouldn’t have surgery if you’re not in pain, because you will have pain after surgery—that’s a guarantee. It has to be worth it. Otherwise, you’re asking for trouble.

Buy shoes at a specialty running store, even if you just walk for exercise

young girl in sportswear squatting on a track and ties her laces for sport.vystekimages/Shutterstock

Well-trained staff will help you get the right athletic shoe. They can really analyze your foot and gait. But be warned: These are the 20 things your shoe salesman is secretly thinking about you.

I’ve seen all sorts of things, including people who have shot their feet


You really shouldn’t clean your loaded gun after you’ve had a couple of beers. Another dumb move: mowing the lawn in flip-flops. The first weekend of every spring, doctors see a lot of injuries.

If you have dry, cracked feet, try AmLactin

Cracked heel on woman's foot, health background to create work about peopleFecundap stock/Shutterstock

It’s just an over-the-counter lotion, but it’s like a miracle. Put it on a couple of times a week, and the calluses will just slough off. You can also try these homemade foot scrubs to pamper your feet.

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Sometimes if a bunion is really bad, a patient will ask me to amputate her second toe

Hallux valgus on wooden background, bunion in footdkpatana/Shutterstock

I won’t do it, because it won’t fix the problem. I tell those patients to tell their daughters: Get your bunions taken care of now. If you wait until they get really bad, they’ll be much harder to fix.

I don’t have a problem with people getting pedicures, but please don’t shave right before you go

Vladimir Sazonov/Shutterstock

You might be embarrassed by your stubble, but it will be worse when bacteria and fungus enter the microscopic nicks on your ankle and give you an infection.

Over-the-counter “custom-fit” orthotics are a bit of a gimmick

Nozdracheva Galina/Shutterstock

They’ll help if you just need some arch support and padding, but they’re nothing like the orthotics I make after creating a mold of your feet in my office. Orthotics are like eyeglasses for the feet. They’re made to correct the specific biomechanics of the way you walk. Don’t fall for these other little shoe mistakes that are killing your feet.

A lot of you hurt your foot or ankle exercising and head straight to an orthopedic surgeon

Physiotherapist explaining feet model to patient in clinicwavebreakmedia/Shutterstock

But unless he or she is specifically trained in the foot and ankle, coming to me is a better bet.

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Fit your shoe to your longest toe

noicherrybeans/ShutterstockThat might not be your great toe—a lot of people’s second toe is longer.

Barefoot running? Great idea—if you can stay on sand or earth

foot prints on sand at the beach in the afternoon, Phuket, ThailandiMoved Studio/ShutterstockDo it on concrete, and you’ll end up with stress fractures and some very bad inflammation.

Here’s a home remedy to cure your stinky feet

Anastasios71/ShutterstockMake some really strong black tea, then soak your feet in it two or three times a week for 20 minutes. The tannic acid has been shown to temporarily shrink sweat ducts so they don’t work as hard. Plus, here are ten more smart tricks to keep your shoes smell-free.

Please don’t ask me to file or cut your nails

siam.pukkato/ShutterstockI’m a podiatrist, not a pedicurist.

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I wear flip-flops too…

Kookkao/ShutterstockBut if you wear them every day, all day, you will end up in my office eventually. Those shoes are designed for the beach and pool, not for walking all over the place. Make sure you know these doctor-approved tips about wearing sandals.

I have people who tell me that I changed their life

Jacob Lund/ShutterstockAnd it turns out all I did was tell them to wear a bigger size. I think, Did that really change your life? But if they had a lot of pain, it’s a big deal.

Don’t get gypped when buying new shoes

Toa55/ShutterstockA good shoe salesman will always watch you walk or run.

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The best socks today are not 100 percent cotton

Maridav/ShutterstockLook for materials that promise to wick moisture away.

You want to try an over-the-counter remedy for your nail fungus first?

A tube of generic ointment or cream with a droplet squeezed outroger ashford/ShutterstockGo ahead. I know you’ll be back to see me before long. In the meantime, look out for these subtle signs of disease your feet can reveal.

Your cuticles are there for a reason

puhhha/ShutterstockYou can push them back, but don’t cut.

I had a patient who had stepped on a pencil when she was 8 years old

Close up of a pencil writing on paper.Tamisclao/ShutterstockTen years later, her foot was bothering her. When I went in, I found a pencil lead, perfectly intact.

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Orthotics and arch supports should be firm

Marcus Krauss/ShutterstockIf it’s jelly-like or soft and smushy, then that’s not support, that’s cushioning, and it’s probably not going to help your problem. Don’t miss these common foot problems and podiatrists’ simple solutions.

Many women are embarrassed about showing me their feet

YAKOBCHUK VIACHESLAV/ShutterstockI can’t tell you how many women have told me that they feel as if they are going to the gynecologist when they have to take off their shoes!

Please wash your feet before you come see me

Closeup of woman's foot on the edge of a bath with foam, careMosayMay/Shutterstock

And change your socks. I can tell if you’ve worn the same ones for three days.

Here are some tips for finding a doctor you can trust.

Sources: Jane Andersen, a podiatrist in Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Marlene Reid, a podiatrist in Naperville, Illinois; Carly Robbins, a podiatrist in Columbus, Ohio; Jacqueline Sutera, a podiatrist in New York, New York; Cary Zinkin, a podiatrist in Deerfield Beach, Florida.

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Low-Carb Breakfast Ideas You Won’t Be Able to Pass Up

Breakfast Brussels Sprouts

Courtesy Julie Andrews

Veggies for breakfast? Yes, please! Brussels sprouts are my favorite, and this three-ingredient morning meal from chef and dietitian Julie Andrews, RDN is packed with fiber, antioxidants, and protein.

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Blueberry Almond Muffins

courtesy meme inge

If you’re missing breakfast muffins, but trying to eat lower carbs, this is your answer. Meme Inge, RDN uses almond flour, fresh blueberries, and a touch of maple syrup in her protein-packed recipe.

Get the recipe

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Toasted Coconut Chia Pudding

Courtesy Lara Clevenger

The perfect blend of toasted coconut and creamy richness, you’ll feel like you’re eating dessert for breakfast, but without the guilt. Lara Clevenger, RDN, created this recipe with less than 3 grams of carbs. Don’t miss these food hacks for a healthier breakfast, according to a nutritionist.

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Scrambled Turmeric Tofu with Mushrooms and Greens

Courtesy sharon palmer

Sharon Palmer, RDN combines anti-oxidant rich turmeric and smoked paprika to spice up tofu for a breakfast that will keep you satisfied for hours. Any veggies will do, but Palmer includes mushrooms, greens, sun-dried tomatoes, and avocado.

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Slow Cooker Eggs Over Cauliflower Hash

courtesy Lauren Harris Pincus

Riced cauliflower provides a low-carb crust rich in vitamin C. Using a slow cooker frees up your morning for all of the other tasks on your agenda. Customize this recipe from Lauren Harris-Pincus, RDN, with your favorite condiment—Sriracha, Tabasco, pesto, or simple salt and pepper. Just be sure you’re not making these healthy breakfast mistakes in the morning.

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Zucchini Walnut Spice Bread

Courtesy Lara Clevenger

Think you can’t have quick breads? Think again. Lara Clevenger, RDN uses a combination of almond flour, flaxseed meal, tapioca starch and oat fiber in her recipe to squash those quick bread cravings.

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Fruity Egg Wraps

courtesy lauren harris pincus

Reminiscent of crepes, these egg-white wraps are topped with a fruity low-sugar spread. Lauren Harris-Pincus, RDN, shares her simple and classy recipe that’s super high in protein—24 grams!

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Shakshuka with Fennel and Goat Cheese

courtesy kathryn pfeffer scanlan

Though it sounds sophisticated, shakshuka simply means “all mixed up.” So, you can change up the ingredients any way you wish. Katie Pfeffer-Scanlan, RDN, includes roasted fennel and onions adding an earthy flavor to the tomato and egg dish.

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10 Secrets Security Guards Won’t Tell You

Armed guards go through some intense training

Young Male Security Guard In Black Uniform Using Walkie-TalkieWhether it is in the armed car industry or the armed protective service industry (that protects jewelry stores), these guards have to complete annual testing and they must pass it to carry a firearm, explains Steve Davies, president of the security company, Focus One. There are even schools that specifically cater to future security guards. These are secrets your locksmith won’t tell you.

The post 10 Secrets Security Guards Won’t Tell You appeared first on Reader's Digest.

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Tips a Weight Loss Coach Won’t Tell You For Free

Reduce Stomach Bloating: 9 Daily Habits That Flatten Your Belly

Don’t expect miracles fizkes/ShutterstockAs much as you fantasize about it, you’re not going to lose 20 pounds in a week. Instead, you want to set realistic weight loss goals and then be prepared to stick with your diet plan for weeks, even months. “I tell clients that it takes four weeks to feel better, six […]

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Insider Tips Career Coaches Won’t Tell You for Free

Limit yourself

limit yourselfNicole Fornabaio/rd.com, shutterstock Life coach Meiyoko Taylor believes that giving ourselves boundaries can unlock productivity and creativity. He writes on his blog, “When we set a time limit, we actually improve our ability to focus. It almost becomes a competition of ‘beat the clock.’ Ideally, you should try using a timer and limit your work periods to around 25 or 55 minutes—with a five- to ten-minute break in between tasks. If a task is going to take longer than 55 minutes, break it down into smaller chunks. This has helped me tremendously.”

Here are 12 other ways to improve your productivity in five seconds flat!


relaxNicole Fornabaio/rd.com, shutterstock Writing for O, The Oprah Magazine, life coach Martha Beck remarked, “There is not one useful thing we can do that we don’t do better when we’re relaxed. The harder, scarier, and more important the task you’re undertaking, the more you’ll benefit from relaxation. Are you speaking before a crowd of thousands? Relax! Sitting in a job interview? Relax! Being physically attacked? Any black belt will tell you that the first thing you should do, against all instinct, is to relax, relax, relax!”

Find a mentor

find a mentorNicole Fornabaio/rd.com, shutterstock In an interview with Bustle, life coach John Moore encouraged the practice of reaching out to people whose path you hope to approximate. “Follow them on social media sites like LinkedIn and Twitter and pay attention to their background and how they communicate. Introduce yourself as someone who is following a similar path and ask for 20 minutes of their time for an informational interview. If you get the interview, respect the person’s time—keep the meeting to the exact times you promised. Be prepared—have thoughtful and specific questions ready like, ‘I noticed on LinkedIn you went to a big business school, how important has that been to your career?’ Thank them for their time and follow up with a hand-written thank-you card.”

Don’t make these LinkedIn mistakes that could cost you a connection—or a job.

Sharpen your focus

sharpen your focusNicole Fornabaio/rd.com, shutterstock Former Navy SEAL sniper Brandon Webb took the valuable lessons he learned while serving in the military and applied them starting a successful business, Hurricane Media. The ability to maintain focus is vitally important to survival on the battlefield, he says, and it is just as important in the boardroom. In his book, Total Focus: Make Better Decisions Under Pressure, Webb writes, “If I had to pick a single core principle for success in business, it would be this: Choose one thing, focus on that one thing, and execute it to the absolute limit of your abilities. Focus on your business, invest in yourself and learn how to say no to everything else.”

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Be mindful

be mindfulNicole Fornabaio/rd.com, shutterstock On her site, Big Heart Coach, life coach Elaine Beth Cohen writes, “becoming mindful enables us to deal with our lives in a way that is profoundly real and possibly more gentle. It enables us to hear our (rational and irrational) thoughts but not necessarily believe them or accept them as ‘correct.’ Mindfulness helps us take a pause and choose what we want to say or do. What I find most powerful is mindfulness reminds me that my life, the very present moment of it, is a privilege and ultimately a fleeting one.”

Check out these mindfulness tips that can help you fall asleep easier.

Don’t ignore your nagging thoughts

don't ignore your nagging thoughtsNicole Fornabaio/rd.com, shutterstock Listen to that pesky voice in your head that just won’t shut up, wrote life coach Shannon Kaiser, author of Adventures for Your Soul, in an article for Entrepreneur.com. “It’s important to take action by exploring the nudges of inspiration that come to you. For example, you may have the idea to start a sales funnel, go to a new network event, or invest in more education. If these ideas keep coming back to you, it’s because they are part of your bigger plan. Making a profit from your passion is a lot like discovering breadcrumbs in the forest. You have to follow each crumb, inkling, inspirational drop that is revealed to you.”

Pick up and move

pick up and moveNicole Fornabaio/rd.com, shutterstock International best-seller and motivational speaker Tony Robbins writes in his book Money Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom, “Generations of Americans have looked at retirement as a time to pick up and move to a warmer climate, a less-expensive city or a beautiful, low-key place like Boise, ID, or Greenville, SC—to breathe clean air and enjoy the outdoors. But why wait till then? Why not change your zip code today? Why not find a place to raise your family that lets you reduce your cost of living and elevate your quality of life at the same time, while you’re young enough for you and your children to reap the rewards?”

Try these morning mindfulness exercises.

Think about your legacy sooner than later

think about your legacyNicole Fornabaio/rd.com, shutterstock Women’s life and success coach Alionka Polanco, quoted in The Ladders, speaks about a line of thinking that she believes is doing people a disservice: “Just do something that pays a lot of money, you can have fun on the weekends and when you retire.” Polanco believes that this sidelines your dreams. She says you should ask yourself these questions: “What are you known for? What was your career about? What does your income look like? What does your home life look like? What’s the impact you’ve had in the world?” These questions will help you focus on what you really want out of life, not what you’re hoping to squeeze in some time to do on the weekend.

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Take risks one toe at a time

take risksNicole Fornabaio/rd.com, shutterstock Business coach and author Susie Moore, writing on Entrepreneur.com, says, “Side hustles allow you to achieve a solid proof of concept for your business idea in your own time, sans the risk of taking a full-time leap and losing your income and benefits overnight. You put your toe in the water, then a foot, a leg, your torso—over months. As a side hustler, you generate an income stream that not only boosts your bank balance but also your confidence in being an entrepreneur. It shows you your business idea has legs before you take an unnecessary jump into the unknown. It’s practical. And fun. And empowering.”

Learn these nine science-backed tricks to boost your confidence.

Make work your play

make work your playNicole Fornabaio/rd.com, shutterstock In his book, Crush It!: Why Now Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion, speaker, entrepreneur, and force of nature Gary Vaynerchuk says you don’t need a vacation if you love what you do. “Live your passion. What does that mean, anyway? It means that when you get up for work every morning, every single morning, you are pumped because you get to talk about or work with or do the thing that interests you the most in the world. You don’t live for vacations because you don’t need a break from what you’re doing—working, playing, and relaxing are one and the same. You don’t even pay attention to how many hours you’re working because to you, it’s not really work. You’re making money, but you’d do whatever it is you’re doing for free.”

Cut yourself some slack

cut yourself some slackNicole Fornabaio/rd.com, shutterstock A self-described “life coach for anxious/depressed nerds,” Gabrielle Loehr writes on her blog: “Sometimes, no matter how much you prepare and plan, life will throw something at you that you couldn’t possibly control, like a natural disaster, a serious illness, a car accident, or company-wide layoffs. So if you believe life is completely within your control, you are bound to be disappointed and unduly hard on yourself.” She continues, “However, how you respond to life-changing events like a natural disaster or serious illnesses is completely within your control. So what really matters is finding a balance between recognizing when you can do things versus when you should cut yourself some slack.”

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Find discipline within

find discipline withinNicole Fornabaio/rd.com, shutterstock In Jocko Willink’s book, Discipline Equals Freedom: Field Manual, the former Navy SEAL and co-founder of Echelon Front leadership and management consulting company, writes, “If you don’t think you are disciplined, it is because you haven’t decided to be disciplined. YET. It is because you haven’t created it. YET. You haven’t become it. YET. So where does it come from? It comes from you. So make the decision. Make the commitment. Become the discipline—embrace its cold and relentless power. And it will make you better and stronger and smarter and faster and healthier than anything else. And most important: It will make you free.”

Check out how to discover your inner passion with these tips from a Navy SEAL.

Value your time!

value your timeNicole Fornabaio/rd.com, shutterstock Professional speaker and life coach Shawn Doyle said in a recent article for Entrepreneur.com, “By far the biggest challenge [to productivity] is getting interrupted constantly, but to be very frank we allow it! Someone comes into your workspace and says, ‘Do you have a minute?’ Because you are a nice person you say, ‘Sure come on in.’ Bad move. Now you have given away your time. What you can say is, ‘I am in the middle of something—can you come back in an hour?’ Now you are doing something brilliant—negotiating for time.”

Be the leader you want to follow

be the leader you want to followNicole Fornabaio/rd.com, shutterstock Author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek writes in his book Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, “Leading is not the same as being the leader. Being the leader means you hold the highest rank, either by earning it, good fortune, or navigating internal politics. Leading, however, means that others willingly follow you—not because they have to, not because they are paid to, but because they want to.”

Read these inspiring quotes to get you through the day.

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