th3 Giveaway: Cold and flu package 2014.Even if you get a flu shot — and I think you should — you still run a chance of getting the flu. According to Consumer Reports, vaccination prevents the illness 80 percent of the time in adults younger than 65.

But a non-flu virus — including the common cold — can make you feel pretty crummy, too. The insult to such injury is the price tags on cold/flu nostrums.

That’s why I put together a cold and flu package giveaway each year. Judging from the numbers of comments the package always gets, you folks don’t like paying retail, either.


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th Free womens health screenings on Oct. 11.Thyroid issues can wreak havoc with your health and well-being, causing problems like low energy, depression and weight gain. Seven years ago. I was crawling through the days, attributing my severe fatigue to the work-plus-university schedule. (Or maybe just a failure of will.)

Then a friend suggested I have my thyroid tested. Seems it wasn’t a question of willpower after all. Now a tiny daily pill takes care of things.

From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 11, women can get a free TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) test at any Sam’s Club that has a pharmacy (about 600 locations nationwide).


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th3 Vortex, shmortex: Just stay cool.The other day I wished I could send some of our weather (52 degrees and raining) to the parched areas of the country, especially to farming regions. Turns out that the Gulf of Alaska was thinking along the same lines.

The Midwest and, eventually, the East Coast will be feeling the effects of “a poor man’s polar vortex” in the week to come. That’s what Washington Post weather editor Jason Samenow calls the “deep pool of cool air” that will dip down into the Great Lakes region in a day or so.

You’re welcome.

Before and after, though, U.S. residents worry about the cost of keeping cool. Nearly two-thirds of the 2,035 people surveyed by HomeServe USA are concerned about the hit that air conditioning will have on their budgets. Yet 55 percent will suck it up and pay whatever it takes to chill out.


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th3 Blog roundup: Sick as a dog edition.Two weekends ago I came down with what seemed like an upper-respiratory virus: congestion, low-grade fever, and general aches and pains. In addition I felt sharp pain in my face whenever I coughed (which was often).

The fever disappeared within two days but everything else hung on, and dug in. After nine days of feeling that I’d been beaten with several efficient hammers, I reluctantly made an appointment at the Anchorage Neighborhood Health Center.

“Reluctantly” because I figured there wasn’t much to be done about a virus and that I didn’t have a full-blown sinus infection that could be treated. But I was so tired of hearing my own breath wheezing and clotting that I figured it was time.

Besides, my Aunt Elna was known to have broken ribs while coughing, and eeeewwww.

Professional demeanor prevented the doc from saying “You sound like crap” but I think that’s what she meant. No pneumonia (“although it could turn into that”) so just as I thought: no antibiotics.


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The shoulder season.

th3 150x150 The shoulder season.We were hanging out in our library earlier today, me at the desk and DF sorting paperwork nearby. When he asked if I could hand him a pen, I did so without thinking.

Then: “Oh my gosh – look! It’s working!”

I was referring to my right shoulder and arm, which had been more or less immobilized and causing me a fair amount of pain (especially at night) for a while now. Some range-of-motion exercises were helping. But last week I couldn’t reach to the right to pick up a glass of iced tea sitting on the table by my chair. I had to turn my body and reach for it with my left hand.

So this is huge


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