This is the most overlooked fire hazard at home

Those closet lights that don’t have an enclosure around them pose a fire and safety risk in the home. According to Buell Inspections, under normal circumstances a 60-watt light bulb will not get hotter than 175 degrees Fahrenheit but under some conditions it could reach close to between 290-500 degrees, high enough to ignite things like table tennis balls, which begin to melt around 130-150 degrees, according to Nittaku, a table tennis equipment manufacturer. And it’s just one of 20 hidden things in your home that may be a fire hazard.

A light bulb like this needs to be moved farther away from the PVC pipe or replaced with a LED or CFL bulb, which work at much cooler temperatures. Here’s what you need to know about CFL bulbs.

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7 Hidden Dangers in Your Closet
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7 Hidden Dangers in Your Closet
You don’t have to be a brain surgeon to figure out that high heels are bad for your feet. But who knew those six-inch stilettos could also cause posture problems, skin irritations, and even toe deformities?

“High heels put all your body’s weight on our forefoot, causing you to adjust the rest of your body to maintain balance,” says Dr. Ava Shamban, board certified dermatologist and author of Heal Your Skin. “The bottom half of your body leans forward so the top half must lean back—this disrupts the normal ‘S’ curve of your back, flattening your lower spine and displacing your mid-back and neck. It is very difficult to maintain good posture in this position—not only is it detrimental to the health of your spine, ‘stooped over’ is not a sexy look!”

Doctors say high heels can also cause structure and skin problems for your feet. “With the foot in a downward position, there is a significant increase in the pressure on the bottom plantar of the forefoot, which can lead to pain or deformities such as hammer toes, bunions, and more. The downward foot position also causes your foot to supinate, or to turn to the outside. Not only does this put you at risk for a sprained ankle, it changes the line of pull of the Achilles tendon and may cause a deformity known as ‘pump bump,’” Dr. Shamban says.

The best way to avoid any high-heel mishaps? Switch between heels and sneakers as much as possible and save the sky-high ones for the shortest stints possible (like wearing out to dinner when you’ll likely be sitting most of the evening).

Numbness in the outer thigh region? It might be because your jeans are too tight! According to board certified emergency physician Dr. Jennifer Hanes, this phenomenon, known as ‘tight pants syndrome’ (very scientific) has sent many women to the neurologist’s office.

“This condition is caused by a compression of the Lateral Femoral Cutaneous nerve. It was previously only seen in large bellied men that wore their belts too tight,” Hanes says. “Now, we see it in ladies wearing too tight jeans.”

The doc says you can still wear low-rise jeans if you like, just get them in a larger size.

Remember when Mom used to tell you not to sit around in a wet bathing suit? She was right! Most women don't realize that wet bathing suits and sweaty workout clothes can actually give them a nasty (and itchy) infection, says Dr. Allison Hill, board-certified OB/GYN, star of the hit OWN show Deliver Me, and co-author of The Mommy Docs: The Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy and Birth.

“To avoid yeast infections, change out of tight or wet clothing as soon as possible, and keep the genital area cool and dry by wearing cotton underwear instead of synthetic fabrics,” Hill says. “If you feel itching or burning, or notice a difference in your discharge, talk to your doctor. You can easily treat a yeast infection with an over-the-counter like Monistat.”

Do you smell? Identify these 10 sneaky sources of body odor so you can get rid of it, quick.

Although rare, there are definitely health hazards when it comes to wearing a bra that’s too tight, including skin irritations, fungal infections, breathing problems, and even claims that it can hinder the lymphatic system (a heavily debated subject).

According to Ohio-based doctor Jennifer Shine Dyer, “tight bras can reduce the lymphatic flow to the breasts thus creating an environment with more 'cellular waste and toxins' that should have been cleared by the lymphatic system.”

However, the biggest concern is for pregnant women who can get mastitis, which is an inflammation and sometimes infection of the mammary glands. Getting properly fitted and being careful to wear a bra that’s not too constrictive is the best way to avoid this fashion hazard.

Change your bra, change your body! Do you have the right fit? Find out here.

Once again, yeast infections are the culprit here. “Due to the constant rubbing of the material inside the labia, some women experience more frequent yeast infections from wearing thong underwear,” Dr. Hanes says. “I also believe that thongs can increase the risk of urinary tract infections because they help push bacteria from the rectum up into the urethra.”

The doctor says, unless you practice “immaculate hygiene” in your nether regions, skip the thong.

It’s hard to argue with the benefits of shapewear. Since its inception, this cousin of the girdle (and control top pantyhose) has us cinched, smoothed, and sucked in to perfection. However, when it’s simply too tight, “it can lead to a host of health issues, from bladder and yeast infections to nerve damage and even blood clots,” says Dr. Shine Dyer.

The constrictive clothing “can also compress nerves, leading to leg pain, numbness, and tingling,” she adds. And if the garment is also putting pressure on your lungs, you may not be able to breathe properly in it either.

While comfy and cute for the summertime, flip-flops are a fail when it comes to proper foot support.

“Flip-flops give no support to the bottom of your foot, so it can twist and turn any which way, leading to sprains, breaks, and falls," says podiatrist Dr. Kerry Dernbach. “The thin, flat soles have virtually no shock-absorbing qualities.”

Not to mention, lack of support while you’re pounding the pavement can lead to plantar fasciitis (a painful inflammation of the connective tissue) and blisters and callouses on the soles of feet. Ouch!

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While at one time it was acceptable to have these lights in closets as long as the bulb was at least 18″ away from the closet shelf, exposed incandescent lights are no longer allowed in closets, period. Here’s what the 2014 National Electric Code (NEC) says about closet lights:

410.16 Luminaires in Clothes Closets.

(A) Luminaire Types Permitted. Only luminaires of the following types shall be permitted in a closet:

(1) Surface-mounted or recessed incandescent or LED luminaires with completely enclosed light sources

(2) Surface-mounted or recessed flourescent luminaires

(3) Surface-mounted fluorescent or LED luminaires identified as suitable for installation within the closet storage space

Also, here’s the definition of a luminaire:

Luminaire. A complete lighting unit consisting of a light source such as a lamp or lamps, together with the parts designed to position the light source and connect it to the power supply.  It may also include parts to protect the light source or the ballast or to distribute the light.  A lampholder itself is not a luminaire.

To prevent a fire hazard, try installing a LED closet light replacement, like this one, or the one pictured below. It is a UL Listed LED luminaire that comes with the parts needed to make it hardwired, or it can simply be screwed into an existing light bulb socket, right over a porcelain lampholder. Check out our guide to pick the right bulb.

Other hidden dangers to be aware of: 

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5 Hidden Dangers at the Hair Salon
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5 Hidden Dangers at the Hair Salon

There’s evidence that leaning your head back to get shampoo-ed at the salon could actually cause major damage to your neck. Lying your head back in this position on a hard surface can cause tearing in your neck’s arteries, which can lead to blood clots, and even death. (Scary stuff, huh?)  While it’s rare for this to happen — and more of an issue for those who smoke, have high blood pressure or diabetes, or are at a high-risk for stroke — make sure you have a towel under your head and neck when you get your hair washed, or better yet, encourage your salon to invest in specialized cushions that are designed to protect this sensitive area.

If you are at all uncomfortable, or if you have recently had neck surgery, be sure to voice your concerns to your stylist so he or she can take the proper precautions such as washing your hair leaning forward over the sink instead. Better to be safe than sorry.

The blow dryer used to style your hair is so hot that it will kill most bacteria, so if you don’t see your stylist sterilize her brushes, don’t be alarmed. Full-blown sterilization is not actually required in hair salons in most states, however, most state laws do require sanitization and disinfection. For example, according to the California Code of Regulations Board of Barbering and Cosmetology, stylists should disinfect combs and brushes by cleaning them with soap or detergent and water, then immersing in an EPA-registered disinfectant.

It is absolutely appropriate to ask your stylist what products and procedures he or she uses to sanitize and disinfect. If you even see one strand of hair in your stylist’s brushes before they’re about to be used on you, definitely speak up.

If you are getting any treatment — whether it’s a perm or a Brazilian blowout — make sure to stay away from anything with formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen, according to the National Cancer Institute, and it’s been associated with nasopharyngeal cancer and leukemia. Other chemical relaxers have been known to contain chemicals such as calcium hydroxide, ammonium thioglycolate, guanidine carbonate, and lithium hydroxide which may harmful to skin and hair.  Avoid these types of treatments if you have a medical condition and be sure to consult your physician for guidance beforehand if you decide to proceed. If you’re not sure what chemicals are in whatever is being put on your hair and head, always ask your stylist when you make your appointment. And if you’re worried about the fumes, ask for a mask to wear during the treatment.

When you’re getting color done,  make sure you let your stylist know if you are sensitive or have had any type of allergic reaction to hair color in the past. That way, your stylist can switch to an organic or semi-permanent color, both of which typically have less ammonia.

Speaking of chemicals! You do not want to be breathing in vapors from the coloring and other treatments happening in the salon. A telltale sign of whether or not there is proper ventilation in a salon is if your eyes start to tear up when you walk in — this means that there’s not enough clean air flowing. A poorly ventilated salon is also an ideal breeding ground for bacteria.  Not only that, but a combination of excessive heat from hair dryers and chemicals used during processing can create fumes and airborne particles that can worsen asthma and allergies, as well as potentially cause fatigue and headaches. Ask the person at the front desk if there are fans available, so you can keep the air around you circulating, or see if there are any windows or doors that can be propped open.
Those huge dryers your stylist might ask you to sit under are used to speed up the color process. However, make sure you’re keeping track of the allotted time your stylist told you to stay under for, especially if he or she is not: If you have bleach in your hair and sit under a dryer for too long, your hair can break, causing major damage.
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