Summer First Aid Tips

Walking home last night, I witnessed a variety of Independence Day near-mishaps, as cars drove past twinkling buckets of fire, children made their first explosions, and hardcore fireworks dudes lit up the night. The National Safety Council declares Independence Day the most dangerous holiday, so I figured I'd share some first aid links to help you cope with this summer's injuries.

First up: 10 Useless or Even Dangerous First Aid Myths reports on what not to do to treat a snakebite, jellyfish sting, or shin splints. Next, the Mayo Clinic gives you first aid info for burns, likely to be a popular link as Americans use up their leftover stores of fireworks in the coming weeks. The University of Maine brings us First Aid for Bee and Insect Stings, also a summer favorite. If you're getting crafty with the table saw, consult first aid for an accidentally amputated finger. (You may also need How to Stop Mild Bleeding During First Aid or the page on severe bleeding.)

But not all injuries are traumatic incidents in the field. I could have used this a few years ago after an impromptu walking tour of Los Angeles: first aid for blisters (again from the Mayo Clinic). To improve your finger health, here's a video on how to treat a hangnail. Here are five steps to stop a nosebleed (see also the slightly amazing Nosebleed Center). For the clean-shaven among us: How to Remove an Ingrown Hair (also: How to Prevent Razor Burn).

So, did you sustain any injuries on the Fourth? Did you immediately consult Google, as I do? Okay, we're all on the same page here.

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Netherlands Officials Want to Pay Residents to Bike to Work
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Thinking about relocating to the Netherlands? You might also want to bring a bike. Government officials are looking to compensate residents for helping solve their traffic congestion problem and they want businesses to pay residents to bike to work, as The Independent reports.

Owing to automobile logjams on roadways that keep drivers stuck in their cars and cost the economy billions of euros annually, Dutch deputy infrastructure minister Stientje van Veldhoven recently told media that she's endorsing a program that would pay employees 19 cents for every kilometer (0.6 miles) they bike to work.

That doesn't sound like very much, but perhaps citizens who need to trek several miles each way would appreciate the cumulative boost in their weekly paychecks. For employers, the benefit would be a healthier workforce that might take fewer sick days and reduce parking needs.

Veldhoven says she also plans on designing a program that would assist employers in supplying workers with bicycles. The goal is to have 200,000 people opting for manual transportation over cars. If the program proceeds, it might find a receptive population. The Netherlands is already home to 22.5 million bikes, more than the 17.1 million people living there. In Amsterdam, a quarter of residents bike to work.

There's no timeline for implementing the pay-to-bike plan, but early trial studies indicate that the expense might not have to be a long-term prospect. Study subjects continued to bike to work even after the financial rewards stopped.

[h/t The Independent]

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Animals
New Health-Monitoring Litter Box Could Save You a Trip to the Vet
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Unsure if your cat is sick or just acting aloof per usual? A “smart toilet” for your fur baby could help you decide whether a trip to the vet is really necessary.

Enter the Pet Care Monitor: More than a litter box, the receptacle is designed to analyze cat urine for health issues, The Asahi Shimbun in Tokyo reports. Created by the Japan-based Sharp Corporation—better known for consumer electronics such as TVs, mobile phones, and the world's first LCD calculator—the product will be available for purchase on the company’s website starting July 30 (although shipping limitations may apply).

Sensors embedded in the monitor can measure your cat’s weight and urine volume, as well as the frequency and duration of toilet trips. That information is then analyzed by an AI program that compares it to data gleaned from a joint study between Sharp Corp and Tottori University in Japan. If there are any red flags, a report will be sent directly to your smartphone via an application called Cocoro Pet. The monitor could be especially useful for keeping an eye on cats with a history of kidney and urinary tract problems.

If you have several cats, the company offers sensors to identify each pet, allowing separate data sets to be collected and analyzed. (Each smart litter box can record the data of up to three cats.)

The Pet Care Monitor costs about $225, and there’s an additional monthly fee of roughly $3 for the service. Sharp Corporation says it will continue developing health products for pets, and it has already created a leg sensor that can tell if a dog is nervous by measuring its heart and respiratory rates.

[h/t The Asahi Shimbun]

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