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Life in Brief — week of Dec. 15

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Tips for keeping decor safe over the holidays

Holiday decorations, if not handled right, could involve potential fire hazards. Here are five tips for keeping safe:

1. Make sure natural and artificial Christmas trees are placed far away from fireplaces, portable heaters and other heat sources.

2. Trim trees with only non-combustible or flame-resistant lights, tinsel, ornaments and other decorations.

3. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use of lights and other decorations and before buying, make sure the items were tested for safety by an independent, nonprofit group.

4. Throw away any lights with cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires or loose connections.

5. Turn off holiday lights and blow out candles when going to bed or leaving the house.

— Donna Gehrke-White

Sun Sentinel

Hints from Heloise:

Cardboard roll can keep gift wrap intact

A reader writes: To keep gift wrap from unrolling, repurpose paper-towel and toilet-paper rolls. Cut the cardboard roll longways and open it to fasten around the gift-wrap roll. Place a rubber band or piece of tape on the toilet-paper roll where the slit is. When it’s time to wrap gifts, just remove the band or cut the tape and reuse the roll again.

— King Features

Fatal allergic reaction

carries low risk factor

A fatal allergic reaction is a dramatic event that naturally attracts attention. But that may lead people to overestimate the risk.

A new study finds people with food allergies have far less chance of dying from such a reaction than from an accident.

The analysis, published in Clinical & Experimental Allergy, reviewed 13 studies and conference abstracts describing 240 fatal “food anaphylaxis episodes” from 1946 to 2012. In people with food allergies, the death rate from anaphylaxis was 1.81 per million per year; in those younger than 19, it was 3.25 per million, and in those with peanut allergies, it was 4.25 per million.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of death by accident is 399 per million per year, the murder rate is 53 in a million, the risk of being fatally shot is 36 in a million, and the chance of dying in a car accident is 109 in a million.

— Nicholas Bakalar

New York Times

Tips are recommended
for helpful hotel staff

The debate on what to tip a hotel maid was part of a classic Seinfeld episode from the 1990s.

Now the American Hotel & Lodging Association is putting an end to the debate. The group recommends a tip of $1 to $5 a night, left in a marked envelope.

For a concierge, tip $5 to $10 depending on the services, the group said. If you ask a staffer to bring something extra to your room, such as a blanket, tip at least $4.

But no tip is required, the association says, if you ask staff to come to your room to fix a leaky sink or broken television or to replace a missing item.

— Hugo Martin

Los Angeles Times


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