Use public pools?at your own risk

Summer’s right around the corner, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is here to remind you that there’s nothing like a dip in a public pool — where you might encounter tiny bits of fecal matter, parasites like Cryptosporidium and volatile chemicals that can irritate your eyes or respiratory tract.

A recent report warns that nearly 8 in 10 routine inspections of public pools turned up at least one violation of safety rules. In addition, about 1 in 8 of these inspections found problems so serious that the pool had to be closed immediately.

These statistics are based on 84,187 routine inspections of 48,632 public pools and other “aquatic venues” in Arizona, California, Florida, New York and Texas.

Among the most common violations were pH level (15 percent); safety equipment (13 percent); and the concentration of disinfectants (12 percent).

— Karen Kaplan

Los Angeles Times

Hints from Heloise:

Pack cosmetics?with cotton pad

Heloise writes: I travel a lot, and one of the hardest things to travel with is powdered makeup like blush, eye shadow, pressed powder and face powder. No matter how I transported it, something always ended up cracked and crumbly. What I finally learned, is to cut a cotton pad or fold a tissue the size of the container and put it inside. This holds the powder down and acts as an extra barrier if it does break.

— King Features

Hot water, lemon?gives health boost

If you’re looking for a morning health boost and can’t stand the taste of trendy apple cider vinegar, try hot water with lemon.

Health experts say the acidity of the lemons improves digestion.

Lemons contain potent antioxidants, which can also protect against disease, says Dr. Jonny Bowden, a nutritionist and health author. Having a healthy alkaline balance helps fight germs.

Bowden calls himself a “nutrition myth buster” but said this is one myth he’s not busting, adding that “no one ever was harmed by drinking more water, especially first thing in the morning.”

He recommends squeezing about half of a lemon into a cup of hot water, but you can decide on the amount depending on your taste buds, he said. Cold water has the same health benefits, but hot water warms up the vocal cords and soothes the throat, says Bowden.

Acidic drinks can be hard on tooth enamel, so make sure to rinse with plain water right after.

— Alison Bowen