For people in much of the country, temperatures are going down and utility bills are skyrocketing up. Home heating accounts for about 45 percent of the typical American household’s energy bill, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
The winter solstice — and the shortest day of the year — will soon be upon us (Dec. 21), and not everyone is feeling the holiday spirit. Illness, loneliness, financial troubles, family problems and depression can make many dread the “most wonderful” time of the year and endanger both mental and physical health. A recent University of Chicago study found that feelings of loneliness and isolation can lead to increased stress, higher blood pressure and other health problems.
Man, this winter just keeps on giving. Turns out those record-setting, lower-than-normal temperatures we just suffered through are now going to cause higher-than-normal pollen counts starting this month.
This isn't just cold, this is a life-threatening freeze that's breaking decades-old records across a huge swath of the country. So far, 20 storm-related deaths have been reported, including three people in Chicago who died while shoveling snow.
Slips and falls during the winter months are all too common, say the orthopedists who take care of all the bone breaks, muscle tears and sprains that happen this season.
A couple of years ago I wrote an article for AARP about simple ways to reduce the cost of heating your home. After reading it, my wife promptly added a number of the energy-saving tips I'd suggested to my "honey-do" list, including installing three programmable thermostats around our house.
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