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    Housecall: Humidifiers can help — or hurt — your health

a humidifier emitting moist air into a roomTHIS WEEK'S TOP STORIES
Humidifiers and your health
Dry sinuses, bloody noses and cracked lips. Humidifiers can soothe these familiar problems caused by dry indoor air. Humidifiers also can ease symptoms of a cold or another respiratory condition. But be cautious. Humidifiers can make you sick if they aren't maintained properly or if humidity levels stay too high. Learn more about humidifiers and your health.

Artificial sweeteners and other sugar substitutes
Sugar substitutes are sweeteners that can be used instead of regular table sugar (sucrose). Artificial sweeteners are just one type of sugar substitute. Artificial sweeteners and other sugar substitutes are found in various foods and beverages marketed as "sugar-free" or "diet," including soft drinks and baked goods. If you're trying to reduce the sugar and calories in your diet, you may be considering artificial sweeteners or other sugar substitutes. Here's what you need to know about the possible health benefits and risks of these sweet alternatives.

Will a vasectomy increase my risk for prostate cancer?
There have been many studies on a possible link between vasectomies and prostate cancer. The best current evidence indicates no increased risk of prostate cancer after a vasectomy. If you're concerned about your prostate cancer risk, though, you should talk with your health care provider about possible symptoms and screening tests. Learn more from Dr. Erik Castle, a Mayo Clinic urologist.

Can I prevent my lips from chapping?
Most people get chapped lips from time to time. There are some lifestyle and self-care measures you can take to prevent chapped lips, though. Learn more from Dr. Lawrence Gibson, a Mayo Clinic dermatologist.

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Warm chocolate soufflés
Baked ziti with vegetables
Cheese latkes
Vegetable, lentil and garbanzo bean stew

Is your lifestyle causing heartburn?
Heartburn can make your chest feel like it's on fire. Consider these lifestyle changes to prevent heartburn:

  1. Lose excess weight.
  2. Stop smoking.
  3. Don't wear tight-fitting clothes.
  4. Avoid heartburn triggers, such as alcohol, fatty foods, chocolate and mint.
  5. Don't lie down soon after a meal.
  6. Raise the head of your bed.

Need practical advice on diet and exercise? Want creative solutions for stress and other lifestyle issues? Discover more healthy lifestyle topics at mayoclinic.org.

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