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    Housecall: The healing power of pets

a young man and his dog, in profile. face to faceTHIS WEEK'S TOP STORIES
Pet therapy: Animals as healers
They may not have medical degrees, but furry friends may help you feel better. See how pet therapy can help people recover from, or better cope with, health problems, such as heart disease, cancer and mental health disorders, and provide comfort and enjoyment for nursing home residents.

Blisters: First aid
Are your sandals or flip-flops rubbing you the wrong way? Painful blisters can make walking uncomfortable, so wear shoes that fit well to prevent them in the first place. If you get a blister, know the proper procedure for covering it and, if appropriate, draining it. And it's important to seek medical attention if the blister looks infected, or if you have diabetes or poor circulation. Here are first aid tips for caring for a blister.

Are liquid calories sabotaging your weight-loss efforts?
When you're trying to control your calorie intake, it's important to be mindful of what and how much you're drinking. Although milk and juice have important nutrients and can be part of a healthy diet, they still have calories. When you're counting calories, your best beverage choice is water. Learn more from Katherine Zeratsky, a Mayo Clinic registered dietitian nutritionist.

What are the symptoms of aspirin allergy?
Reactions to aspirin are common and occur within minutes to hours of taking the medication. If you have an aspirin allergy or sensitivity, you also may have a reaction to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB and others) and naproxen sodium (Aleve). And aspirin and other NSAIDs are found in many over-the-counter medications, so it's important to check labels carefully. Learn more from Dr. James Li, a Mayo Clinic allergist and immunologist.

Nutrition facts: A guide to food labels
Video: 'Modified pushup'
Sexual health and aging

Morning glory muffins
Fried rice with mushrooms
Thai peanut beef
Seared scallops

Hanging out with friends? Activity counts
Finding it hard to fit exercise into your day? The key is to make fitness a way of life. Instead of meeting your friends at a restaurant or coffee shop, rendezvous at an indoor climbing wall. Or rent tandem bicycles for an afternoon adventure. Don't just remind your friends of the benefits of regular exercise. Bring them along for the ride.

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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