* Moderation is the key to weight maintenance. A forkful of cheesecake will do less damage than a whole piece. Remember, an occasional indulgence will not destroy your weight-loss attempts, and if you don't love something don't eat it.

How to Stop Winter From Weathering Your Skin

All winter flakes are not made of snow. Cold weather with its low relative humidity wreaks havoc on our skin, sometimes making it dry and flaky. Skin dries out if it's deprived of moisture and this dryness often aggravates itchiness, resulting in a condition commonly referred to as "winter itch."

During the winter the air is drier, and indoor heating further depletes your skin of moisture. Fortunately, there are several ways that you can replenish the water content of your skin.

Dr. Monica Halem, a dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, suggest the following top 10 tips to help turn your alligator skin into suede:

1. Moisturize daily. Cream-based moisturizers are better than lotions for normal to dry skin. If you have sensitive skin, choose a moisturizer without fragrance or lanolin. Apply moisturizer directly to your wet skin after bathing to ensure that the moisturizer can help to trap surface moisture.

2. Cleanse your skin, but don't overdo it. Too much cleansing removes the skin's natural moisturizers. It is enough to wash your face, hands, feet, and between the folds of your skin once a day. While you can rinse your trunk, arms and legs daily, it is not necessary to use soap or cleanser on these areas every day.

3. Limit the use of hot water and soap. If you have "winter itch," take short lukewarm showers or baths with a non-irritating, non-detergent-based cleanser. Immediately afterward, apply a mineral oil or petroleum-jelly-type moisturizer. Gently pat skin dry.

4. Humidify. Room humidifiers can be beneficial. However, be sure to clean the unit according to the manufacturer's instructions to reduce mold and fungi.

5. Protect yourself from the wind. Cover your face and use a petrolatum-based balm for your lips.

6. Avoid extreme cold. Cold temperatures can cause skin disorders or frostbite in some people. See a doctor immediately if you develop color changes in your hands or feet accompanied by pain or ulceration. If you develop extreme pain followed by loss of sensation in a finger or toe, you may have frostbite.

7. Protect your skin from the sun. Remember that winter sun can also be dangerous to the skin. Even in the winter months you should use a sunscreen with a sun-protection factor of 15 or greater if you will be outdoors for prolonged periods. Overexposure to sunlight can lead to premature aging of the skin and skin cancer.

8. Avoid winter tanning. Tanning beds and artificial sunlamps are always damaging to your skin and increase your risk of skin cancer. If you want to keep your summer glow, use self-tanners along with extra moisturizer as self-tanners can also dry out your skin.

9. Take vitamin D supplements. During the summer months your natural vitamin D production increases due to daily sun exposure, but when winter rolls around that exposure decreases. Taking vitamin supplements can ensure that you are getting the recommended amounts of vitamin D all year.

10. See your dermatologist. If you have persistent dry skin, scaling, itching, skin growths that concern you, or other rashes, see your dermatologist -- not only in winter but throughout the year.

The activity and excitement of the holidays tend to make people less careful when they should be more cautious. There are an estimated 47,000 fires every holiday season that claim more than 500 lives a year.

Dr. Roger Yurt, director, and Nicole E. Leahy, R.N., M.P.H., manager of Outreach and Community Education, both of the Hearst Burn Center at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, urge you to take care all of the time, and offer these special tips for the holiday season:

* Trees: One in every 22 home fires caused by a tree results in death. Remember that trees that are cut early in the season quickly dry out to become fire hazards, so make sure to keep them well watered. Never put a tree in front of an exit and always make sure it is placed at least three feet from any heat source such as a fireplace, space heater, candle or radiator.

* Candles: The chance of having a candle fire quadruples during the holiday season. Never leave religious, or any, candles burning unattended. Make sure candles are placed at least three feet from curtains, holiday decorations and Christmas trees.

* Decorations: Never decorate your holiday tree with candles, even if you don't intend to light them. Keep all decorations away from sources of heat such as space heaters, candles, fireplaces and radiators and, when possible, use fire retardant decorations.

* Lights: Only buy holiday lights that have been inspected and approved by the Underwriters Laboratory (UL). Inspect and test lights each year before using them. Unplug the lights when going to sleep or leaving your home.

* Electricity and Electrical Wires: Never leave holiday lights on when you leave the house. If a wire should short, you might return to find your house on fire! Make sure not to overload outlets, limit the use of extension cords to short periods of time, and use a surge protector when plugging in holiday lights and decorations.

* Fireplaces: Never place a Christmas tree near a fireplace. If there is no other place to put it, do not use the fireplace until after the tree has been removed and the needles have been cleaned up. Use of a screen over the fireplace will prevent embers from escaping. Keep small children at least three feet from the fireplace area.

* Holiday Cooking: Create a three-foot zone of safety around the stove, oven and cooking areas to ensure that children and other adults will stay clear of pot handles, oven doors and open burners on the stove. When cooking, wear short sleeves and tight-fitting clothing to prevent it from getting caught in a flame on the stove, and turn pot handles inward on the stove.

Surviving Heart Attack Season

While we may be accustomed to battling frigid temperatures and the inevitable snow storms that arrive every winter, many of us are unaware of the dangers these pose to our hearts.

"When the temperature outside drops, our blood vessels narrow to prevent our bodies from losing heat. This is a natural response that can also put people with heart conditions and those involved in strenuous exercise at greater risk of having a heart attack," says Dr. Holly Andersen, director of education and outreach at the Ronald O. Perelman Heart Institute of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

Shoveling snow is one of the most strenuous and dangerous winter exercise activities. It can raise blood pressure, and coupled with the effects of colder temperatures, shoveling can increase heart attack risk drastically.

Dr. Andersen offers the following tips for safe shoveling and maintaining a healthy heart this winter:

* Warm up. Warm up with stretching and light activity before shoveling, exercising, or beginning more strenuous physical activities.

* Bundle up. When going out to shovel, always wear a scarf over your mouth and nose to warm the air before you breathe in, and dress in layers. Layering clothes underneath a windproof and waterproof outer shell helps maintain body heat.

* Push the shovel. It is less strenuous to push the snow rather than lifting it, and this reduces the risk of overexerting yourself.

* Take breaks. You should take frequent breaks while shoveling to give your muscles, especially your heart muscle, a chance to relax. You may also consider sharing the work with a friend to make the workload lighter and ensure that you are not alone in the event of an emergency.

* Consult a doctor. If you are over the age of 50, overweight, out of shape or have suffered a heart attack, you should consult a doctor before shoveling snow or starting any exercise routine.

Source: NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital

Learn How to Keep Your Heart Healthy During the Winter Months

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