Health Department: Air Quality Worsened During SEPTA Strike

'Station Closed' sign at SEPTA El stop, man smoking in background

The entrance to the Market-Frankford Line and the underground concourse at 12th Street is closed on the first day of the SEPTA strike | Photo by Dan McQuade

If it was a little harder to breathe the first week of November, you weren’t just hyperventilating at the possibility of President Trump.

According to the the Philadelphia Department of Health, air quality was markedly worse during the six-day SEPTA strike. “At its peak, during morning rush hours, levels of fine particles, known as PM2.5, were four times higher during the strike than before,” the Health Department says in a release. Read more »

The Checkup: It’s Perfectly Fine to Never Wash Your Coffee Mug (Really!)

• In today’s assurances that may seem questionable: It’s totally fine to never wash your office coffee mug (because you know you haven’t, like, ever), an infectious disease expert says, as long as you’re not sharing the mug with anyone or leaving cream and sugar in it for days on end. Because the disgusting truth is, your germy mug is probably way cleaner than the communal office sponge. [Science of Us] Read more »

The Checkup: What Every Health-Obsessed Human Should Know Before Their Next Manicure

• If you are constantly obsessing over your health, you may want to take a closer look at what you put onto your digits the next time you hit the nail salon, experts say. And you’re going to want to avoid the neon wall of polishes altogether: Apparently, neon nail polish pretty much always contains formaldehyde resin. Ick. [Well + Good]

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The Checkup: Tiny Tweaks That Set You Up for Big Weight-Loss Success

• Get ready to let out a big sigh of relief: If you’re looking to lose weight, you don’t necessarily need to makeover your entire life. Making tiny tweaks — think: reorganizing your fridge, standing up straight instead of slouching (guilty), and tackling your workouts with workout buddies instead of sweating solo — can pay off big when it comes to weight loss, according to exercise scientist Ellington Darden. [Women’s Health]

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The Checkup: Noooo! These Common Bad Shower Habits Are Destroying Your Skin 

• Ack! If you’re anything like me, you’re making a number of these common shower mistakes, like rinsing your conditioner out of your hair after your wash your body. And making these mistakes could be screwing with your skin big time: We’re talkin’ acne, bacne (and buttne — really!), skin irritation, and more. Nooooo! [Well + Good]

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The Checkup: Working Out Saves You HOW Much Money Each Year?!

• If you’re in need of some workout motivation this Monday morning (aren’t we all?), take note: A new study published in the Journal of American Heart Association found that hitting the gym regularly saved folks, on average, anywhere from $500 to $2,500 a year. Psst: You can maximize those savings with these free workouts around town. [Science of Us]

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The Checkup: Why You Should Order a Fancy Cocktail Tonight — For Your Waistline

One weekend habit that could help you shed pounds? When you head out for drinks after work with friends (because it’s the freakin’ weekend!), treat yourself to a fancy cocktail instead of a cheap happy hour deal. It’s simple math: If you’re sticking to a budget, you’ll probably indulge in just one instead of overdoing it on the cheap stuff, lowering your calorie count in the process. [Women’s Health]

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The Checkup: The Unexpected Everyday Habits That Are Making You Bloated

• Plan on eating a salad for lunch paired with a can of sparkling water sipped through a straw? Well, if that salad has broccoli or Brussels sprouts in it, be prepared for some post-lunch bloat. Turns out we don’t have the enzyme to break those guys down well. And you may want to lose the carbonation and the straw — both of those are bloat culprits, too. Here, everything you need to know about bloating, including the unexpected everyday habits that cause it and how to best deal with it. [Women’s Health]

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Meet the 2016 Health Hero Challenge Semifinalists!

health hero logoDrumroll, please! We are very excited to introduce you to the 16 semifinalists for this year’s Health Hero Challenge, our fifth annual search for Philly’s Health Hero. Once September 13th rolls around, we’ll be opening the contest up to reader voting here so that you — yes, you! — can select a winner.

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