How to Treat Mild Allergies in the Wilderness

Identification and Avoidance of the Allergen
1.Learn to identify the signs and symptoms of mild allergies: sneezing, stuffy nose, red and itchy eyes, watery eyes, a rash on the skin.
2.Try to identify the source of the allergic reaction by noting the environment and activity when it first began: Was it a food eaten, a plant you came into contact with, an article of clothing worn, the flowers near your tent?
3.Limit or avoid further exposure to the allergen. Sometimes simply moving away from the area where the reaction started is enough for recovery.
4.Monitor for the signs and symptoms of a severe allergic reaction (anaphylactic shock) and treat immediately if these are present (See "How to Treat Severe Allergies"). 
Tips: Anaphylactic shock is most often induced by insect bites, stings, drugs and foods. 
Warnings: Anaphylactic shock is rare, but deadly if not treated immediately. 
Hay Fever

5.Take an allergy medication that combines an antihistamine with a decongestant if the allergy is producing nasal stuffiness and sneezing.
6.Hydrate well. 
Hives, Contact Dermatitis and Insect Bites

7.Take an antihistamine such as Benadryl.
8.Avoid scratching as this will further irritate the rash, increase the risk of infection and cause scarring.
9.Apply cornstarch packs to reduce the itching of hives.
1..Apply a thin layer of steroid cream, such as hydrocortisone, to rashes caused by allergens rubbing against the skin.
1..Apply Calamine lotion to poison oak and insect bites. Steroid cream may also be effective with poison oak. 
Most over-the-counter hydrocortisone creams are of too low a dosage to be effective against severe skin rashes. For rashes from poison oak or severe hives, see a doctor for a prescription-strength steroid cream. 
Overall Tips:
If you know you are particularly allergic to something, you can receive shots over a period of time to desensitize you to that allergen, reducing or even eliminating the severity of your reaction. See your doctor.
There are many non-drowsy allergy medications available now via prescription. See your doctor. 
Overall Warnings:
This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment.
Most over-the-counter allergy medications cause drowsiness and may impair judgment and coordination. Avoid engaging in technical activities or operating machinery or vehicles while on such medications. 

How to Cope With Grief

1.Reach out to friends and family. They may not understand what you're going through, but they can offer support. Get additional support from people who have experience dealing with grief: hospice staff or clergy, for example.
2.Take care of your health. It may be the last thing you feel like doing, but it can make coping easier.
3.Make an appointment with a counselor or join a support group. If you'd prefer, join an e-mail support group.
4.Talk to your doctor about anti-depressants if it's hard for you to function. 
Get creative. Many people find painting, drawing and other expressive activities cathartic.
Read about the stages and effects of grief to become more familiar with your own experience.
Note that some people don't express feelings until long after a loss has occurred. 
Avoid alcohol and drugs while you are grieving. Suppressing your emotions can be counterproductive.
Grief experts suggest avoiding making major decisions during periods of grief.  Steps:
1.Identify which sibling is most likely to accept your sexual orientation and to provide you with ongoing support.
2.Develop a game plan that provides you with a sense of structure that defines where, when, and how you plan to come out to your sibling.
3.Anticipate that coming out may increase your level of anxiety. As a result, your game plan may be changed, altered or modified.
4.Practice a coming out script that feels comfortable to you. Realistically, you will probably not follow your script, but the practice will increase your confidence.
5.Create a balance in your script. Confirm that you are the individual you have always been. Educate your sibling about the fact that sexual orientation is just one aspect of your personality.
6.Plan to educate your sibling about the incorret stereotypes society maintains about gay and lesbian people.
7.Select a time to meet with your sibling that is convenient to both of you.
8.Share your process of accepting your sexual orientation. If you realized at an early age that you were some how "different," talk about this.
9.Explain what it was like for you when you realized this difference was called gay or lesbian.
10.Share the joys and challenges you experience as a result of being gay or lesbian.
11.Question your siblings about the best approach for coming out to the rest of your family, especially with family members who will be critical and negative about your sexual orientation.
12.Confirm whether your sibling is willing to be an ongoing supportive ally during your coming out process with the rest of your family. 
Tips: Recruit gay or lesbian friends to serve as a source of support for you. Ask them to share their experiences, insights and suggestions. 
Coming out to your family is more than one initial discussion in which you share your identity as a lesbian or gay man. It is also an ongoing activity of educating your family about the psychological, political and legal issues lesbians and gay men encounter.   

How to Handle the Holidays if You Are Gay or Lesbian

1.Go ahead and attend some of the usual family events, but consider skipping out early or coming late - whatever you can do to shorten the amount of time you have to be on the defensive without angering your family.
2.Stay away, however, if your partner isn't welcome, too. Your partner is your chosen family, and the two of you can perhaps go to your partner's family's house or create a new holiday ritual that is all your own.
3.Try not to assume how family members will react to your presence. You might be surprised.
4.Recognize that not all the members of your family will be equally accepting of your sexual orientation, so spend your time talking with those that are.
5.Discuss in advance the sleeping arrangements for you and your partner, if your partner is coming. Don't wait until late in the evening when everyone is tired and ready to argue about something.
6.Steer your family's attention to the parts of your life that they will be proud of, such as recent success in your job, the fact that you've found a new church or home, or the volunteer work you do.
7.Remember that you may not be the only one in your family that is feeling uncomfortable - your closeted gay cousin may be there, too, and that recently divorced uncle may be feeling lonely without his wife on his arm. Comfort them, if possible, and you'll feel better, too. 
Don't choose a holiday as the time for coming out to your parents or other relatives. Too many other things are going on to distract them, and people are usually more stressed and edgy during the hectic holiday times.
You can require people to be nice to you, but you can't require them to understand your sexual orientation. Simply respecting other family members and their difference can go a long way toward making the holidays more comfortable for everyone.   

How to Optimize Performance for Disk Drives

1.Right-click My Computer.
2.Click Properties.
3.Click the Performance tab.
4.Click File System.
5.Click the Hard Disk tab.
6.Drag the "Read-ahead optimization" slider all the way to the right.
7.Click the CD-ROM tab.
8.Drag the "Supplemental cache size" slider all the way to the right.
9.Click the down arrow to the right of "Optimize access pattern," and select "Quad-speed or higher."
1..Click the Removable Disk tab.
1..Click to check the box to the left of "Enable write-behind caching on all removable disk drives" if it isn't already checked.
1..Click OK.
1..Click Close. 
You will need to restart your computer before changes take effect.
Settings have different terminology in Windows 95. Check Related Sites for instructions for optimizing disk drives in Windows 95.   

How to Diagnose Measles

1.Check temperature. Days one through three will show a mild to high fever.
2.Assess for respiratory symptoms such as a harsh cough, runny nose and sneezing. These are commonly found in the first phase.
3.Check for reddened eyes, which may be sensitive to light.
4.Look inside mouth. Tiny white spots on the gums and inside cheeks are also common.
5.Monitor fever carefully after day four. Characteristic of this stage of measles is a very high fever, up to 105 degrees F.
6.Watch for a rash. It is red and blotchy and begins on the face.
7.Assess skin condition. The skin usually starts to peel in two to three days. The rash will also spread from the face to the body, and then the arms and legs. By the time it reaches your extremities, it should have begun to fade from your face.
8.Determine exposure. If you have never had measles or have never been immunized, and you have been in contact with a person who has measles, chances are you've got it. Measles are very contagious and easily spread through the air. 
Tips: The vaccine is the easiest way to avoid the measles. Two vaccines are now recommended in childhood, the first at about 15 months of age and the second right before a child begins school. Certain people should not receive the vaccine because of a weakened immune system, medications they're taking, etc. Check with your doctor.   

How to Make a Sandbag

1.Gather the following supplies from a hardware or home improvement store: cloth or plastic sandbags, polyethylene sheeting, sand, a shovel and a wheelbarrow.
2.Plan to work with another person. One person should hold the bag while the other one fills it.
3.Fill the sandbag one-quarter to one-half full with sand. It should weigh about 40 lbs.
4.Fold the empty part of the bag over. Be sure that when you place the bag, the folded-over side is facing down, so that no water will seep in. If one bag leaks, the whole pile will be ruined.
5.Dig a trench around the area you want to protect. (The standard trench is usually 4 to 6 inches deep and 18 to 24 inches wide.)
6.Lay the polyethylene sheeting in the trench and secure it with several sandbags. The sandbags should be placed in the direction of the water flow, and there should be no space in between bags.
7.Complete one row before you begin the next.
8.Stagger the second row on top of the first (similar to the way that bricks are staggered in a wall). This system provides added protection.
9.Limit your stack to three layers of sandbags, since any more may not be sturdy.
10.Following the rainy season, empty the sand into your garden and save the bags for next year. 
Wait to place the sandbags until the rainy season is near, since the bags can deteriorate over an extended period of repeatedly getting wet and then drying.
Sandbags work best for filling in low areas of 2 feet or less.
In place of sand, consider filling the bags with cement to create a permanent dam.
Use soil if you do not have sand.   

How to Celebrate a Russian Christmas

1.Set up a "yelka," or Christmas tree, in your home and decorate it with colored lights and flowers.
2.Include a set of Russian nesting dolls in your decorations. These are famous and can be bought at local markets.
3.Plan to fast on Christmas Eve until the church service ends.
4.Prepare a modest meal without meat for Christmas Eve. Include "kutya," which is a porridge made of grains that symbolize immortality, and honey and poppy seeds to ensure happiness, success and peaceful rest.
5.Remind all your guests to partake from a common dish to signify your unity as a group.
6.Invite a priest to visit your home to sprinkle holy water in each room.
7.Gather in church on Christmas Day with family, friends and neighbors.
8.Plan a Christmas meal of goose and suckling pig.
9.Prepare for Grandfather Frost to deliver toys to your children on Christmas Day.
10.Expect Baboushka to bring more presents on Three Kings Day, which is celebrated on January 6 on the modern calendar. According to legend, she failed to give shelter to the three wise men who stopped at her home; now she roams the earth looking for the Christ Child and leaving gifts at people's homes. 
Tips: Remember that an important part of the holiday is the legend of St. Nicholas. Many boys in Russia are named after this saint, who is said to have performed miracles in the 11th century. 
Warnings: Russia is made up of many ethnic and cultural groups, so Christmas traditions are diverse and cannot be generalized. The preceding steps represent a few examples of local traditions that may or may not be appropriate for your personal celebration of Christmas.   

How to Choose Stocking Stuffers for College Students

1.Think of what a student can use: pens, a day planner or Palm device, a stapler, a calculator, a package of cool Post-it notes.
2.Choose things that you know he or she will use, such as a prepaid phone card, stamps, an address book, address labels and bookmarks.
3.Look for things that are fun like a Slinky, Pez dispenser, yo-yo, and gift certificates for CDs.
4.Consider items that will be handy, but aren't necessarily school-related: a pocketknife, a journal, a coffee mug warmer, a new wallet.
5.Go with a theme. Try several small picture frames, a camera and film. Or choose hair accessories, makeup brushes and perfume.
6.Try movie passes, video-rental coupons or gift certificates to online and offline merchants.
7.Find a magazine that is in the student's field of study and order a subscription.
8.Remember that video games are still an option - if you can afford it, get the student a new Sony Playstation 2 and he or she will have the most popular room in the dorm.
9.Stick a note in his or her stocking offering a night out on you.
10.Keep in mind that cash is always handy.   

How to Get Construction Financing

1.Locate and purchase a building site.
2.Purchase a house plan or have one custom-designed.
3.Find a builder and obtain a contract specifying the price for construction.
4.Inquire with your bank regarding a construction loan that could possibly roll over into a permanent mortgage upon completion of the house.
5.Check with mortgage companies - many offer hybrid loan packages for construction of custom homes.
6.Apply for the loan at your chosen lender.
7.Include a financial statement (filled out on the lender's form), blueprints, a survey of the lot, a construction budget and any other information of this type that the lender requests.
8.Request a construction advance schedule that matches your obligations to the builder so that you don't suffer cash-flow difficulties during construction. 
Tips: If your bank is not interested or competitive in providing your permanent loan, consider getting an up-front approval elsewhere. The existence of this "take-out" loan, ready to pay off the construction funding, may make it easier to arrange the financing or receive better terms. 
The fees can be significant on a construction loan. You may have to pay points, appraisal costs and even the bank's attorney fees. You'll also have to pay an inspection fee each time the bank makes an advance.
You may not be able to finance any portion of the land purchase. Many banks will lend the full construction amount, secured by the entire property (lot and house).
Construction loans are almost always variable rate loans, with the interest rate floating in response to market conditions.   

How to Buy a Garment Bag

1.Consider your needs. Some garment bags are made specially for suits, while others will hold a variety of garments, including folded shirts, underwear, sweaters and shoes.
2.Look for a bag with inside pockets for storing toiletries or other items.
3.Buy a garment bag that meets carry-on standards so that it can be taken on an airplane and stowed under the seat or in an overhead bin.
4.Choose a garment bag with a bifold or trifold design so that it can be folded into a manageable size for carrying. It should also have a sturdy handle for carrying in this position, or an attachable shoulder strap.
5.Get a bag that has wheels, or can ride "piggyback" on the handle of a larger wheeled suitcase.
6.Be sure the bag is made of strong, puncture-resistant material.
7.Make sure the bag has locks so it won't open when held upside-down, and sturdy zippers or clasps to close it all the way around.
8.Look for special features that help garments inside the bag resist wrinkles or bunching up.
9.Check the warranty. Fine (and expensive) garment bags should have a lifetime warranty. 
Expect to pay between $100 and $400 for a quality garment bag.
If you need hangers to fit in the garment bag, you can usually buy them separately at travel supply stores.