If you’re tooling down a tree-lined road, it makes little difference. But if you’re on a congested freeway or city block, air-conditioning can actually be better for your health—in the short term, anyway.

Hawaii Air Conditioning Inc
(808) 345-4840
71 1490 Puu Kamanu Ln 64
Hilo, HI
Hilo Mechanical Inc
(808) 961-3882
50 Holomua St
Hilo, HI
Carrier Corporation
(808) 933-2653
161 Kinoole St
Hilo, HI
Hawaii Air and Water Filter Co
(808) 521-1300
1717 Mott-Smith Dr # 3409 Honolulu
Honolulu, HI
A/C Warehouse Inc
(808) 545-3084
670 Auahi St Ste I10 Honolulu
Honolulu, HI
Aircond Hawaii Inc
(808) 961-4738
500 Kalanianaole Ave
Hilo, HI
Heide & Cook Ltd
(808) 935-3231
11 Pookela St
Hilo, HI
PurAir Hawaii II
(808) 206-7338
833 Ailaniwai Street
Honolulu, HI
Monday 8:00 AM - 4:15 PM
Tuesday 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
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Thursday 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
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Hawaii Air Fix
(808) 396-8221
Honolulu, HI
Cornerstone Air Cond Inc
(808) 847-3639
1318d Hart St Honolulu
Honolulu, HI

Housecalls—Fresh Air vs. Air-Conditioning, Sprout Safety, and Probiotic Protection

Provided by: 

To AC or Not to AC?

Q Is it healthier to use the air-conditioning in my car or to keep the windows open?

If you’re tooling down a tree-lined road, it makes little difference. But if you’re on a congested freeway or city block, air-conditioning can actually be better for your health—in the short term, anyway. In the first comprehensive study on the topic, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) found that using the air conditioner cut the level of particulate air pollution in the car by 20 to 40 percent. “That’s significant,” says Gennet Paauwe, CARB spokeswoman, “considering that your commute-time exposure is probably the largest dosage of pollutants you get all day.”

But before you start blasting that icy air, keep in mind that every time you turn on the air conditioner, the wild blue yonder gets saddled with more pollutants, which end up in the air we all breathe. And if your cooling system is at all leaky—a common problem—it emits either ozone-depleting or greenhouse gases. Even when it’s running perfectly, your car’s engine has to work harder, reducing its fuel efficiency and letting more gasoline than usual evaporate into the air.

The best all-round solution? Carpooling. The CARB study found 30 to 60 percent less pollution in the carpool lane compared to other lanes, due to greater space between cars and greater distance from those diesel beasts in the slow lane.

A Sprouting Concern

Q Are sprouts dangerous to eat?

A Ironically enough, this quintessential health food is a bit risky. The warm, moist conditions used for growing sprouts make them particularly vulnerable to bacteria, says Luke LaBorde, a food safety expert at Penn State University. In 1999, the FDA put out an advisory urging that children, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems shun sprouts completely.

Your best bet is to thoroughly cook your sprouts to kill off any nasty bugs that might have sprung up. There’s another tactic that can cut risk, too, though it may sound a bit extreme: Dilute one capful of Clorox in a gallon of purified or distilled water and soak the sprouts for a few minutes. Follow with a thorough rinsing in additional distilled or filtered water.

To keep things in perspective, consider that sprouts make up a very small percentage of most people’s diets—a handful in a salad or sandwich now and then—so you’re still more likely to get sick from eating seafood, say, or poultry.

Banish Travel Belly

Q Can probiotics protect me from stomach trouble on my vacation overseas?

A A few studies have shown that these “friendly” bacteria can prevent Montezuma’s revenge at least some of the time. And in a recent survey of published studies, the Cochrane Library found that taking probiotics reduced the length of any given bout.

Picking a product is the tricky part. Many strains don’t make it past the
acid bath of the stomach, says Stanford University pediatrician Alan Greene, founder of the online health site drgreene.com. (O...

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