Dear Heloise: Many people today are traveling for business, vacations and to visit family and friends. But what do you do when you need a doctor in a foreign country? — Laura S., Auburn, Wash.
Laura, your first call should be to the U.S. embassy (http://www.usembassy.gov), and I recommend having the phone number and address of the embassy with you for each country you plan to visit. The embassy can help you find a doctor or hospital, and even can contact family or friends on your behalf. Make sure the doctor you see can understand your language, and make a list of all medications you take. Have this information in your wallet for easy access.
It’s always best to be proactive with your health. Make sure you’re up to date with all vaccinations, have all of your medications with you, and carry a card with your blood type, any chronic illness you might suffer from and any allergies you have. Wear a medical-alert bracelet, especially if you have a serious medical condition. If you are traveling to a dangerous place, it’s wise to register with the American embassy in that country. — Heloise
Dear Heloise: I have empty, hard-plastic gum containers, about 5 or 6 inches tall, but I didn’t know what to do with them. Since they have attached lids that snap shut, I thought it was a shame to toss them out, so now I use them to pack trail mix or some type of dried fruit for my kid’s lunch. I’ve used them for “munchies” on a plane. These containers fit in a lunchbox or purse, and they can be washed and reused. — Claire M., Hanover Park, Ill.
Dear Heloise: Help. I have a beautiful white silk blouse that has perspiration stains. Can I use chlorine bleach to get the stains out? — Lola W., Melrose, Mass.
Lola, no, don’t use chlorine bleach on silk, as it ruins the fabric over time. First, pre-treat the stained area or soak with a product containing enzymes. Next, hand-wash with a mild soap and an oxygen bleach, if directions on the box say it’s safe for silk. — Heloise
Dear Heloise: I have a window garden and a compost bin. Is it OK to use pickle juice to irrigate my plants, or should I pour it onto the compost pile? — Cliff S., via email
Cliff, pour it on the compost pile. Pickle juice easily could burn the roots of delicate plants. — Heloise
Heloise is a syndicated columnist with King Features Syndicate, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio 78279-5000, fax 210-HELOISE.