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    With scores of air fresheners out there, you can have the messiest room in your home smelling like a tropical fruit stand or a misty rainforest. But all those seemingly pleasant scents may be bad for your health.

    Gels, candles, sprays plug-ins, and other household air fresheners could be masking far more serious problems than the stench of a carpet that’s been peed on by a pet or a couch that’s been doused in beer. They may also consist of harmful chemicals.

    Hugh Poole is a licensed home inspector who also does air-quality investigations, and he says that using air fresheners to conceal odours can be hazardous to your health.

    “You want to know that you’ve got mould,” says Poole, founder of CanInspect Building Inspections who’s on the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s list of trained indoor air quality investigators. “You want to know that something has died in your house. You want to smell those carpets—if they stink they may be unhealthy. You want to know that your roof

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  • Now Sarah, you have to stop eating Pop Rocks for dinner. (Thinkstock)Now Sarah, you have to stop eating Pop Rocks for dinner. (Thinkstock)

    Is there anything more important than your health? Your family doctor would argue there isn’t, but despite this well-known truism, many healthcare providers find their patients don’t take their own health as seriously as they should. We talked to a team of doctors at Discovery Family Health to find out what they wished patients would stop doing.

    1. Putting off booking preventative screening tests.
    When was the last time you had a pap test? Can’t remember? That’s a problem. Preventative screening tests are put in place to protect your health, but your family doctor can’t help you if you’re not coming in for your tests when you should. “By now most people should know the screening guidelines for things like breast cancer, cervical cancer, colon cancer,” says Dr. Alan Monavvari, a General Practitioner (GP) at Discovery Family Health. “It shouldn’t be an excuse these days to say ‘well, I didn’t do my pap test’ or ‘I didn’t go for a colonoscopy or do one of those stool kits.’ People should

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  • You might want to stick to a fan on those ultra-hot summer days (Thinkstock)You might want to stick to a fan on those ultra-hot summer days (Thinkstock)

    Recent record-breaking temperatures, heat waves and wildfires raging across much of the country have sent us fleeing inside to the cool, clear relief of the air conditioner. These refreshing fans go beyond helping us beat the heat; they are lifesavers for the elderly and infirm by not only keeping them cool, but by filtering out airborne pollutants that can drift in through open windows.

    “They do quite a bit to improve air quality and protect health during [excessive] heat and smog, and for wildfire smoke, which can affect breathing,” says Dr. Bonnie Henry, deputy provincial health officer for the B.C. Ministry of Health in Victoria. “Well-maintained A/Cs can filter out pollens and irritants as well as insects, and they can reduce the risk of dehydration.”

    But there’s another side to air conditioners that’s not so cool: Older, damaged or poorly-installed or maintained units in your home, car and workplace can become contaminated and potentially harmful, making you sick or exacerbating

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