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Common sense, anyone with common sense knows, is not necessarily common. Here are 10 life hacks that may seem obvious after you read them, but elude many, many people.
1. Don't cross the street while you are using a cell phone.
If you can walk and chew gum at the same time, you should be able to cross the street and use a cell phone at the same time, right?
No, you shouldn't. People who cross the street while using a cell phone are at risk for falls and collisions with other pedestrians and passing cars due to a phenomenon known as inattention blindness. When you walk and chew gum you are engaged in one thinking activity and one non-thinking activity. When you cross the street and use a cell phone you are performing two thinking activities, which can leave you oblivious to dangers all around you. If you use a cell phone while crossing an intersection your will either (1) take longer to cross the intersection, which exposes you to greater risk of accidents or (2) fail to notice objects in your way.
2. If you want to avoid getting hypothermia, stay dry, and out of the wind.
Well, that seems obvious, doesn't it? But every year several thousand people ignore the laws of thermodynamics and die of hypothermia. Here are some basics to keep in mind:
- Liquids transmit heat better than solids. Any kind of liquid on the surface of your body, including sweat or melted ice, drains your body of heat. If you possibly can, wear undergarments that wick moisture away from your skin.
- Heat is transferred more rapidly from a body in motion. If you get wet and cold, don't move around if you don't have to. The more you move, the colder you will get.
Never eat ice to fight dehydration if you can possibly avoid it. Phase changes, such as solid ice to liquid water or liquid water to water vapor, take large amounts of energy. If you eat ice, it's your body heat that will warm it up in your stomach. It's always better to drink melt water than to eat ice.
3. Don't take selfies in dangerous places.
In 2015, there were roughly 50 percent more deaths while taking selfies than there were deaths from shark attacks. Want to take a picture of yourself with that precipitous drop to the Grand Canyon at your back? Get a friend or a bystander to snap the photo? Don't take a selfie. Want a dramatic shot of yourself standing next to the minimal-containment tiger cage? Ditto. And you probably shouldn't take a selfie of yourself and an anaconda, either, although the last photo you take just may go viral.
4. Never underestimate the symptoms of a heart attack.
We all know the classic signs of a heart attack: Crushing chest pain, clutching at the chest or left arm, gasping for breath. However, a majority of women and many men don't have any of the classic signs of heart attack. Sometimes you might just feel like you were breathing through a sheet, or feel vaguely queasy like something was pressing down on your stomach, or maybe you are really, really tired. Don't skip going to the emergency room just because you don't have the symptoms you are "supposed" to have.