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    Spooky vs. Scary: Health Tips for Halloween

    Spooky vs. Scary: Health Tips for Halloween

    Spooky vs. Scary: Health Tips for Halloween

    Ah, to be a kid again. Specifically, a kid at Halloween time.

    Remember when it was still socially acceptable to show up at your neighbor’s house — in a mask, no less — and demand a sweet or snack? Those were the gory glory days. Sure, your mom made you cover up most of your costume with a jacket, but it was a small price to pay to spend the night patrolling the streets in disguise.As adults, we get chills from a different sort of scare. So in honor of this spooky season, we’re breaking down what spooked you as a kid — and what should scare you as an adult.

    Vampires. These enemies of the sun — with their glistening skin, terrifyingly good looks (hellooo, Edward Cullen) and extremely odd appetites — are enough to keep anyone up at night. Except other vampires, of course.  Melanoma. We may not agree with their dietary restrictions, but vampires do have one thing right. Avoiding direct sun exposure, and wearing sunscreen when you can’t, is a great way to avoid preventable skin cancers like melanoma. Although melanoma accounts for about 1% of all skin cancers diagnosed in the United States, it causes the majority of the skin cancer deaths. Now that’s scary.
    Frankenstein. He’s unpredictable, inarticulate and he’s definitely sporting some kind of skin condition. Frankenstein is the stiffest dude at the party.  Moles. A green tinge is unlikely to affect any of us anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be paying careful attention to the state of our skin. Any evolving freckles or uneven pigmentation should be enough to scare you to the dermatologist.
    Cyclops. With one enormous eye, an unflinching stare and an occasional taste for sailors, Cyclops is no gentle giant. Corneal ulcer. What’s even scarier than a man-eating giant with no depth perception? The type of rapid infection you can get from prolonged contact use. Remember to take your contacts out to sleep, even if they’re approved for overnight use. And don’t skip your annual eye exam. 
    Monsters hiding under the bed. It’s the most common fear in the world — that sense that something might be lurking just underneath your bed skirt. Whether you slept with the blankets pulled around your face until you were 10 or until this very day, nothing is spookier than imagining what’s hiding in dark spaces. Hidden cavities. Much like that hidden monster, cavities can easily lurk undetected. And if left untreated, they can lead to scary consequences like root canals or even tooth loss. The best way to head off an icky outcome is to see your dentist twice a year for a routine checkup.
    Skeletons. Nobody likes to think too hard about what’s under their skin. And when it’s coupled with a full moon, a dark night and a general aura of horror, there’s nothing spookier than a bunch of bones grinning in the night. Osteoporosis. Bones can be spooky, but unhealthy bones can get scary. Osteoporosis weakens bones by making them porous, and drastically increases the risk of breakage from a fall or, in severe cases, something as simple as sneezing. Luckily, taking care of your own skeleton is as simple as a balanced diet with plenty of calcium and a good multivitamin.

    What should send shivers down your spine and what should send you to the doctor’s office? Only you can decide. But while these ghoulish comparisons are perfect for Halloween, they’re actually health tips that apply year-round. Let this be the reminder you need to schedule your regular checkups!