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Originally published September 1, 2013 at 5:30 AM | Page modified September 2, 2013 at 7:29 AM

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Detect bedbugs with do-it-yourself trap

People’s Pharmacy on bedbugs, cholesterol and nasal sprays

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Q: I am getting ready to move into a new apartment, but before I sign the lease, I want to test for bedbugs. I read about a homemade trap using dry ice to generate carbon dioxide. It is my understanding that bedbugs are attracted to this gas.

I’m having trouble finding dry ice. Is there any other way to generate carbon dioxide in a trap?

A: There is a new, relatively easy bedbug trap that relies on fermentation to create carbon dioxide. The description was published in the Journal of Economic Entomology (August 2013).

The researchers used the following formula:

• 2 tablespoons of baker’s yeast

• 10 tablespoons of table sugar

• 3 cups of warm water

Put the mixture in a 1-gallon plastic milk container (with the lid off). Set it on top of an upside-down dog-food dish. This dish needs to have the outer edge wrapped in paper surgical tape that is colored black. The inside needs to be lightly coated with a special nonstick product called Fluon from BioQuip (Insect-a-Slip). This keeps the bedbugs from escaping once they’re in the trap. To see a photo of the trap, go to www.PeoplesPharmacy.com.

Q: I have been on Crestor. It lowered my cholesterol very well, but my blood sugar went out of control. My HbA1c (a measure of blood sugar over time) went from 6.8 to 7.3 in just a short while. My fasting glucose in the morning went from around 120 to over 190. I stopped taking Crestor a few days ago, and my numbers are starting to drop. Is this a common side effect of Crestor?

A: Crestor and other statin-type cholesterol-lowering drugs (atorvastatin, lovastatin, pravastatin, simvastatin) can indeed raise blood sugar or even trigger diabetes in susceptible people. There are many other drugs that also can disrupt blood-sugar control, including diuretics (furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide), estrogen (Estrace, Premarin) and steroids (budesonide, prednisone).

Q: I was addicted to nasal sprays for five years. The ear, nose and throat specialist told me that there was nothing he could do. He said I had to go “cold turkey.”

A year later, my family doctor prescribed Nasonex nasal spray for allergies. This nasal steroid spray cured my dependence on decongestants in a few days.

A: Decongestant nasal sprays (like Afrin or Neo-Synephrine) come with a clear warning not to use them for more than three days. The trouble is, allergies usually last a lot longer, so people are tempted to overuse such products.

Rebound nasal congestion can make it very challenging to stop suddenly. People feel so congested because of blood-vessel dilation in nasal passages that they often resume use of the spray.

Nasonex nasal spray contains the corticosteroid mometasone. It and similar prescription products (beclomethasone, budesonide, fluticasone and triamcinolone) calm inflammation and can often make it easier to discontinue decongestant sprays.

In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them c/o King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St., 15th floor, New York, NY 10019, or via their website:www.peoplespharmacy.org

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