Here's a look at what medical journals are saying:

Domestic abuse

One of five women treated at U.S. Emergency rooms is a victim of domestic violence, most female patients are never questioned about their experience of abuse by ER staff.

A Rhode Island study found that 46 percent of the women studies reported that they had suffered from abuse at some point during their lives, while 10 percent reported recent physical or sexual abuse. Eighty-one percent of the women with a past history of abuse said that they had never been screened by a health-care provider for abuse. Seventy-one percent of women suffering from more recent abuse had never been asked about such a possibility by a doctor or nurse.

Source: "Obstetrics & Gynecology" (1998;91:511-514)

Hot-air balloon crashes

Hot-air ballooning's popularity is rising, but so are injuries and deaths, primarily from pilot error and hitting power lines.

Between 1964 and 1995, Dr. Clayton Cowl of the Mayo Clinic found 384 serious injuries and 92 deaths from a total of 495 hot-air balloon crashes. Pilot error contributed to 85 percent of the crashes.

Dr. Cowl found that while fatalities from hot-air balloon crashes has decreased, the percentage of crashes with either serious injury or death has increased. Collision with power lines accounted for 27 percent of crashes, including 44 percent of the deaths.

Source: "The Journal of the American Medical Association" (1998;279:1011-1014)

Clean out medicine cabinet

Throw out these items you don't need:

- Perscription drugs you didn't use up. Many are out of date and have lost their effectiveness due to age or exposure to humidity, heat or sunlight. Flush them down the toilet.

- Iodine, merthiolate, mercurochrome are actually not effective disinfectants and can injure the skin under a tight bandage. They dry out the injured tissue and increase healing time.

- Hydrogen peroxide, an old standby for "cleansing" can actually damage the skin and retard healing. It's also a poor disinfectant. Water and soap are better for cleaning wounds.

What to keep:

- Tweezers for removing ticks and slivers from a wound.

- Bandages of assorted sizes, guage dressings and adhesive tape.

- Over-the-counter pain relievers (aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen).

- Antacid, especially one with calcium such as Tums or Rolaids.

- Remedy for mild diarrhea such as Pepto-Bismol.

- Calamine lotion for soothing insect bites or poison ivy rashes.

- A thermometer to measure fever.

Source: "UC Berkeley Wellness Letter."

Dogs most likely to bite

According to a 1994 CDC study of biting incidents, German shepherds and chow chows, followed by collies and akitas have the highest biting rates. Pit bull terriers were not included in this study since there weren't enough of them.

Other studies have implicated different breeds. Experts advise not focusing on various breeds as "safe" or "unsafe." Any dog can bite - even a dog that "wouldn't hurt a flea." A Denver study found that three out of four biting dogs were male, most of them unneutered. Biters were also likely to live in a house with children and be chained in a yard. Most attacks are made by a neighbor's dog, not the family dog or strays. In many cases, a person provoked the dog - approaching it too quickly, teasing it or punishing it.

Source: "UC Berkeley Wellness Letter".

Tetanus shot for puncture wound

Assuming you have had a series of tetanus immunization shots, no immediate tetanus booster is needed for most wounds if they are clean. If unsure about your booster history, a tetanus booster should be obtained as soon as is practical within the next 24 hours.

While tetanus deaths are rare in the United States, the potential always exists. Thirty-six cases were reported in 1994.

Source: "UT Lifetime Health Letter."