Dear Readers: Suspect a STROKE? Act F.A.S.T. The National Stroke Association ( suggests looking for these danger signs:

F. (FACE): A droopy face when smiling.

A. (ARMS): Inability to raise both arms at the same time, and with equal height.

S. (SPEECH): Slurred or garbled speech when reciting a simple phrase or song.  

T. (TIME): Call 911 immediately if you observe ANY of these symptoms; note the time the symptoms first appeared.

What is a stroke? A stroke can occur when blood flow is cut off to the brain, or when a damaged blood vessel in the brain bursts. Ask your health care provider for more information on strokes. - Heloise


Dear Heloise: My friends and I were wondering: Why do most coins have ridges on the sides? - Regan W., age 10, in Virginia

Regan, Virginia is one of my old stomping grounds!
Coins have ridges (also called “reeded edges”) for a couple of reasons. When coins were first made (many, many years ago), they were composed of real silver and copper. Unscrupulous people could shave down an unridged coin, collect the shavings and sell them. Nickels and pennies are made of less desirable metals, so no ridges. The ridges also make the coins harder to copy (counterfeit). Thanks for your letter! - Heloise


Dear Heloise: I’ve heard that a clean car is more aerodynamic than a dirty car. Is this true? - Becky D. in Ohio

Becky, yes, it’s true. Dirt on the car creates drag, which “grabs onto” the car and slows it. In one experiment, a dirty car got 24 miles to the gallon, and when the same car was cleaned, it got 26 mpg. The air flows more easily over a clean car.

And don’t worry: Many car washes today have a high-pressure wash, which uses less water and is more friendly to the environment. - Heloise

Dear Heloise: I ALWAYS remove my eye makeup before I go to bed. It can flake off and actually damage the cornea. I keep makeup wipes on my nightstand. - Sarah P. in Texas 


Dear Heloise: A friend of mine used to call getting together with her older friends “getting together for an organ recital.” 

Real or imagined organ issues were always the main topic of conversation! - Sandra F., San Pedro, Calif.

Should children get a break?

Dear Readers: Today’s SOUND OFF is about tax deductions. - Heloise

“Dear Heloise: Why are there tax deductions for children? I love kids, but I find it blatantly unfair that people with children get tax deductions for having them, and child care tax credits, too. I realize that at one point it was designed to help parents pay for the costs of raising a child, but in an overcrowded world, should we really be encouraging people to have more than one child? Cutting out the deductions for children would give the government more money to work with and create a much more impartial tax system.” - Roger K., Falmouth, Mass.


Dear Readers: Here are some uses for leftover bread:

• Cube bread and bake for inexpensive croutons.

• Make into breadsticks by cutting into strips, then brushing with butter or olive oil and sprinkling with seasonings. Bake until crispy.

• Cube bread into very small pieces and use as a topping for casseroles. - Heloise


Dear Heloise: I’m getting ready to do my spring-cleaning, but my biggest problem involves my windows. I always make a streaky mess out of them. Do you have any hints for clean and clear windows? - Julia Y., Ellicott City, Md.

Julia, this is an easy one. Mix 1 cup of white vinegar with 1/2 gallon of water, then put the solution in a clean spray bottle. Spray the window liberally. Dry with crumpled newspaper. If you like this easy and inexpensive solution, you’ll enjoy my six-page vinegar pamphlet that includes dozens of hints, from cleaning and deodorizing things like aluminum pots to removing pesticides from veggies. To receive a copy, order it at, or send $5, along with a stamped (70 cents), self-addressed, long envelope, to: Heloise/Vinegar, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. FYI: Though there are many types of vinegar, including balsamic, wine, malt and apple cider, white vinegar is the cheapest and the best type used for cleaning. - Heloise


Dear Heloise: When I recently went into the hospital, friends would call and ask what I needed. I said I’d love any travel brochures they could lay their hands on. This kept my mind off my impending surgery and helped me plan for my next trip. I liked it better than reading magazines that feature movie stars. - Patricia D., Great Falls, Mont.

Patricia, what a great idea! You can lie back and visualize yourself on your next adventure. It helps you make plans and takes you out of the hospital atmosphere. - Heloise

(c)2019 by King Features Syndicate Inc.