Dear Readers: You've probably heard the acronym PPE a lot lately. Let's take a closer look. PPE, or personal protective equipment, helps keep cleaning crews, medical professionals and food service workers, among many others, safe from getting hurt or coming in contact with dangerous fluids, chemicals and particulates when cleaning, working or serving other people.

PPE can include disposable gloves, gowns, nose-and-mouth masks, shoe coverings, face shields, gas masks, steel-toed boots and hard hats, among other items. Employers may require the use of PPE, especially in these times of COVID-19. Personal protective equipment is always a good idea to keep a worker safe when dealing with potentially dangerous materials.

The coronavirus is spread primarily through coughing (respiratory) events, so face masks are a good choice. Most general merchandise stores sell some kind of PPE. — Heloise

Tech Tuesday scam alert

Dear Readers: When a tragic event occurs, be alert and get ready for the scammers. Unfortunately, although many of us want to step up and help during a crisis, there are those who use this as an opportunity to take advantage of our fear and prey upon the weak.

During this coronavirus pandemic, you may receive text messages seemingly from a government agency. No branch of the government communicates with citizens via text message. One phony text claims to come from the Department of Health and Human Services stating you must take "a mandatory online COVID-19 test." Don't fall for it. There is no online test for the coronavirus. This group of scammers is phishing for your personal information.

Also, very important, never obey a request to "opt out" of future texts from these scammers by texting back "NO" or "STOP." You are only confirming your phone number is a valid one. — Heloise

Freshen up

Dear Heloise: I rub a new dryer sheet on my couches and chairs to freshen them up and make the room smell nice. I also put one under the seat in my car. It works better than the store-bought auto fresheners. — Louise in Arkansas

Summer handbag

Dear Readers: It's summer — what's your favorite style of handbag right now? A big tote to throw everything into, a sleek crossbody for just the basics or a top handle for a happy medium? Let us know: Heloise@Heloise.com. — Heloise

Not-so-easy open

Dear Heloise: With my arthritic hands I have found it hard to open some of the prescription bottles from my pharmacy. So, I told them my difficulties and they said that they would provide me with easy-to-open bottles instead of the child-proof ones I had been receiving. It's so much easier on my fingers now. — Martha in Virginia

The eyes have it

Dear Heloise: Eyeliner can work as a lip liner too. These days, eyeliner comes in many different colors.

I apply, blot and then fill in with lip color, and over the lined part. Lips look larger! — Karen in Colorado

Send a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5001, or you can fax it to 1-210-HELOISE or email it to Heloise@Heloise.com.

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