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Dear Abby: When friends and family get together, the conversation often turns to the subject of health. They swap stories about the medications they may be taking and the lifestyle changes they’re making to improve their health. They look to each other for support and tips to get through the flu or a nasty case of food poisoning, and rely on each other’s experience to tackle challenges like quitting smoking, managing heart disease, diabetes, menopause or conquering insomnia.

To help your readers support their loved ones through these health issues and many more, the FDA’s Office of Women’s Health and the GSA’s Federal Citizen Information Center have created the free Friends and Family Health Kit. It contains more than 20 publications that are quick to read, easy to understand, and feature health care and prevention tips for women and their families.

Abby, thank you for letting your readers know about the Friends and Family Health Kit, and for sharing advice we can all use to better care for ourselves and for one another.

– Marsha Henderson, FDA Assistant Commissioner For Women’s Health

Dear Marsha: Your letter is timely because we are in the middle of Women’s Health Week, which runs through Saturday. I’m always glad to receive your health kits because they are constantly being updated to reflect the latest information.

This year’s health kits cover subjects that include recognizing health scams, preventing food poisoning, managing your medications from pregnancy to menopause, participating in clinical trials (which can be a lifesaver), controlling asthma, selecting a mammography facility, and staying safe with cosmetics and tattooing.

There is no charge for the Friends and Family Health Kits and they’re easy to order. Just send your name and address to Friends and Family Health Kit, Pueblo, CO 81009; go online to www.promotions.usa.gov/dearabby.html; or call: (888) 8PUEBLO – that’s (888) 878-3256 – 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays Eastern time. The publications can also be read online in PDF format, or be downloaded to your computer and printed out. Print supplies are limited, so don’t wait to order them.

Which way to wash?

Dear Abby: My roommate insists that undershirts should be washed right-side-out. I say as long as you’re using detergent and bleach, it doesn’t matter. Who is right?

– Mr. Clean in Oceanside, Calif.

Dear Mr. Clean: I don’t claim to be a domestic goddess, but I don’t think there is a right or wrong way to wash undershirts. I have heard, however, that washing garments inside out will prevent lint buildup on the outside, and in the case of denim, less fading.