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Good Questions: Clean Recyclables, Itching & Seeing Stars

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(credit: CBS) Heather Brown
Heather Brown loves to put her innate curiosity to work to answer yo...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Cheri from Marshall wants to know: How much do you have to clean something you recycle?

Hennepin County spokesperson Angie Timmons says recyclables don’t require scrubbing or dishwasher treatment, but you should give it a quick rinse.

She says the dirty stuff will still get recycled, but cleaner things make the recycling facility more pleasant for the people who have to hand-sort.

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Margaret from Circle Pines asked: Why does scratching an itch feel good?

According to Dr. Elizabeth Farhat, a dermatologist at Allina Health Clinic, scratching causes the mast cells under our skin to release certain chemicals.

Among those chemicals are serotonin, which makes us happy. There are also prostaglandins, which increase blood flow to the area, and histamines — which have the side effect of making a person itch more.

That, she says, is why scratching sometimes stimulates more itching.

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And one of our viewers saw “stars” after she did a cartwheel. She wrote in to ask us why.

“The brain is surrounded by this fluid, so usually when you move your head around, the brain is cushioned,” said Allina Health Clinic ophthalmologist Dr. Keith Carlson. “But if you take a cartwheel or get hit in the head, the brain can actually touch the back part of the skull — and the brain interprets that as light. You see stars as twinkling.”

Dr. Carlson says some stars can be early signs of a concussion. But, in the case of cartwheels, they won’t hurt you at all.

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