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YOU know summer is here when you're melting into the back seat of a stifling cab or you're crammed onto a subway car full of perspiring passengers - some of whom think deodorant is optional.

Here, some tips on keeping body odor at bay from Dr. John Atkinson, professor of neurosurgery at the Mayo Clinic.

* Go for the combo: Use an antiperspirant with a deodorant. As the name implies, deodorants battle odor - not sweat. Antiperspirants block your sweat ducts with aluminum salts. And no, there's no hard evidence that antiperspirants cause breast cancer.

* Go natural: Choose clothes made from natural materials - not synthetic, which stifles your skin. Cotton socks can absorb moisture from sweaty feet, while leather shoes let your toes breathe.

* Air out your shoes: Shoes won't dry completely overnight, so don't wear the same pair two days in a row. Go barefoot when you're at home. And when you're at your desk, try to slip out of your shoes every once in a while.

* Watch what you eat: Certain foods with strong scents such as garlic and onions can cause your perspiration to smell even worse.

* Pop a mint: Think it of as a Tic Tac for your body. The all-natural Body Mint, which contains a derivative of chlorophyll, is said to tame bad breath, underarm and foot odor. You can find it at most major drug stores.

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