News From Our Blog

Keep your home free of summer pests without pesticides

Summer temperatures can be pleasant, but the warm weather is also attractive to insects and rodents.

This is the time of year when ants, roaches, mice and other pests make their way into your home, especially if they find the right living conditions. All they really need to get comfortable is water, food and a place where they can hide or reproduce.

You can fight these pests without pesticides if you follow these suggestions:

Restrict access to food sources

  • Tightly close any food packaging, like boxes and bags of cookies, chips, cereals or candy, so that ants or roaches can’t get in.
  • Store items such as flour, sugar, rice or pasta in airtight bags or plastic containers.
  • Clean any food spills or stains off the countertop, floor, and other areas throughout the kitchen.
  • Do not let crumbs sit in pet dishes, as this can attract cockroaches, ants or rodents.
  • Remember to take out the kitchen trash frequently, preferably every night.

Limit access to sources of water or liquids

  • Try not to leave water drops or other liquids in the kitchen or anywhere else around the house. Roaches can’t live more than a week without water.
  • Wash and dry your dishes immediately after each meal.
  • Repair leaky faucets or pipes in the bathroom, kitchen, backyard and any other area of the house.
  • When gardening or watering plants, don’t leave puddles or excess water. Standing water encourages mosquito reproduction.
  • Open the bathroom window after bathing to clear out the steam; these tiny drops are drinking sources for cockroaches and other insects.

Limit entry access to your home

  • Seal cracks around pipes, doors and windows to stop insects from getting inside.
  • Repair holes or tears on screen doors and windows.
  • Close off the spaces underneath doors.
  • Before coming home from a shopping trip, make sure there are no roaches hiding inside bags or grocery boxes.
  • Throw away or recycle unwanted boxes or wrappers.

Put mouse traps inside and outside the home in areas where children or pets can’t access.

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How to Treat Pollen Allergies in the Summer

Pollen is the main trigger of allergies in the summer. Pollen allergies can cause sneezing, nasal congestion, coughing and itchiness in the nose, eyes and throat.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, about 35 million Americans suffer from pollen allergy, commonly known as hay fever.

Follow these tips to prevent or treat this type of allergies.

Allergy prevention

  • Limit your outdoor activities in the mornings, a time when pollen levels are at their highest.
  • Take a shower and change clothes at home if you were outdoors. This will help clear out any pollen left on your hair, body and clothing.
  • Avoid hanging your clothes to dry outdoors.
  • Keep your home and car windows closed on sunny, windy days. If possible, use air conditioning.
  • Avoid mowing the lawn or sweeping the deck or patio too often.

Allergy medicine

Certain medicines may help alleviate symptoms of allergies or allergic rhinitis. Talk to your doctor about the right allergy medications for you. 

Some common allergy medications include:

  • Nasal and oral decongestants
  • Antihistamines in pill, syrup, or drop form
  • Nasal sprays, with or without corticosteroid

Allergy tests

If your symptoms are too difficult to manage with medication, your doctor can perform a skin allergy test to get a more accurate diagnosis. Based on the results, the doctor will prescribe the proper course of treatment.

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How to Prepare for Hurricane Season

The Atlantic hurricane season begins each year on June 1 and ends on November 30.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, more than 35 million people live in areas that can be affected by hurricanes.

The strong winds, heavy rains and flooding that go along with hurricanes can cause serious damage to property and endanger lives. Being informed about what to do before, during and after a hurricane can help you and your family stay safe and prevent property damage.

Before and during the storm

  • Be aware of any emergency alert signals issued by authorities
  • Get to know the evacuation routes and emergency procedures of the places you and your family frequent, such as school or your office building
  • Identify the most secure places in your home, which can be a room with few windows, a hallway or a basement
  • Find evacuation and emergency shelters for your neighborhood
  • Put together an emergency supply kit
  • Use shutters to cover your house’s windows
  • Make sure blinds and windows are closed

In case of an evacuation

  • Tune your radio to NOAA’s National Weather Service to know what to do and where to go
  • If you are away from your family, make a plan where to meet once the hurricane passes
  • Shut windows and doors and unplug any electrical appliances before leaving the house
  • Pack a bag with clothes, medicine, important documents, cash and your emergency kit
  • Drive only on roads that have been approved by officials and avoid taking shortcuts that could be hazardous

Returning home

  • Return home only when authorities say the danger has passed
  • Don’t walk or drive in flooded areas or unstable structures, such as bridges or alternate routes
  • Check the area outside your house before going in, as there could be loose power lines or other dangerous objects that aren’t immediately visible
  • Do not go inside if you smell gas or if there are signs of any flooding or fire as the home’s structure may be weakened
  • Take photos of any damaged areas to use when filing a claim with your insurance company

Resources

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Great Natural Areas to Explore With Family

A good way to connect with your family is to leave behind the work and school routines. If your family has days off or a free weekend, consider planning a road trip to explore new places.

All throughout the United States there are recreation areas that offer a wide variety of activities for everyone. Below you will find some ideal places for enjoying what nature has to offer:

Boulder Creek, California

Location: This spot is in the northern Sierra Nevada Mountains, northeast of San Francisco.

Features: It has everything nature lovers would want, such as beautiful lakes, streams and mountains, as well as prairies surrounded by plants and animals.

Activities: It is a place where you can swim, fish, ride a boat or kayak, mountain bike and camp.

Alley Creek Camp, Texas

Location: On the edge of Lake O ‘the Pines, east of Dallas and near the towns of Jefferson and Marshall.

Features: There’s a magnificent lake surrounded by pine trees and the region’s native flora and fauna. The lake is a result of the construction of a dam, but now it’s considered an oasis of outdoor recreation.

Activities: Families can enjoy camping, swimming, hunting, fishing, boat rides, or hiking along trails and exploring nature.

Buck Lake, Florida

Location: This recreational area is located in Ocala National Forest.

Features: The Buck Lake area has the second longest forest in the state of Florida, and more than 600 lakes, rivers and springs that are popular tourist attractions.

Activities: This site offers a variety of ways to enjoy the open air, including fishing, boat rides, camping, picnics, hiking and more.

Camp Gateway, New York

Location: Situated at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, this park is a great natural space within the urban environment of New York City.

Features: The area’s meadows, trees, sand dunes, lagoons and beaches attract many tourists year-round.

Activities: You can choose among hiking, fishing, biking or camping. There are also guided tours and other programs available.

Apache Trout Campground, Arizona

Location: This spot is east of Phoenix, near the New Mexico border.

Features: Wide open spaces, pine forests, mountain scenery and Big Lake are all ideal for relaxation.

Activities: This is a good spot for outdoor activities like trout fishing, hiking, mountain biking, picnics and camping.

Note: The activities at these recreation parks vary depending on the time of year and season.

Use the search guide in Recreation.gov to find other activities and recreational areas.

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Motherhood Begins Before Pregnancy

Being a mother involves major responsibilities and love. That’s why it’s important to take steps before, during and after pregnancy.

If you’re thinking about becoming pregnant, consider the following:

1. Plan your pregnancy

  • If you have doubts about pregnancy and motherhood, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a section titled My Reproductive Life Plan that provides a series of tips to help you.

  • Discuss your plans with your primary care doctor and get a referral to an obstetrician, gynecologist or midwife.

  • Keep a copy of your medical history. That way any doctor will have a record of any health issue that may affect your pregnancy.

  • Be sure to maintain a healthy lifestyle to contribute to your baby’s health 

2. Take care of yourself during pregnancy

  • Perform all the necessary prenatal tests that your doctor orders. This is the best way to prevent complications during and after childbirth.

  • During the third trimester the visits to the doctor will be more frequent. Tell your doctor about any issues or complications related to your pregnancy.

  • Choose where you want to give birth. You can have your baby in a traditional hospital or in a maternity clinic, or even have a home birth where legally allowed. Check what options are available to you under your health insurance.

3. After giving birth

  • Know the benefits of breastfeeding, like health advantages for mom and baby, saving money, and losing weight gained during pregnancy. Breast milk is also easier to digest and provides your baby with your body’s natural defenses.

  • Be sure to rest. After giving birth, make it a point to rest so that your body can heal and your mind can adjust to all the changes. Limit the number of visitors during the first few days after childbirth. Use this time to strengthen the bond with your newborn.

  • Be prepared for changes. Some women could have physical changes after childbirth. Your doctor can provide a safe exercise routine to get you back into shape.

  • Ask your doctor how much recovery time your body needs before you can have intimate relations with your partner.

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