Tips for You, Your Home and Family
Ticks and Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is a bacterium that’s often carried by mice and other small rodents. The disease can be transmitted to humans if they’re bitten by a tick that previously fed off an infected animal.
Different types of ticks live in the United States and while some can transmit diseases, others are only a nuisance. In general, infected blacklegged ticks can transmit the bacterium that causes Lyme disease.
Symptoms of Lyme disease typically develop within two weeks of a tick bite and can include fevers, chills, swollen lymph nodes, neck stiffness, fatigue, headaches, and joint or muscle aches.
To avoid contracting Lyme disease, do the following:
- Wear light-colored clothing, including long-sleeved shirts and pants when in wooded areas. Tuck pant legs into socks or boots and keep long hair tied back.
- Wash your body and clothing after all outdoor activities.
- Look periodically for ticks if you’ve been outdoors, especially if you’ve been in wooded areas or gardens.
- Remove ticks within 24 hours to greatly reduce the risk of contracting Lyme disease.
- Check your pet’s coat if it’s been in an area known for ticks.
Remember to consult your health care provider as soon as you experience Lyme disease symptoms. If possible, send any ticks that you’ve removed to a public health laboratory in your area. Click here to learn more.
Keeping Mold Out of the Home
A mold problem in the home can cause serious health effects, especially for young children, the elderly, those who suffer from allergies or asthma, and those with prior respiratory conditions. Mold can cause eye irritation, nasal stuffiness, shortness of breath, wheezing and infections in the lungs.
Though most molds grow outdoors, they can get inside a home through open windows and doors, air conditioning systems, pets, clothing and shoes. Try these prevention tips to keep mold out of your home:
- Clean up any water damage or flooding thoroughly and immediately.
- Use a dehumidifier and a wet-dry vacuum to remove water quickly.
- Remove carpeting that can’t be dried out within 48 hours. If your carpet was contaminated by sewer water or a flood, it needs to be replaced.
- Repair basement cracks so that moisture can’t seep in.
- Use a dehumidifier or air conditioner to reduce indoor moisture, especially during humid months. Empty the drip pans in your air conditioner, refrigerator and dehumidifier on a regular basis to prevent water buildup.
- Fix plumbing leaks immediately. Mold will begin to grow within 24 to 48 hours after a leak forms.
Protecting Your Vehicle from Hail
Hail can strike anywhere and at any time, causing major damage to your vehicle. When a hailstorm occurs, take the following precautions to keep you and your vehicle safe:
- Don’t get out of your vehicle if you’re driving during a hailstorm. If you can pull over to the side of the road, do so safely.
- Park your car on an angle so that the hail hits the front of your car. This protects your side and rear windows, which aren’t made of reinforced glass.
- Find covered parking to protect your car, like a parking garage or awning. If you live in a hailstorm-prone area, it may be a good idea to purchase or build a covered parking solution for your home, like a metal canopy or garage.
- Use blankets or a hail car cover. These items can be very effective in protecting vehicles from damage, especially if you’re far away from shelter.
- Locate a body shop that you trust to make any necessary repairs. Discuss the extent of the damage with the body shop and your insurance broker.
Hotel Safety Tips
Hotels provide a home away from home whenever you travel. However, hotels aren’t always safe, and vacationers are at risk of things like break-ins, fires and natural disasters.
The following are some general hotel safety tips to keep in mind to protect yourself from a variety of risks:
- Check reviews for security concerns. Guest reviews can provide information on the area’s crime level and steps the hotel takes to protect guests.
- Use hotels that restrict access to guest floors.
- Check your room lock to confirm it’s working properly. Make sure that the door has a deadbolt and keep it locked whenever you’re in the room.
- Lock away valuable items you won’t be carrying with you in the room’s safe. This can include things like money, jewelry, laptops or other electronics.
- Be wary of people that come to the door claiming to be hotel staff.
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