Prevention of Lyme Disease

This is an excerpt from the article “Lyme Disease Facts”. For more information, please visit www.osha.gov.

Prevention of Lyme Disease

First line of defense is decreasing the probability of tick bites.1 Ticks can be vectors of other infections, in addition to Lyme disease.

– Avoidance of tick habitat (brushy, overgrown grassy, and woody areas) particularly in spring and early summer when young ticks feed.
– Removal of leaves, tall grass, and brush from areas around work areas or residential areas to decrease tick as well as host (deer and rodent) habitat.
– Application of tick-toxic chemicals to surrounding work or residential areas in accordance with federal, state, and local regulations and community standards.

Personal Protection

– Wearing light-colored clothing (to more easily see ticks).
– Wearing long-sleeved shirts, tucking pant legs into socks or boots (delays ticks from reaching skin so
they can be more easily found before attaching).
– Wearing high boots or closed shoes covering entire foot.
– Wearing a hat.
– Using appropriate insect repellants on non-facial skin and permeation on clothes (kills ticks) in accordance with Environmental Protection Agency guidelines.
– Showering and washing/drying clothes at high temperature after outdoor exposure.
– Doing a careful body check for ticks, prompt removal with tweezers and skin cleansing with antiseptic.

 
Workers at risk should be advised of the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease, as well as the primary and secondary preventive measures for this disease. Those who are at increased risk for Lyme disease should obtain medical advice regarding the applicability of the Lyme disease vaccine; those who have symptoms of suspected tick-borne infection should seek medical attention early. More detailed information regarding various aspects of Lyme disease prevention can be found on the CDC web site (www.cdc.gov)

11 Ways to Prepare Your Home for the Summer Heat – Part 6

This is an excerpt from the article “11 Ways to Prepare Your Home for the Summer Heat.” For more information, please visit http://charlesandhudson.com/green-building/tips/11-ways-to-prepare-your-home-for-summer-heat/

Consider changing your old thermostat to a programmable one. You can save up to $100 a year by using a new set-back thermostat. If your thermostat is really old and uses a mercury switch (a glass tube filed with yes, mercury, a silvery substance) call your local public works department to find out how to dispose of this toxic material.

Lyme Disease Facts

This is an excerpt from the article “Lyme Disease Facts”. For more information, please visit www.osha.gov.

OSHA has published a hazard information bulletin (HIB) to provide guidance to people who reside in high or moderate risk areas in the United States and who are exposed to ticks during the course of their work and thus at risk of contracting Lyme disease.*

* Examples of outdoor work which may be associated with increased risk of exposure to infected ticks include: construction work, landscaping, forestry, brush clearing, land surveying, farming, railroad work, oil field work, utility line work, and park/wildlife management. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed a national Lyme disease risk map in which CDC identified areas of the U.S. as minimal or no risk, low risk, moderate risk, or high risk for predicted Lyme disease. Areas at high or moderate risk include many counties in the Northeast U.S., some areas around the Great Lakes, and an area in Northern California. It is important that state and local health department authorities be consulted to determine risk in any given area, since risk can vary even within a county, and perhaps from year to year. Lyme disease is caused by Borrelia burgdorferi, a bacterium carried in the gut of certain ticks. When these infected ticks attach to the human body (often in armpits, groin, scalp, or other hairy, hidden body areas), they slowly feed, and within 36-48 hours they may transmit B. burgdorferi to their human host. Young ticks are especially abundant and are seeking hosts in late spring and early summer, although adult ticks can transmit infection as well. Note: This map demonstrates an approximate distribution of predicted Lyme disease risk in the United States. The true relative risk in any given county compared with other counties might differ from that shown here and might change from year to year.1 High risk Moderate risk Low risk Minimal or no risk

National Lyme disease risk map with four categories of risk

Although a majority of people with Lyme disease develop a “bulls-eye” rash, 20-40% of persons who have the disease do not have a rash. Other signs and symptoms may be non-specific and similar to flu symptoms (e.g., fever, lymph node swelling, neck stiffness, generalized fatigue, headaches, migrating joint aches, or muscle aches). Diagnosis is based on a history of known exposure and development of clinical signs and symptoms, with blood testing providing valuable supportive information. Most cases of Lyme disease can be successfully treated with antibiotics. It is very important that Lyme disease be diagnosed and treated with antibiotics, since untreated Lyme disease may result in symptoms (i.e., arthritis, muscle pain, heart disease, brain and nerve disorders) that are severe, chronic, and disabling.

11 Ways to Prepare Your Home for the Summer Heat – Part 5

This is an excerpt from the article “11 Ways to Prepare Your Home for the Summer Heat.” For more information, please visit http://charlesandhudson.com/green-building/tips/11-ways-to-prepare-your-home-for-summer-heat/

Your air ducts may need testing for leaks and then sealed. Your attic insulation probably has compacted, so you need to add an additional 5 to 8 inches. Your windows and doors and other parts of the building envelope may need caulking and weather-stripping. Think about solar window film to keep out the heat.

11 Ways to Prepare Your Home for the Summer Heat – Part 4

This is an excerpt from the article “11 Ways to Prepare Your Home for the Summer Heat.” For more information, please visit http://charlesandhudson.com/green-building/tips/11-ways-to-prepare-your-home-for-summer-heat/

If your air conditioner needs replacement do it before the hot weather hits so you’re not wilting because the heating & air-conditioning repair people are very busy. And more than likely, some other things around your home might need attention as well.

11 Ways to Prepare Your Home for the Summer Heat – Part 3

This is an excerpt from the article “11 Ways to Prepare Your Home for the Summer Heat.” For more information, please visit www.charlesandhudson.com

If your cooling system turns on, make sure it is putting out adequate cooling. If it’s not, and you can’t figure out the problem, call your heating and air-conditioning repair person. Set the thermostat at 78 degrees.

11 Ways to Prepare Your Home for the Summer Heat – Part 2

This is an excerpt from the article “11 Ways to Prepare Your Home for the Summer Heat.” For more information, please visit http://charlesandhudson.com/green-building/tips/11-ways-to-prepare-your-home-for-summer-heat/

Next change your thermostat over to “cool” and test the system by turning the temperature down. If the air conditioner does not turn on, first check to make sure no breakers are tripped.

If you can’t figure out the problem, call your heating and air-conditioning repair person. Calling early may keep you from making an “emergency” call when the temperatures are soaring and the repair people are super busy and expensive.

11 Ways to Prepare Your Home for the Summer Heat Part 1

This is an excerpt from the article “11 Ways to Prepare Your Home for the Summer Heat.” For more information, please visit http://charlesandhudson.com/green-building/tips/11-ways-to-prepare-your-home-for-summer-heat/

Summer is coming. Before it gets hot, you might want to check that you and the house are ready for the summer heat.

That means you start by checking your home’s heat and air-conditioning system.

1. To begin, change your filters in your heating/cooling system. Change them regularly – at least monthly.

Why You Shouldn’t Lower Your Home Insurance Coverage When Your Home Value Drops – How to Estimate Your Insurance Coverage

This is an excerpt from the article “Why You Shouldn’t Lower Your Home Insurance Coverage When Your Home Value Drops”. For more information, please visit http://homeinsurance.com/blog/2012/01/06/why-you-shouldnt-lower-your-home-insurance-coverage-when-your-home-value-drops/

How to estimate your insurance coverage:

1- For a rough estimate on how much dwelling coverage your home may need you can use an estimator such as this home insurance calculator. It will use average construction costs in your area and the square footage of your home to provide an approximate coverage for your home. This tool only provides an estimate on coverage and should not be used as a true figure when purchasing a policy.

2- For a more exact idea about how much dwelling coverage you need, you should talk to a licensed homeowners insurance agent. They will ask you about the various features of your home including building style, building materials, finished square footage, etc. to give you an estimated replacement value for your property.

3- Last but not least, make sure to review the coverage listed in your policy at least once a year or anytime you make any updates or significant renovations to your home. It’s important to do this as building costs can inflate and the replacement cost of your home may increase when you perform renovations and additions.

Why You Shouldn’t Lower Your Home Insurance Coverage When Your Home Value Drops

This is an excerpt from the article “Why You Shouldn’t Lower Your Home Insurance Coverage When Your Home Value Drops”. For more information, please visit http://homeinsurance.com/blog/2012/01/06/why-you-shouldnt-lower-your-home-insurance-coverage-when-your-home-value-drops/

It’s a really common mistake and one that can cost a homeowner a ton of money in the event of a total loss to their home. Homeowners across the country see their property values dropping and assume that it’s a good time to lower their home insurance coverage. The problem with this is that your insurance covers the replacement cost of your home NOT the market value.

The replacement cost and the market value of your home are two very different things. The market value of your home is the price it would sell for in the current real estate market and includes the value of the land that the home sits on. On the other hand, the replacement cost of your home only includes the structure of your home (no land) and is calculated based on current construction rates in your area (amongst other things).

This misconception is even more dangerous now because while home values have dropped significantly over the past few years, construction costs have increased. This has many homeowners believing they are adequately insured while they are actually under-insured.