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5 Tips on Taking Care of Your Heart

- Tuesday, September 29, 2020
Lallis & Higgins Insurance, Quincy, Weymouth, MA

Your heart is the powerhouse to your whole body—that’s why it’s important to provide it with the attention and care it needs.

When you care for your heart, your entire body benefits. When your heart is healthy, all aspects of your physical health will be too. A healthy heart means a better quality of life and allows us to function at our best.

Today is World Heart Day! Check out these five effective ways to improve and maintain heart health:

1. Eat the right things

Consuming the vitamins and minerals your heart needs provides the foundation for a healthy heart. Foods that support heart health by reducing cholesterol, lowering blood pressure, and reducing inflammation include:

  • Oats and barley
  • Fatty fish
  • Dark leafy greens
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Beets
  • Avocados
  • Olive oil
  • Legumes
  • Low-fat dairy

Sodium is a silent but harmful ingredient in most processed foods—the average American gets about 80% of their daily salt intake from these alone. By limiting the amount of processed foods you consume, you may be able to eliminate excess sodium from your diet.

Looking for an alternative to salt to flavor your foods? Try adding a bit lemon, vinegar, or different herbs. This adds flavor without the negative effects of sodium.

2. Get enough sleep

Not getting enough sleep puts you at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease—regardless of age, weight, smoking, and exercise habits. Sleeping too little changes the way our body functions and can affect blood pressure. This also goes the other way—too much sleep can also negatively impact heart health. Make sure to get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep every night, and you’ll be on track for supporting better heart health.

3. Exercise daily

Three types of exercise are vital to heart health: aerobic, resistance, and flexibility (think running, strength training, and yoga, for example). By varying the type of exercises that are performed every day, you can strengthen and train the heart in different ways. Get the minimum of 30 minutes a day of movement to get your heart pumping.

4. Stop smoking

Smoking—with all of its negative side effects—is detrimental to heart health and is the cause of many diseases. In the U.S. alone, smoking kills the equivalent of three crashed jumbo jets every day. By simply quitting smoking or avoiding it altogether, you’re saving your heart from almost inevitable complications.

5. Manage stress

We all have busy lives and stress is inevitable. While we can’t avoid it entirely, we can make attempts to manage stress in a healthy way. Take a yoga class, set aside 30 minutes of “me” time, or practice deep breathing. A little goes a long way in time and stress management. Small steps like these each day can lead to big strides toward better heart health.


Preventing Slips and Falls at Home

- Tuesday, September 22, 2020

While installing support rails, fixing broken steps and securing lifted corners of the carpet are all excellent ways to prevent falls, there also are some VERY simple things you can do in your own home in an instant to make you less susceptible to injury. Surprisingly, falling is the second leading cause of accidental or unintentional injury deaths worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. Adults over 65 and young children are the most vulnerable to injury from a fall, but prevention is a good idea for any age.

Here's our top 10 list of very simple things to do to prevent injury from a slip and fall. When we say SIMPLE, we mean it. You can do any and all of these things immediately to have a big impact on safety in your home:

  • Secure and remove cords out of walkways and traffic areas.
  • Use non-skid mats on floor rugs or remove floor rugs altogether.
  • If the shower or tub is slippery, put a non-slip bath mat on the floor.
  • Use a nightlight.
  • Never stand on an unsecure chair, table or anything with wheels.
  • Clean up spills right away.
  • Keep traffic areas clear. Pick up things that are lying on the floor like books, towels, shoes, blankets. Secure and remove cords out of walkways.
  • Wear sensible shoes, even indoors. Yes, there's a higher chance you will slip and fall in those high heels! Be extra alert if you wear flip flops, loose slippers or shoes with slick soles.
  • Exercise helps. Improving strength and balance makes falling much less likely.
  • Check medication side effects for drowsiness or dizziness.

These solutions are easy and relatively inexpensive. There are several great resources online to make your home even more secure and you can even request professional help. For folks over 65, people with health issues or for those that are caring for someone who is susceptible to a slip and fall, it might be a good idea to go the extra length and make your home secure. Home improvement solutions may cost more, but independence might be the smartest investment you could consider.

Signs of Home Water Damage

- Monday, September 14, 2020
Lallis & Higgins Insurance, Weymouth, Quincy, MA

Today's well-built, well-insulated homes can trap excess moisture and condensation inside, especially if you have inadequate ventilation. Obviously a dripping pipe can cause water damage inside your home. To find problems before they cause damage, here are some tips.

Recognize the signs

  • musty odors
  • rusty stains around light fixtures
  • damp, sticky floors
  • mildew along ceiling, wall and baseboard edges
  • dripping pipes
  • condensation on windows and cold surfaces
  • mold and mildew growth

Use preventive maintenance

  • Keep inside air circulating with vents and fans to avoid condensation. Use exhaust fans in the bathroom when showering. Install an exhaust fan in your laundry area and use it when doing laundry. Make sure your dryer is vented to the outside.
  • Fix leaky faucets and dripping toilets. In cold climates, water flowing down the drain under the home may freeze, causing water to back up through the drain lines and into your home.
  • Invest in a good portable dehumidifier with a humidity control. Choose one that shuts off automatically when the collector pan is full.
  • Use storm windows to help conserve energy and keep condensation from forming on windows. An added benefit — they help reduce heat loss.
  • Be sure the skirting around the base of your manufactured home is well ventilated and allows air to circulate freely, to help eliminate unwanted moisture from being drawn into the sub-flooring.

Keep an eye on the inside

    Listen for any unusual hissing sounds. This can be a pinhole leak in a water line within the floor or wall. Periodically check hard-to-reach, seldom seen spaces around the water heater, under sinks and behind clothes washers. Check the ice maker lines and filters for your refrigerator, too.

Preparing for Severe Weather

- Wednesday, September 09, 2020
Lallis and Higgins Insurance - Hurricane Preparation

Severe weather can strike anywhere, and if a disaster hits in your area, you may not have access to food, water or electricity for days. Nearly half of adults in the U.S. do not have the resources or plans in place for an emergency – that's a big number! Always remember - there's no such thing as being "too prepared," and it's better to start preparing now than later when the store shelves are empty!

Below are some important items to include in an emergency preparedness kit:

  • Food and water. A three-day supply of non-perishable good, and have one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days. (Also have a manual can opener on hand!)
  • Prescription medicines. Have at least a three-day supply on hand.
  • Personal care items. Items like soap, toothbrush, toothpaste and contact lenses.
  • First aid kit. Your local store should have them in stock. They cost anywhere from $25 to $35.
  • Electronics. Be sure to have battery-powered or solar flashlight, a cell phone with a portable charger and have extra batteries on hand.
  • Important papers. Copies of drivers' licenses, special medical information, social security cards, etc. Keep them in a waterproof, air tight bag so water doesn't seep through.
  • Cash. With no power, stores may not be able to take credit cards and ATMs may be out of cash so keep a reasonable amount of cash available so you have it if needed.
  • Basic hand tools. A wrench or pliers to turn off utilities.
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet. Your furry friends also need a three-day supply of food and water.

Depending on the size of your family, you may need additional supplies not included in the list, such as baby formula or games for the kids.

If you do end up losing power, it's important to think about ways you can keep your food cold temporarily if you don't have a cooler on hand. One option is your washing machine — just fill it with ice and voila! You won't have to worry when the ice starts melting since it can drain water. Plus — it has a lid! A second option is to fill your bathtub with ice.

Keeping these items on hand is crucial and could potentially save a life. Place your emergency kit in a designated spot all family members are familiar with and have it ready in case you need to leave your home quickly. From everyone here at Lallis & Higgins Insurance– stay safe and stay prepared!

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