What Summer Sun and Heat Can Do to Your Body Internally?

It is no secret that the sun can be damaging to the skin; causing wrinkles, and potentially causing skin cancer. But, we often overlook how impactful the sun can be on internal organs. The heat from the sun and associated dehydration can cause a host of life-threatening health problems. It’s important to learn about what heat can do to your body internally, how to treat it and ultimately, how to prevent it.

Heat Cramps

Heat cramps are a condition that causes muscle spasms and cramping, often as a result of being overheated or lacking electrolytes. Electrolytes are minerals that are essential to the body’s optimal functioning. They include potassium, sodium, magnesium and calcium. In a hot environment, many individuals sweat out a lot of electrolytes. Being dehydrated, or not drinking fluids that contain enough electrolytes can result in heat cramps.
Heat cramps may occur while working in a very hot environment, or several hours after the work has been completed. The muscle spasms associated with heat cramps can be very painful but are usually brief and intermittent. The best way to treat them is by rehydrating with fluids, electrolytes, and rest. If the cramps do not resolve, or nausea and vomiting prevent the restoration of fluids, it’s very important to seek professional medical attention.

Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion represents another serious illness associated with high temperatures and dehydration. If not treated, heat exhaustion can lead to a heat stroke. The two different types of heat exhaustion are either related to water or salt depletion. Water depletion can cause an individual to feel weak, exceptionally thirsty, and can cause a headache. Loss of consciousness can also occur if not treated. Signs of salt depletion include dizziness, muscle cramping, nausea, and vomiting.

In general, those suffering from heat exhaustion may feel confused, fatigued, or dizzy. They may have a headache, muscle cramps, profuse sweating, and a rapid heart rate. Anyone suffering from these symptoms should immediately leave the heat to rest in a cooler area. They should then drink a lot of non-caffeinated fluids. Fans, ice towels, or cool showers are helpful in cooling down a person with heat exhaustion. If symptoms do not begin to subside after 15 minutes, the person should seek emergency medical help.

Heat Stroke

A heat stroke is the most severe form of illness caused by heat. It is a medical emergency, and if an individual is suspected to have heat stroke, it’s imperative to call 911. Heat stroke can cause serious damage to vital internal organs and the brain. Heat stroke occurs when an individual has been exposed to high temperatures for a significant length of time. It is usually accompanied by dehydration. These two elements can lead to a failing of the body’s natural temperature control system. Heat stroke occurs when the core body temperature is higher than 105 degrees Fahrenheit, and this is the definitive characteristic. Other symptoms of heatstroke may include dizziness, headache, dry skin, lack of sweating (regardless of heat), rapid heart rate, nausea, vomiting, confusion, loss of consciousness and even seizures. Treatment of heat stroke begins by first contacting emergency medical help. Waiting can be fatal. While waiting for help to arrive, make the effort to begin to cool the individual’s body by using fans, wetting their skin with cool water, applying ice packs to key areas like underarms, neck, and back or immerse the individual in cool water. Heat stroke is most common in older people, those who don’t drink enough water, and those who drink too much alcohol.

Stay Hydrated!

Dehydration and heat are the key causes of each of the above heat illnesses. It’s incredibly important to stay hydrated during hot weather and when exercising. The most obvious way to stay hydrated is to drink adequate amounts of water during hot weather and during exercise. The general recommendation is to drink at least eight eight-ounce glasses of water daily. This may change depending on the individual, the temperature, and the activity. Eating foods high in electrolytes and water can help you stay hydrated as well as aid in the recovery of dehydration. Fruits and vegetables typically contain a high water content as well as vitamins and minerals like sodium and potassium. If food isn’t available, a sports drink or other fluid replacement drink will contain the electrolytes that can help your body restore its fluid balance. Remember to drink more fluid than you’re expelling. If you’re sweating excessively, you will need to drink double the fluid to regain what was lost in sweat. Don’t ever confuse caffeinated or alcoholic beverages as hydrating fluids. They contribute to more frequent urination and actually may contribute to dehydration. Do your body a favor, drink adequate amounts of water, especially during hot weather or while exercising.

These ailments are not only serious, but symptoms can creep up on you very quickly without warning. The last thing you want is faulty health insurance when you or a loved one is in need of emergency medical care. Take the proper precautions to protect your body this summer and call Waitte’s Insurance Agency at (860) 886-1961 to review your current health insurance policy so that your family is covered while trying to ‘beat the heat’.

Tying the Knot? Considerations For Your Auto Insurance Rates

Marriage is far more than the joining of two individuals into one couple. Not only are two people joining their personal lives when they marry, they are also combining their finances and expenses. Many people do not realize it, but getting married prompts many changes to their auto insurance rates?

Why does marriage affect insurance rates?

Insurance companies base their rates on data that results from lots of research. Insurance companies have found certain groups of people tend to be higher risks. These groups have higher insurance premiums. Conversely, groups that are less likely to have accidents have lower premiums. Married people fall into this group, so getting married will lower your car insurance costs.

Combining policies

Once a couple gets married they can choose to either combine policies or keep their policies separate. It is not always better to combine policies. If one of the spouses falls into one of the following categories, it is better to keep separate policies:

–       Having several accidents or a poor driving record

–       Driving a model that is pricey to insure

–       Driving a valuable or classic car

–       Traveling many more miles a day/month than the other spouse

Roommates

In situations where roommates are not married but will be using each other’s cars, it is necessary to list every licensed driver of the vehicle on the policy. It must be understood that this situation may increase the rate of the premium. If any driver is excluded from the policy, they may not drive the insured vehicle. If the vehicle is driven by an excluded individual and there is an accident, the damage will likely not be covered by the policy.

Multiple vehicle discounts

Married couples should always consider a multiple-vehicle discount if there is more than one car for the household. This type of insurance offers the same coverage but will usually cost less than insuring the cars separately. To be eligible for this type of discount, all vehicles must be insured with the same company and under the same policyholder’s name.

Car insurance after divorce

Just as car insurance changes when couples marry, they change with divorce as well. When a couple decides to go their separate ways, the party whose name is on the policy must remove the other name from it. It is also important to let the insurance company know about the following changes that may affect auto insurance rates:

–       Address

–       Financial situation

–       Household members

–       Mileage driven

Although car insurance is something most people do not think about until they need it, it does need some serious consideration when marital status is changed. If your living situation has changed in any way and you need to update your auto insurance, please contact Waitte’s Insurance Agency. We will be happy to help you!

 

Summertime Safety: Keeping Your Campfires Under Control

Summer days lead to cool nights that are perfect for cozying up to a warm fire with your family and friends. The smell of s’mores is in the air, and some of you may even be roasting your marshmallows the old fashioned way – on a stick. There is nothing more relaxing than hearing the crackle of firewood and the sound of laughter as you look up at the stars. There is also nothing more terrifying than a fire that has become unruly or is emitting noxious gasses due to the materials that are being burned.

First and foremost, there are several guidelines that the city of Norwich has put together to regulate the types of fires that are lit in its residents’ backyards. The following are a few of these guidelines:

-You do not need a permit for: Small cooking fires, campfires, bonfires that do not threaten to create a forest fire, fires for training or construction purposes.

-Your fire is considered safe it is can be contained/maintained, does not emit a foul odor or generate an unusual abundance of smoke.

-You will need a permit to burn large amounts of brush.

As you can see, you are legally allowed to have a fire in your backyard, toast your marshmallows and sing campfire songs with your loved ones without needing to submit a permit. However, this does not mean that small campfires do not pose threats. To keep yourself, your family, and your friends safe this summer, here are a few tips:

-Set up your fire pit at least 15 feet away from your home or any other structure – be even more careful if there are winds.

-Be sure to clear the ground around your fire pit of dry leaves or twigs. This will make your fire less likely to spread.

-When starting a fire, it is important to use proper materials. If your firewood is completely dry, it should catch quickly. If you are having trouble starting your fire and want to use other types of kindling, like paper, make sure that it is secured inside a nest of wood so that hot ash cannot escape freely. Secondly, try to avoid using lighter fluid or gasoline to start your fire. You can purchase or create DIY fire starters that are safe and easy to use.

-While you are enjoying your campfire, be sure to keep foreign objects out of it. It is common to feel the urge to throw an object into the fire, but some objects can and do explode when heated. To be safe, it is better to fight the urge to experiment than to burn your guests or yourself.

If you do end up having an accident at your next backyard get-together, or are wondering how to get coverage just in case something does happen, feel free to contact Waitte’s Insurance Agency for all of your insurance inquiries.

Training Your Pup to Avoid an Aggressive Pet

Aggressive dogs pose serious threats to the community and are far more prevalent than one would think. In 2013, one-third of all homeowners’ insurance liability claims paid was due to dog bite claims. Families with “bully breed” dogs, such as pit bulls and Rottweilers may find themselves unable to obtain homeowner’s insurance or having to pay higher premiums as these dogs have higher aggressiveness statistics. Dog attacks can be prevented by appropriate training and raising of the dog. It’s important to understand some key dog-training principles to raise a safe, friendly dog.

Don’t yell or scream.

While dog training can be stressful, yelling and screaming at the dog is not the answer. These actions cause anxiety and stress in the dog and build tension. In order to successfully train your dog, he/she needs to respect you. By constantly yelling, your dog will just become used to it and start to ignore your commands.

Don’t use negative reinforcement.

Negative reinforcement, like hitting or using a shock collar invokes fear in your dog. Fear may cause certain breeds of dog to act out in aggression. Positive reinforcement with affection, treats, or toys have been found to be more effective than negative reinforcement. 

Ensure your dog is fed properly.

One way to prevent food aggression is to ensure that your dog is fed properly. Never withhold meals as a source of punishment. Your dog may then feel the need to protect his food once he is fed. Be sure to feed your dog at least twice daily and according to the portion guidelines set forth by your vet.

Start socialization early.

Early socialization is a key component of a well mannered dog. Puppies and young dogs should be socialized with other people, children, and other animals.

Never resort to physical abuse.

Physical abuse is a key cause of aggression in dogs. Dogs should never be punched, kicked, or physically abused in other ways after they have misbehaved. This causes them to feel threatened and may, in turn, lead to aggressive or violent behavior.

When raised appropriately, all breeds of dogs can become wonderful members of the family. A state lawmaker in Connecticut is currently trying to introduce legislation that would not allow insurance companies to increase homeowners insurance based on the breed of their dog. However, until this legislation is enacted, it’s incredibly important to be a responsible dog owner. Complete thorough research on the dog breed you are considering prior to bringing it home. Be sure to make training your pup a priority. With plenty of research, healthy attention, love, and discipline you can ensure that your dog is a great addition to your family.

All dogs are considered “man’s best friend”, but it’s important to know if your family pet will affect your insurance premium. If you’re unsure if your dog falls under the same category as Pit bulls or Rottweilers, contact Waitte’s Insurance Agency Inc. for a consultation.

Prevention and Warning Signs of Carbon Monoxide Leaks

While most people know that homes are required by law to have smoke detectors, which quickly sense smoke in case of a fire and alert the residents to ensure a quick response, fewer know that the law also requires carbon monoxide detectors. That’s because carbon monoxide is a lesser-known danger than fire – but, in some cases, a much more potent one.

What is carbon monoxide?

Carbon monoxide, or CO, is a colorless, odorless gas that is fatal when inhaled in certain quantities and left untreated. It is released by the burning of fuel in stoves, lanterns, gas ranges, furnaces, and other indoor appliances, as well as cars and trucks outdoors.

What are common sources of carbon monoxide leaks?

Carbon monoxide can leak out of appliances and vehicles and build up within an enclosed space, such as a home or car, leading to severe illness or death. Leaks often occur when gas appliances, such as refrigerators or stoves, are not vented properly. The carbon monoxide produced by these appliances is released outdoors through pipes; when these pipes aren’t fitted properly, the carbon monoxide can instead leak into the home. It is important to have horizontal pipes that lead to the outdoors slanting upward slightly, so in case of improperly fitted joints, the CO will still be able to escape. In a vehicle, leaks can occur when there are small gaps or holes in the exhaust system, which cause the car exhaust to seep into the interior of the car instead of being released outside.

What is carbon monoxide poisoning, and what are the symptoms?

Carbon monoxide poisoning is an illness caused by inhaling CO at high levels. Symptoms start by resembling the flu; headache, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, and trouble breathing all may develop. Spotting these symptoms early on can save a person’s life; as the poisoning develops, however, the person can experience mental confusion, vomiting, loss of muscle function, loss of consciousness, and ultimately death.

How can I prevent carbon monoxide poisoning in my home?

The best way to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning is to keep your carbon monoxide detector up-to-date and functional, as well as all of your heating and other non-electric appliances, which should be checked by a technician every year. There are also many simple mistakes to avoid, such as using flameless chemical heaters, gas camp stoves, or charcoal-burning devices indoors.

What are the specific laws and requirements for carbon monoxide detectors in Connecticut?

Connecticut requires carbon monoxide detectors to be installed in all new residences and schools, including residences meant for one or two families. These detectors protect families and individuals from carbon monoxide poisoning. Make sure to test and change the batteries in your detector once a year.

For even more tips on how to maintain a safe household for you and your family, visit our blog archives. Be sure to contact Waitte’s Insurance Agency Inc. to review or renew your homeowners’ insurance policy.

Laws & Restrictions for Teenage Drivers in Connecticut

Chances are you couldn’t wait to get your driver’s license when you turned 16. However, you probably never guessed that there would be so many steps you had to take before you could get on the road, or that even after receiving your license, you still have to navigate numerous laws and restrictions until you turn 18. Teen driving may be difficult, but this guide can help clarify a few questions you may have.

When is a teenager eligible to acquire their learner’s permit?

The minimum age to receive a learner’s permit in Connecticut is 16. You must have a learner’s permit before beginning to learn how to drive; you can apply for a permit by scheduling an appointment at your local DMV office.

What is required by Connecticut law in order to obtain a learner’s permit?

To receive your learner’s permit as a 16 or 17-year-old, you must first obtain parental consent, and collect the necessary paperwork that can serve as identification (for example, your birth certificate or U.S. Passport). Then, you can schedule and pay the $40 test fee for your DMV appointment online through the Connecticut DMV website. At your appointment, you must take and pass a vision test and a knowledge test, which determines your knowledge of Connecticut driving laws with 25 questions.

What are the restrictions for drivers with only a permit in the state of CT?

Restrictions on teen driving include limiting your passengers to parents, guardians, or qualified instructors while you are training to receive your license; you also may not use any cell phones (even if hands-free) while driving.

What training courses are required? What must a driver complete before becoming eligible for a driver’s license in CT?

A driver must complete 40 hours of practice driving and 30 hours of classroom training (or 22 hours of home training and an 8 hour Safe Driving Practices course). To fit these requirements, a driver may choose a commercial driving school, driving classes at his or her high school, or home driving lessons. Once at least 120 days of classroom training or 180 days of home training have passed, the driver is eligible to take the road test at the DMV and obtain a driver’s license.

What are the legal restrictions for teenage drivers up to the age of 18?

Before turning 18, teen drivers may not drive between the hours of 11 PM and 5 AM, unless it is for school, work, religious, or medical reasons. They must also use permanently installed seat belts, and may not use cell phones or hands-free devices while driving. For the first six months after receiving their license, drivers can only have parents, guardians, instructors, or people over 20 (who have held a driver’s license for at least 4 years) as passengers; for the second six months, this is expanded to include immediate family.

In addition to these restrictions for teenage drivers, Connecticut law requires drivers of all ages to purchase automobile liability insurance. Provide yourself peace of mind and contact Waitte’s Insurance Agency, Inc. to add your teenage driver to your current insurance policy.

Top 5 Scenic Routes for Fall Foliage in Connecticut

Every fall, while the rest of the country is lamenting the end of summer and dreading the coming of winter, New England is experiencing a uniquely beautiful experience – the gradual shift from summer to fall foliage throughout the region’s forests. This seasonal event brings vibrant hues of red, orange, and yellow to the leaves of trees throughout the state of Connecticut, and because of their widespread nature, the best way to enjoy them is by car. Thankfully, the state is full of scenic routes, all of which become even more beautiful in fall when the leaves change color. This fall, head out for a drive along these top five scenic routes:

1. Connecticut River Loop

This scenic drive takes a combined four state routes into one loop that circles the Connecticut River, crossing the water twice and winding along its banks from Old Lyme to East Haddam. Along the way, it passes through the picturesque towns of Essex, Centerbrook, Deep River, Chester, Haddam and East Haddam; all of which display the fall foliage to its greatest extent, combined with charming shops and a small-town atmosphere. The drive between towns is spectacular as well, with the forested banks of the river providing a perfect backdrop for the fall colors.

2. State Route 169

This federally designated National Scenic Byway takes you from the Massachusetts border to Jewett City, passing through numerous historic towns and sites along the way. The highlight of this drive is the abundance of maple and pine trees, which provide a spectacular color-changing show in the fall.

3. Colchester and Salmon River

A large part of this loop follows state routes 16 and 149, looping around Salmon River State Forest in the process. This drive takes you from quiet, wooded lanes to scenic towns to the undisturbed woodlands of the state forest, which is the perfect place to view fall foliage due to its abundance of spectacular trees.

4. Merritt Parkway

Merritt Parkway, a 37-mile National Scenic Byway, passes not only through prime fall foliage areas but also crosses over numerous historic and beautiful Art Deco bridges in the process. Get ready for an explosion of color when you take on this short but scenic drive.

5. Litchfield Hills

There is nothing quite like the sight of rolling hills colored in all shades of red, orange, yellow, green, and everything in between. That is exactly what you will experience in the Litchfield Hills, in northwestern Connecticut. You can craft your own drive through this region, or follow a general route along Route 7 from Norfolk to Litchfield.

As we are all looking forward to the breath-taking landscapes that Connecticut provides in the fall, it’s important to remember proper maintenance for your vehicle or motorcycle before embarking on your scenic journey. This would, of course, include having adequate auto insurance. To review your current automobile or motorcycle policy,  contact Waitte’s Insurance Agency, Inc.

Tips to Safeguard Your Home Against Cold Weather

As the days grow shorter and the air grows colder, people around the country experience the telltale signs of the fall season. Along with the approach of the holidays and the changing color of the leaves, however, you can also expect unpredictable weather patterns; from sudden storms to early snowfall. Especially in New England, there is no telling when temperatures may drastically drop – an event that can have significant impacts on your home.

There are numerous ways in which falling temperatures can create problems for your home:

Frozen pipes: What may potentially be the biggest problem caused by cold weather is the freezing of your water and gas pipes, which occurs when the temperature is so cold that the pipes crack or burst from expanding ice. This leads to problems accessing these utilities in your home.

Weathering: Strong storms can damage the paint on your house and lead to a weathered look.

Roof damage: Falling trees or piled-on snow can cause damage to roof tiles or the foundation of the roof itself; which can in turn lead to leaks or even collapses.

Landscape damage: Certain plants cannot survive the freezing temperatures of winter, or may be damaged or knocked over by strong storms.

Cold temperatures: The need to keep your home warm can skyrocket your energy costs and end up being ineffective despite your furnace’s best efforts.

Thankfully, you can take preventative measures to guard your home against the harmful effects described above. Take stock of your situation, analyze the greatest threats to your home, and take the following steps to safeguard your home against cold weather:

Frozen pipes: Insulate your exposed pipes with foam insulation, and make sure to inspect those that are not insulated regularly.

Weathering: Invest in weather-resistant paint that will withstand chipping once cold weather approaches.

Roof damage: Make sure that your trees are not so close to the home that they may cause damage if they fall over onto your roof. Also, clear your roof of snow and inspect it for damage after the weather warms.

Landscape damage: Bring potted plants indoors if possible, and if not, add mulch around plants and cover plants that are prone to frost damage.

Cold temperatures: Use weather stripping to minimize the heat that escapes your home and insulate the house from drafts.

We want you, your family, and your home to be completely safe and sound during the transition into fall and eventually winter. However, in the event that inclement weather conditions have damaged your home or automobile, contact Waitte’s Insurance Agency, Inc. so that we can help you review your current homeowners’ insurance policy and provide you with peace of mind!

5 of the Most Haunted Places in Connecticut

As one of the first areas to be colonized by European settlers, as well as the site of Native American activity for thousands of years, it comes as no surprise that Connecticut has a long and storied history – and where there is history, there are hauntings. Today, with Halloween approaching, you can visit numerous haunted sites across the state, absorbing the atmosphere and quite possibly getting the scare of your life. However, even among Connecticut’s many haunted places, there are a few that stand out for being exceptionally spooky. Take a look at 5 of the most haunted places in Connecticut.

1. Norwich State Hospital, Preston

During its operation from 1904 to 1996, the Norwich State Hospital was the site of numerous tragedies and horrific events, from a patient who hanged himself in 1914 to a hot water heater explosion in 1919 that killed two employees. Today, the hospital stands in ruins, and has an exceedingly creepy atmosphere – numerous sightings of ghosts and reports of strange sights and sounds have been common. Although the actual facility is closed and guarded, you can view and take pictures of the hospital from the road.

2. Union Cemetery, Easton

Known as one of the most haunted cemeteries in the entire United States, the Union Cemetery contains burials dating back to the 1600s alongside modern-day graves. Famous paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren visited the site and even caught a glimpse of the White Lady, the graveyard’s most notorious ghost. Be careful of visiting at night – policemen guard the cemetery, which is off-limits after sunset.

3. Fairfield Hills State Hospital, Newtown

What is it with old hospitals and hauntings? The Fairfield Hills State Hospital housed criminally insane patients from 1931 to 1995, and, like the Norwich State Hospital, has a long and cruel history and many reports of hauntings. Unfortunately, it is strictly off-limits to visitors.

4. Dudleytown, Cornwall

Dudleytown is a ghost town in northwestern Connecticut, which was founded by Thomas Griffis in 1745. The deaths of many of its occupants have led to modern-day reports of hauntings; however, today’s owners of the Dudleytown land do not allow hikers to visit.

5. The Warren Occult Museum

Named for Ed and Lorraine Warren, the famous paranormal investigators, this museum is home to the actual doll that inspired the horror movie “Annabelle”. The doll is known to be haunted, moving on its own and even writing messages on the walls. Unlike the other sites on this list, you can visit the museum freely…if you dare!

Waitte’s Insurance Agency wishes you and your family a very fun, and SAFE Halloween!

3 Ways Cold Temperatures Can Damage Your Car

Cold AutoIn New England, fall is in full force; the leaves have changed colors, Thanksgiving preparations have begun, and the air is slowly getting colder and colder as winter approaches. While these changes may signal the approach of the holiday season, however, the colder weather also signifies another change: the increased danger to your car or other vehicles.

Freezing weather brings a unique set of challenges to driving safely and keeping vehicles operational, so it is important to know what kinds of issues you may have to deal with, and how you can effectively respond to them. Last month, we featured an article about ways to safeguard your home from cold East coast winters. Now, we would like for you to take a look at the top three ways that cold weather can damage your car, and what you should do about each one.

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1. Your car has trouble starting.

Normal car batteries are meant to withstand weather from 30 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, so when the temperature drops below the lower end of that range, the battery may stop working, preventing your car from starting. The same effect can occur with your spark plug or other ignition components. In order to prevent this from happening, get your battery and spark plug checked so that you know ahead of time if you should expect any problems, and can act to stop them before they happen.

2. Your transmission fluid (and other liquids) thicken.

Freezing weather thickens liquids, which includes your transmission fluid, antifreeze, brake fluid, and oil. When your transmission fluid is too thick to flow properly, you may have trouble operating your vehicle or getting it to function at all. You should get all of these liquids checked at least once as the cold weather begins to set in so that you can know whether it is safe to drive or not.

3. Tire pressure goes down.

When the temperature drops, most tires lose pressure at a rate of 1 pound per square inch for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Lower tire pressure can lead to poor tire performance and damage or failure, which can be especially dangerous in snowy or icy conditions. Do not attempt to drive with low tire pressure. In order to combat this obstacle, check your tire pressure every few weeks, and inflate your tires as necessary.

We want you and your family to remain safe not only in your home during the upcoming holiday season, but when driving as well. Please take the necessary precautions before traveling this winter, and be sure to contact Waitte’s Insurance Agency for any and all accident claims.