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How to Get Rid of Fleas the Natural Way

How to Get Rid of Fleas the Natural Way

A home infested with fleas is a stressful and painful problem to deal with, particularly if one or more family members is allergic. Infestations generally begin with pets, such as cats or dogs, and find homes in bedding, upholstered furniture and carpeting. Dog fleas (Ctenocephalides canis) and cat fleas (Ctenocephalides felis) are the most common, though some 2,000 species of fleas exist worldwide. Natural control is best when dealing with these wingless bloodsuckers, as chemical methods pose health threats to animals and their human counterparts.

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Fleas are tiny insects anywhere from 1/16 to ⅛ inches long, and are generally dark in color. Unable to fly, fleas nevertheless are capable of jumping incredible distances, and are very fast, making them difficult to catch and kill. They are regarded as some of the “best jumpers” in the animal world thanks to their long hind legs. Their laterally-compressed bodies make it easy for them to move through hair, fur and feathers on host bodies, as do the short spines that cover their shells. These hairs are “directed backwards” for easy movement.

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These pesky insects go through four life cycles–egg, larvae, pupa and imago, or adult. An adult flea seeks to feed and reproduce, with females laying as many as 5,000 eggs throughout their lifetimes. Fleas can live as long as a few years if conditions are ideal, with females laying about 20 eggs per spawning.

The insects’ tube-like mouths are perfect for sucking blood. Common hosts include humans, cats, dogs, rabbits, mice, ferrets, chickens, squirrels and rats. Flea bites result in red, itchy welts on hosts, though even worse problems can occur, including hair loss, hot spots, and the transference of viruses and bacteria. Fleas were also among the carriers of the Black Death, or bubonic plague. Bites often appear in clusters and can take up to two weeks to heal.

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Commercial flea medications contain powerful chemicals deemed highly dangerous by the EPA, with the agency reporting a range of conditions and illnesses from spot treatments in pets, including more mild problems such as skin irritations to serious issues, such as cancer and death. “Spot-on” products are those sold in tubes or similar containers and are applied between the shoulders of the animal or across the back ridge. Touching a pet following application results in exposure to these toxic chemicals. The animal also ingests the medication every time it grooms itself.

Flea “bombs” are another way to rid the home of fleas and other insects. A device sets off a “bomb” in the home, which coats everything in the house with a chemical that kills fleas.

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A surefire way to tell if your pet has fleas is if the animal scratches and itches itself constantly. Examining the animal is another way, as you can usually see the insects living on the pet.

Rather than using chemical means to rid your pets and home of fleas, check out the many effective natural options that won’t harm anyone in the family, whether they walk on two or four legs.

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How to Rid the Home of Fleas Naturally

Meticulous bathing of your pet and cleaning of your home are the best ways to ensure your home is free of these bloodsuckers. Making sure your pet is healthy will also prevent infestation.

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Brian Lee

Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

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Last Updated on January 11, 2021

11 Hidden Benefits of Using Oil Diffusers

11 Hidden Benefits of Using Oil Diffusers

Affordable, relaxing, and healthy, oil diffusers are gaining popularity with people everywhere due to their extensive benefits. Oil diffusers work through the simple process of oil diffusion, which uses heat to turn oil into a vapor that is then spread around a living space. Diffused oil can have several relaxation and health-related benefits, including safe scent-dispersion, mosquito and mold defense, stress relief, and more!

Read on for 11 hidden benefits of using oil diffusers.

1. Safe Scents That Make Sense

Unlike candles or air fresheners, oil diffusers release cleansing molecules into your air that work to purify it, not overload it with unhealthy chemicals. Electronic diffusers also do not pose the fire risk that candles do. Plus, they contain the added feature of interchangeability, which means you change oil types for different scents and health benefits.

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2. Stress Relief

Several lab studies have confirmed that diffusing essential oils like lavender have been shown to reduce stress and help relieve anxiety in medical patients. Preliminary studies have also shown that oil diffusers can help alleviate symptoms of depression.

3. Improved Sleep

Diffused oil has relaxing properties that can help people of all ages fall asleep quicker and sleep more soundly. Electronic diffusers not only have the option to mix and match different oil blends (Try a lavender, Bulgarian rose, and Roman chamomile blend to help with insomnia), they also run at a gentle hum that helps relax an agitated mind. Many also come with an auto shut-off feature to help conserve oils once you have fallen asleep.

4. Appetite Control

Much like gum, oil diffusers can help stimulate the senses in a way that works to curb appetite. New research has shown that diffused peppermint oil can help curb appetite by inducing a satiety response within the body. Diffused peppermint oil has also been shown to increase energy.

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5. Bacteria and Mold Killing

When essential oils are diffused in the air, they break down free radicals that contribute to the growth of harmful bacteria. Eucalyptus, thyme, and tea tree oils are especially good for this purpose. Diffused oil is also highly effective when it comes to combating fungal yeast threats, as the oil help makes the air inhospitable for yeasts such as mold. Pine and red thyme essential oils are best for combating mold.

6. Decongestion and Mucus Control

Ever tried Vick’s Vapo-Rub? Its decongesting powers come from active ingredients made from the eucalyptus tree. In principle, oil diffusers work the same way as Vapo-Rub, except they diffuse their decongesting vapor all around the room, not just on your chest or neck. Oil diffusers have been known to cure pneumonia in lab mice.

7. Mosquito Repellant

Nobody likes mosquitoes — but when the trade-off means using repellants full of DEET, a toxic chemical that can be especially harmful to children, mosquito control can often seem like a lose-lose. However, scientists have shown that oil diffusers can be used as a safe and highly effective mosquito repellant. Studies have shown that a diffused oil mixture containing clove essential oil and lemongrass essential oil repelled one type of Zika-carrying mosquito, the Aedes aegypti mosquito, at a rate of 100%.

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8. Pain Relief

While applying oils directly to areas of your body may be the most effective way to alleviate pain, diffusing essential oils can also be an effective means of pain relief. When we inhale healthy essential oils, they enter our blood stream and can help internally relieve persistent pain from headaches, overworked muscles, and sore joints.

9. The New Anti-Viral

Research into the anti-viral effects of oil diffusion is now just gaining steam. A recent study showed that star anise essential oil was proven in medical experiments to destroy the herpes simplex virus in contained areas at a rate of 99%. Another study showed the popular DoTerra oil blend OnGuard to have highly-effective influenza-combating powers.

10. Improved Cognitive Function

Diffusing essential oils has also been shown to improve cognitive function. Many essential oils have adaptogenic qualities, which can work twofold in soothing us when we’re stressed, and giving our bodies a pick-me-up when we’re feeling down or sluggish. By working to level out an imbalanced mood, diffused oils also help us to focus. There are also several essential oils which have been shown to help balance the body’s hormones. With prolonged use, these oils can work to repair the underlying causes responsible for hindering cognitive function.

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11. Money Saving

With ten clear benefits of oil diffusers already outlined, there is one more that should now be obvious: using an oil diffuser will help you to save money. As an anti-viral, bug repelling, and stress-relief solution rolled into one safe product, an oil diffuser used with the proper oils will save you money on products you might otherwise be buying to help cure those pesky headaches or get your kids to fall asleep on time. If you’re wondering just how affordable oil diffusers can be, check the buyer’s guide to the best oil diffusers — you’ll be sure to find one that fits your budget!

Featured photo credit: Jopeel Quimpo via unsplash.com

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