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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 December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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