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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 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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