Zika Virus & Pregnancy

There are concerns that pregnant women who become infected with Zika virus can transmit the disease to their unborn babies, with potentially serious consequences. Reports from several countries, most notably Brazil, demonstrate an increase in severe foetal birth defects and poor pregnancy outcomes in babies whose mothers were infected with Zika virus while pregnant.

Additional international research is necessary and ongoing to determine the link between Zika virus and foetal damage.

Until more is known, the Ministry of Health recommends that women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant in the near term consider delaying travel to areas with Zika virus present. If travelling in Zika infected areas, women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant should consult with their healthcare provider and take all precautions to avoid mosquito bites, including:

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants
  • Use insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), or IR3535. Always use as directed.
  • Insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, and IR3535 are safe for pregnant and nursing women and children older than 2 months when used according to the product label. Oil of lemon eucalyptus products should not be used on children under 3 years of age.
  • If you use both sunscreen and insect repellent, apply the sunscreen first and then the repellent.
  • Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents).
  • Use bed nets as necessary
  • Stay and sleep in screened-in or air-conditioned rooms.

If you are pregnant and develop a rash, red eyes, fever, or joint pain within 14 days of travel to a Zika virus infected country, please consult your health care provider and let them know your travel history.

Hand Washing

Frequent hand-washing is one of the best ways to avoid getting sick and spreading illness. Hand-washing requires only soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer — a cleanser that doesn’t require water. As you touch people, surfaces and objects throughout the day, you accumulate germs on your hands. In turn, you can infect yourself with these germs by touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Although it’s impossible to keep your hands germ-free, washing your hands frequently can help limit the transfer of bacteria, viruses and other microbes.

Always wash your hands before:

  • Preparing food or eating
  • Treating wounds, giving medicine, or caring for a sick or injured person
  • Inserting or removing contact lenses

Always wash your hands after:

  • Preparing food, especially raw meat or poultry
  • Using the toilet or changing a diaper
  • Touching an animal or animal toys, leashes or waste
  • Blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing into your hands
  • Treating wounds or caring for a sick or injured person
  • Handling garbage, household or garden chemicals, or anything that could be contaminated — such as a cleaning cloth or soiled shoes
  • Shaking hands with others

In addition, wash your hands whenever they look dirty.

Snow Shoveling Injuries

Some activities such as snow shoveling, walking through heavy wet snow or in a snow drift, downhill and cross country skiing, snow-boarding, can strain the heart enough to cause a heart attack. Snow shoveling can be more strenuous than exercising full throttle on a treadmill. While this may not be a problem if an individual is healthy and fit, it can be dangerous if not.

Shoveling, even pushing a heavy snow blower, can cause sudden increase in blood pressure and heart rate, and the cold air can cause constriction of the blood vessel and decrease oxygen to the heart. All these work in concert to increase the work of the heart and trigger a potentially fatal heart attack.

Individuals who are at risk of a heart attack during cold outdoor activities include:

  • Those with a prior heart attack
  • Those with known heart disease
  • Those with high blood pressure or high cholesterol
  • Smokers
  • Those who lead a sedentary lifestyle
  • Individuals who are overweight and perform little to no exercise in their normal routine.

A recent case in Pennsylvania had a pregnant teen collapse after shoveling snow and was pronounced dead.  The storms produced record snow and tides which resulted in extreme water damage and storm damage to homes, but everyone must be very careful when performing any strenuous task.

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Recent Flooding in New Jersey

The heavy snow and tides caused severe damage in some New Jersey shore towns making memories of Hurricane Sandy resurface.  Flooding in Ocean City New Jersey was especially bad, as was flooding in Cape May County and Wildwood.  Home owners need to be prepared for the hoards of restoration contractors and public adjusters that will be hounding them for the next few weeks. Storms like this is how most make the majority of their money, but a lot of their promises will come up short and you may be left holding the bag on a lot of unpaid items, or services which weren’t covered under your policy.  Read your policy carefully, and do not trust what you hear over the phone from a restoration contractor.  Rather, be apart of the process and double check that the Water Restoration contractor is not going above what’s needed just to make their bill higher and the public adjuster happy.  Make sure you read your policy through and through, and ask questions so you fully understand the complete process of your claim.  And do your own documentation, so you have backup which can help expedite your claim quickly and get your property back to pre-loss conditions.   Having a public adjuster or Water Damage Restoration contractor go above what’s needed to inflate a bill puts you in jeopardy of being denied and later dropped by your carrier for fraud.

2015 Angie’s List Award

There may be a few companies who have also won the Angie’s List Award, but no company has ever been able to say they’ve won 5 Consecutive Awards in our Industry until now.  We are proud to announce that we’ve won the award for Mold Testing, Mold Remediation, Water Damage Restoration & Fire and Smoke Damage Restoration for the 5th consecutive year.  Not only that, but we are a perfect 5 for 5, which means we set the new standard of excellence as the highest rated company in any market nationwide.2015ssa_Color528px_0

Homeowner’s Insurance & Sewer Lines

Homeowner’s insurance covers the cost of fixing many of the problems that can arise in an aging home. It may cover water damage caused by a leaky roof, damage to interior pipes that burst due to age or poor insulation, and fire damage caused by faulty electrical wiring. While every policy is different, most homeowner’s insurance policies pay for some costs associated with faulty interior plumbing and electrical wiring. Depending upon the policy, problems with exterior plumbing and wiring may or may not be covered. If the broken sewer line in question is an underground pipe that connects to the main municipal line in your neighborhood, your insurance company will want to know where exactly the break occurred. It is unlikely to cover a break that occurs outside of the “footprint” of your home’s foundation under any circumstances. If the break occurred within the home’s foundation, it may be covered.

 
In general, homeowner’s insurance covers issues that can be traced to non-negligent damages. This typically excludes the effects of normal aging and “wear and tear.” Before approving or denying your claim, your claims adjuster will want to know the rough age of the pipe. He or she will also examine the length of the pipe to check for other signs of aging like rust or thinning. He or she may also look for loose joints and other signs of faulty workmanship. Finally, your claims adjuster will look for signs of weathering caused by poor or missing insulation.  If your claims adjuster determines that the pipe has broken due to age or weathering, you may face an uphill battle to secure coverage for its replacement. Your insurer will likely deny your claim on the grounds that you should have performed regular maintenance on the pipe or replaced it before it broke. If you report the break as an ongoing problem, the likelihood of this response will increase further. In fact, it may not even be worth your time to report such a recurring issue.

 
On the other hand, your homeowner’s insurance policy is likely to cover the costs of replacing a sewer line that bursts due to shoddy workmanship or poor insulation. If the break causes water damage in your basement or elsewhere, your policy may cover cleanup-related costs as well. If the break occurs during the winter and can be attributed to freezing, this outcome is even likelier to occur.

 

 

Preventing Damage From Melting Snow

When temperatures begin to rise after a long winter, it can certainly be reason to celebrate. But if you’ve got significant snow accumulation on, or around, your home it can also be cause for concern. Here are some tips to help prevent damage to your home as snow starts melting.

  • Remove snow from around your home: snow accumulation near your foundation, windows, and doors can leak into your home once it starts to melt. Remember to shovel any decks, driveways or patios that slope towards your home.
  • Check your roof and gutters: consider hiring a professional to remove the snow from your roof so that water run-off is at a minimum once temperatures rise. If that’s not possible, be sure that your gutters are clear so that the water will have a path away from your home. If possible, attach a sloped leader to your downspout that leads run-off at least 10ft from your home.
  • Test your sump pump: if water does get into your basement, you want to be sure it is taken care of quickly. Before the snow starts to melt, test your sump pump and your sump pump discharge pipe to ensure it’s in working order.
  • Clear snow from drainage areas: storm drains and catch basins can often get clogged with snow — if you can do so safely, clearing snow from these areas can help keep water away from your home.
  • Rearrange your storage: in case water does get into your basement, be sure to keep any valuables, chemicals, or anything else you’d like to keep dry off the floor.
  • Check your appliances: clear out space around your water heater, furnace and other appliances. If possible, raising your washer and dryer off the floor could help protect from water damage.
  • Don’t try to do too much: getting on ladders or your roof at any time of the year is a risky proposition, even more so when there is snow involved. Clearing snow and gutters is important in the prevention of water damage, but be sure to use a professional to handle any dangerous situations.

Tips For Removing Ice Dams

You can help to prevent serious damage to both the roof and inside of your home by minimizing the likelihood that an ice dam will develop, and by removing one as soon as you spot it. Ice dams can form when water from melting snow re-freezes at the edge of your roofline. Without roof snow removal, an ice dam may grow large enough to prevent water from draining off the roof. This water can then back up underneath roof shingles and make its way into your home.

How To Prevent Ice Dams From Forming

  • Remove snow from your roof after every storm. To begin with, use a roof rake to clear snow from the edge of your roof upwards of three to four feet immediately after each storm. In addition to helping prevent an ice dam from forming, this will lessen the stress on your home’s roof. The amount of snow and ice your roof can support will depend on a number of factors, including the roof type and the age and condition of the structure. But a good rule to keep in mind is if more than a foot of heavy, wet snow and ice has accumulated on your roof, you should have it removed.
  • Clear downspouts. An easy way to help snow and ice drain off your roof is to make sure the area around your downspouts is clear. This can help prevent standing water from collecting near the gutter downspout.

Removing Ice Dams

  • Melt the ice dam. Fill a nylon stocking with calcium chloride ice melt, and place it vertically across the ice dam so that it melts a channel through the dam. If you try this, make sure you can safely position the ice melt on your roof, and make sure to use calcium chloride, not rock salt. Rock salt will damage your roof. Also, be aware that shrubbery and plants near the gutters or downspouts may be damaged.
  • Get professional help. If you cannot safely reach the roof, avoid using a ladder in snowy and icy conditions. Consider hiring a contractor to remove the ice dam.