Take An Outdoorsy Trip for Spring Break

Spring break will be here before you know it! This is the perfect time of year to take an outdoorsy trip. You can plan on camping with the family, doing some hiking, or kayaking on a lake. Regardless of what type of outdoor adventure you are planning, you’ll want to make sure you are well-packed and well-prepared. Here are a few tips to help with that.

1. Stock up on propane.​

If you plan on cooking on a grill or even heating the cabin you’re staying in, then you’re going to need some propane. Get propane tanks filled well in advance so you don’t have to rush around the day before your trip. If you need a new tank, consider buying two or three smaller ones instead of one large tank. Smaller ones are easier to carry.

2. Go through your first aid kit.

Outdoor adventures come with the risk of scrapes, burns, and other injuries. So before you head off, make sure your first aid kit is well-stocked. Shop at a local pharmacy for basics like Band-aids, antibiotic ointment, and iodine solution.

For an outdoor trip, you’ll also want to pack some sunscreen and insect repellent with your first aid kit. Most pharmacies stock small, travel-size containers of these items, which are perfect to stuff in your backpack.

3. Have your outdoor clothing cleaned.

You don’t want to pull on your hiking pants and find they’re still covered in mud from last season. You also don’t want to climb into a sleeping bag that has a musty odor! So, before you head off on your outdoor adventure, take a few minutes to sort through your outdoor items and separate those that need cleaning.

If you’re short on time, having a laundry or dry cleaning pick up service come pick up your items can be really convenient!

4. Make plans for elder care.

If you care for an older loved one, make plans for their care while you’re away. Consider hiring a home caregiver to make sure they take their medications on time and have other needs met. A caregiver can also give them company and companionship.

Spring break is the perfect time to get outside and enjoy the fresh air while kayaking, hiking, biking, or picnicking. If you prepare with the steps above, you’ll truly be able to relax while you’re away on vacation.

4 Ways to Prepare for Springtime

Spring will be here before we know it! This season represents a fresh new start. The warm air, budding trees, and birds chirping are all so enjoyable after a chilly winter. So, how can you prepare for the arrival of this rejuvenating season? Start with these suggestions.

Spring in Boston — Charles River

1. Clean Your House

Spring cleaning is an age-old tradition. And indeed, this is the perfect time of year for a thorough, deep clean. Most people like to go room by room, as this makes it easy to divide the whole-house cleaning across a few days. Some important cleaning tasks to include are:

  • Pulling furniture away from the walls to clean behind it.
  • Wiping down ceiling fan blades and vent covers.
  • Washing your curtains or window treatments.
  • Cleaning light fixtures.
  • Wiping down window sills.
  • Changing your furnace and air conditioner filters.
  • Wiping down baseboards and doorframes.

2. Re-Organize Your Closets

How much stuff has accumulated in your closet that you no longer use? Spend a day sorting through your clothing. Donate anything you no longer need to charity, or throw it away if it is torn or stained.

This is also the perfect time to take winter clothes out of your closet and put your summer clothing in. Take your winter clothing, coats, and comforters to the dry cleaners before packing them into storage for the spring.

3. Restock Your Medicine Cabinets

Go through your medicine cabinet, and get rid of any expired medications. Then, head to your local pharmacy, and purchase items to restock your cabinet.

Make sure you have basic medications, such as pain relievers and anti-nausea drugs, on-hand. Stock some basic first aid supplies, like Band-Aids and antibiotic cream, too. You can even pick up your Rx refills at the same time to save yourself a trip.

4. Check Your Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Spring is also a good time to check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Look at the date on the back to see if the device is due to be replaced. Also, change the batteries to ensure that if there is an emergency, the alarm will alert you as intended. This is particularly important if you use propane for heating or cooking at home.

The arrival of spring marks a season of renewal and the perfect opportunity for a fresh, new start. With a clean home, an organized closet, a well-stocked medicine cabinet, and safe smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, you’ll be well prepared for springtime.

When There is No Parade on St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day is typically an occasion that calls for big parades and parties in the streets. But since most of us have still not received vaccinations against COVID-19, social distancing is still vital — which means this St. Paddy’s Day will feel a little different. There can still be plenty of fun, safe ways to celebrate the luck o’ the Irish! Here are a few ideas.

1. Plan a Camping Trip

With the weather growing warmer, this is the perfect time to plan a camping trip. Buy some sunscreen at the pharmacy, as you can sunburn even when it’s cloudy. Bring along a propane tank and a small grill, and enjoy a weekend in the woods.

Here are a few fun ways to work a St. Patrick’s Day theme into your camping trip:

  • Have a contest to see who finds a 4-leaf clover first.
  • Prepare a traditional Irish dish, like boiled cabbage and bacon, over the fire.
  • Drink an Irish drink, like Guinness or Bailey’s, by the fire.

2. Have a Costume Party on Zoom

Have everyone in the family make their own St. Patrick’s Day costume. You can dress up like leprechauns, rainbows, pots of gold, or even as a cabbages! Host a family Zoom call so everyone can admire each other’s customers from a safe distance. You could even have a costume content. Reward the winner with some Irish tea or a Guinness (depending on age).

3. Bake Green Cupcakes

This is the perfect St. Patrick’s Day activity for families with kids. Mix up a vanilla cake mix according to package instructions, but add about a half teaspoon of green food coloring to the batter. Bake and cool the cupcakes, then top them with green frosting.

You can also make green cookies and green soda simply by adding a few drops of food coloring.

4. Practice Irish Dancing

​Irish dancing is lively, lighthearted, and fun — just what we all need right now! Look up some Irish dancing routines on YouTube, and do your best to follow along. It’s okay if you don’t master the steps. The goal is to have fun.

Hopefully we’ve inspired you to have some safe St. Paddy’s Day fun during these unusual times. At the end of the day, don’t sweat the cleanup. Save time by using alaundry delivery service, and revel in the luck and joy of the Irish a little longer.

Keeping the Family Safe in Winter

Winter is the perfect season to snuggle up inside and watch the snow fall through the winter. But winter also brings some risks associated with the snow and cold. Here are a few easy ways to reduce those risks, keeping yourself and your family members safe.

Keeping the Family Safe

Keep Fire Safety in Mind

Fire is warm and comforting, but also dangerous. If you use a candle to create ambiance, make sure you put it out before you go to bed. Don’t leave a candle burning alone in a room, either.

Also, be careful with space heaters. Make sure you clear anything flammable away from them. If you use propane for heat, make sure your tank is secure. Establish a regular schedule with your propane delivery team, and have your tank serviced periodically to keep it in good shape.

Avoid Slips and Falls

To prevent slip-and-fall injuries, make sure you keep your walkways clear of snow. Use rock salt or another ice melting agent to get rid of slick ice. If you have an older loved one, make sure they have winter boots with good traction. Consider having your in-home care provider help you get your older family member in and out of the vehicle on slippery days.

Use Medications to Your Advantage

Visit your local pharmacy, and stock up on medications and remedies that are helpful for winter. Get your Rx refills in advance so you don’t run out of medication during a storm.

Purchase some skin cream to treat dry skin, which is common due to the dry winter air. It’s also smart to keep some cold medicine on-hand, and to use some capsaicin or menthol gel to ease muscles that are sore from shoveling snow and tackling other winter chores.

Dress Warmly

Make sure you and your loved ones have plenty of warm clothing on-hand to protect you from the snow and cold. Consider arranging for a dry cleaners nearby to pick up your laundry items so you can get them cleaned without having to leave your house. This way, you can look your best in clean clothing, but still stay warm.

On cold days, it is best to dress in layers. Opt for breathable fabrics, like wool and synthetics, over cotton.

Winter is a beautiful season, but it does bring about some risks. With the tips above, you can mitigate those risks and remain focused on the seasonal beauty and family time.

One Year into the Pandemic

It was back in January last year when the first cases of COVID-19 were reported in the U.S., and in March 2020, the WHO declared the outbreak a pandemic. We are now one full year into the pandemic. It has been a hard year for everyone, but especially for our frontline workers, the elderly and their caregivers. We may be suffering from COVID fatigue but it is important that we remain vigilant and stay safe. I have some tips to share as we find our way through these difficult times.

COVID-19 coronavirus

Plan for Vaccination

Make a plan to get your COVID-19 vaccine, and help older adults in your life make a plan to get their vaccine. Find out if you can get vaccinated at your favorite local pharmacy; many are administering vaccines to at-risk individuals. Your local health department is another good resource to find vaccination sites in your area. If you live in Massachusetts like me, you can go on MA DPH website for clinics/sites that are currently accepting patients for vaccinations.

In Massachusetts, vaccines go to those who are most at risk first. Your elderly family members who are 75+ may get vaccinated in Phase 1 and those who are 65+ may get vaccinated in Phase 2. If your loved one has an in-home caregiver through a home care agency, they should be vaccinated in Phase 1, too.

Keep Your Home Clean

Although COVID-19 is different from the common cold and flu, the same cleaning practices that reduce the spread of those illnesses will also reduce the spread of COVID-19. Wash your bedding and comforters often, and wipe down surfaces daily.

If your dry cleaners offer germ-free laundry services, take advantage of them — and consider using a laundry pickup and delivery service to minimize interpersonal contact.

Take Care of Senior Loved Ones

If you have older loved ones, do their grocery shopping for them so they don’t have to risk catching COVID-19 in public. Pick up their mail, bring them takeout, and run other errands so they can stay home, where they’re safer. 

Remember to support seniors’ mental health, too. Chat with them on the phone, play games together, or find a new TV show to enjoy together. If you’re feeling burned out caring for a loved one, consider signing up for senior respite care service.

Stay Informed

Dwelling on the news can be stressful, but you should check the news two or three days a week. This will ensure you stay informed about vaccine plans and safety protocols in your area.

Tips for Newbie Pet Owners on Caring for Dogs

Dogs are a great companion for seniors, kids and practically people of all ages. If you’re new to pet ownership, it may seem a bit overwhelming. But even if it sometimes hard work, caring for a dog is SO worth it. Here are some tips for caring for dogs.

Prepare for Dog Hair. EVERYWHERE

It’s just part of being a dog owner. Dog hair gets everywhere. You get used to it. But there are also ways to cut down on the hairiness. Taking the bedding, throws, blankets and other household items to the local dry cleaners every so often is certainly a big help. But you could also invest in a special brush for your fur baby. Brushing a dog at least weekly will cut down on shedding. Long-haired breeds may need monthly trips to the groomer as well.

woman practising yoga with dog at her side.
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Check Out Local Dog Parks

Dogs go nuts with the hoops, hurdles and tunnels in dog parks. They are the perfect way to get them to work out some energy and socialize with other dogs. Most dog parks have certain requirements like registration, updated vaccination records, and a clean bill of health. Make sure you check your town’s community parks website for more information. They may require a special tag before entering.

Special Health Concerns

It’s common for some dogs to develop special health concerns like skin rashes or even GI issues. Sometimes your vet will prescribe meds that can be picked up at a pet compounding pharmacy. For skin concerns, you may want to try special shampoos for sensitive skin. These may have to be specially ordered online, but always check with your local pharmacy or pet store first. Never use products made for people on your dog.

Have Plenty of Safe Toys for the Puppy Stage

Puppies love to chew. It’s what they do. So it’s best to stock up on safe toys specially made for young dogs. Just like babies, dogs go through a teething stage. If they don’t have a toy to chew on, they’ll find something else, like your shoes or clothes. Most vets recommend a combination of soft and hard toys, so your dog will always have a safe option when they get the urge to chew.

With a little preparation and know-how, dog ownership can be lots of comfort and fun. 

Getting Ready for Winter

The colder weather is coming, and we’re still in a pandemic. Putting a little effort into preparing now will make the winter a whole lot easier to handle. Here are some great tips to keep in mind while you’re getting ready for winter.

a house in winter snow.
Photo by Kelly Lacy on Pexels.com

Stay Healthy

Winter is already smack dab in the middle of cold and flu season, and now we have COVID-19 to worry about as well. Stock up on hand sanitizers and cleaning supplies, but don’t hoard! Just pick up one or two extra each shopping trip until you have a small supply to get you through the winter months. Don’t forget to get your flu shot at the local pharmacy. Now it’s even more important than ever to keep up on your vaccinations.

Stay Warm

Even with lots of preparation, unexpected problems may occur like a broken furnace or power outage. You don’t want to be without heat in subzero temperatures. Your local pharmacy or supermarket might carry small space heaters. Also, consider buying a power generator, if you don’t have one yet, in case of power outages. If it’s a propane generator, then make sure you get a reliable propane supplier. Now is also a perfect time to take all your winter coats and down comforters to the dry cleaners, so they’re fresh and clean when you need them. Your summer clothes should be cleaned and put into storage too, if you still haven’t done so.

Prep You and Your Family’s Skin

Harsh temperatures can wreak havoc on the skin. It can even cause some pretty gnarly diaper rash for your little ones. My local compounding pharmacy in Newton makes a fantastic diaper rash cream called Baby Ease, which you can buy online. Make sure you have plenty of body lotion and rash cream, which, of course, can be found at your local pharmacy.

Check on Your Loved Ones

If you have elderly parents or loved ones who live alone, make sure you check in often during the winter. You may even want to consider getting companion care services from a home care agency. Even if your elderly loved ones are still healthy, the cold months can bring in the winter blues. A professional caregiver can keep an eye on your loved one’s behavior as the nights get longer, watching for mood changes. Home caregivers are also trained to provide meaningful conversation and engage seniors in activities at home. A little extra help and companionship will keep your loved one mentally and physically healthy. 

Hope these simple tips will help you and yours be ready for a safe and healthy winter. 

Dealing with Stress and Anxiety At Home Due to COVID-19

stressed woman in messy home

This is a tough time. COVID-19 has shifted our entire world. Things aren’t back to normal yet, and we have no idea when they will be. If you’re already prone to stress and anxiety, this time may be especially hard on you. Or it may be triggering your anxiety or depression. Know that you’re not alone. We’re all in this together. Don’t be afraid to get help, or speak with your therapist about new issues that are coming up due to the pandemic. In the meantime, I have a few ideas to take some of the stress out of everyday activities. Every little thing helps, especially now.

Don’t Worry Too Much About Home Chores

Since we’re home a lot more than usual, there could be some extra pressure to keep your home clean and tidy. But in reality a lot of people have a messy home right now! To take some pressure off, consider hiring a maid service, and taking your laundry to the dry cleaners nearby. They probably offer more services than you realize. If you care for your elderly parents or family members, now is a perfect time to consider hiring an in-home caregiver. Any service that can check some chores off your daily to-do list would be a huge help.

Herbal Remedies

There are plenty of natural remedies to help with anxiety. Herbal teas are always a great way to get a little downtime during the day. Even the ritual of making a cup of aromatic herbal tea and sitting somewhere quiet to drink can be a huge stress reliever. Remember, increased caffeine intake can actually increase anxiety symptoms, so look for caffeine-free teas. If the tea ain’t cutting it, consider some herbal supplements. I know that the pharmacy near me has a wide variety of natural stress and anxiety aids. Your pharmacy may do the same, too. Check them out and ask the pharmacist for suggestions while you’re there.

Don’t Forget About Your Pets

Animals can sense when things are off. If your schedule is different now, and your pet’s routines have changed as a result of the pandemic, they may be feeling some anxiety too. It wouldn’t hurt to check with your vet about possible antidepressants for dogs. Also, making a few extra trips to the dog park during the week can help both of you get some stress relief.

Remember, we’re all feeling the effects of the pandemic right now, and it’s important to take care of each other.

Dealing with Fall Allergies

Many people think of Spring and Summer as big allergy triggers. But actually, Fall can be quite the culprit as well. Ragweed is rampant in autumn and can cause all sorts of problems for allergy sufferers like coughing, red and itchy eyes, and sneezing. Mold and dust mites can be another Fall allergy trigger, especially since you tend to spend much more time indoors. Here are some ways to prepare for and deal with fall allergies.

Stock up on Allergy Meds

Having everything you need for an allergy attack ready and waiting is a good idea. Since we’re going into flu season, and still have the effects of the pandemic to contend with, stocking up on supplies is key. The local pharmacy near me has everything I need to get a Fall allergy kit ready. Over the counter medications like antihistamines, pain killers, nasal sprays and decongestants are all essential to have on hand. Your pharmacy probably carries some alternative health options that could be helpful as well. Look for vapor rubs and essential oils like eucalyptus or peppermint that can alleviate respiratory allergy symptoms. On the other hand, if your allergies require prescriptions, then make sure you get your prescription refills.

person blowing her nose

Give Your House a Deep Clean

Since dust and allergens tend to accumulate in the fibers of your carpets, curtains, and linens, the Fall is a great time to deep clean your home. You could rent a carpet cleaning machine or hire a cleaning service to deep clean your carpets. For curtains and linens, I find that the local dry cleaner near me is the perfect spot for help. When I mentioned that I have allergies, they said they have hypoallergenic products they could use to treat my laundry items. And don’t forget the bedding! Most dry cleaners clean comforters, bedspreads and other household items. Just be sure to call ahead to check their policies.

Clean or Replace Your Vacuum

This is something that people don’t often think of. But your vacuum can be quite the collector of dust and allergens. If you own a vacuum with a replaceable or cleanable filter, the Fall is the perfect time to do that. Read the manufacturer instructions (you can find most online) for how to replace or clean your vacuum filter and also clean out the bottom brush head. This will not only get rid of stored dust and dirt, but it will ensure your vacuum is working at its maximum power to suck up all those allergens.

Now that you’ve done everything you can to prepare for allergies, enjoy the Fall!

Preparing For Your Labor Day BBQ

We made it to Labor Day, guys! Now, more than ever, it’s important to celebrate whenever we can, even if it’s a little differently than we’re used to. If you’re planning a Labor Day BBQ for your family, or a social distanced version with your neighbors, here are some tips to get you ready.

Hamburgers on a grill

Prep That Grill!

Your grill is always the MVP of any BBQ, and this one is no exception. Make sure you have everything ready to grill up all your favorites. The first step is to make sure you have a full tank of propane, or a bag of fresh charcoal depending on your type of grill. Then make sure you have clean grill-ready utensils like tongs and spatulas.

Plan Your Menu

When planning your Labor Day BBQ menu, keep in mind that grocery stores still have limited supplies of certain ingredients, or that some may be hard to find. The regulars like ground beef for burgers and hot dogs should be readily available. But if you’re planning on something a little special like grilled salmon or kabobs, it’s best to have a Plan B, just in case.

Prep Those BBQ Linens

Now is the perfect time to pull out those red and white checked picnic linens! Your local dry cleaners is the perfect place to get them cleaned quickly. If there’s any stains leftover from last year, be sure to let the dry cleaners know, so they can properly treat them.

Stock Up on Essential Meds

Barbecue foods can mean heartburn for some of us. That’s why our favorite underrated tip is to stock up on antacid and stomach meds. The friendly community pharmacy near me has all the essentials that I need to enjoy our evening safely and comfortably. Yours probably does too.

Enlist Help

If you happen to be caring for an aging parent or family member, now is a great time to think about enlisting the help of a home care agency. Holidays sometimes remind us of all the extra things we’ve taken on over the pandemic, and it’s okay to take a break and get some help.

Once you’ve got everything ready, the fun can begin. Let’s enjoy the time we have with our friends and family and have a great Labor Day!