How to Boost Your Immune System This Winter

How to Boost Your Immune System This Winter

It’s cold and flu season, and as a nurse, teacher, or parent, you’re likely surrounded by sniffling and coughing on the daily. So, at this point how can you keep yourself from getting sick?

Look no further; we’ve got you covered with the best tips to help keep you safe and sniffle-free this winter. Follow this guide to protect yourself and help boost your immune system.


Get quality sleep.

Our bodies do important work while we sleep. They repair cells and make proteins that fight infection. Getting enough sleep, and specifically, quality sleep is important to this process. We know it may be hard to get enough sleep when working 12-hour shifts as a nurse or as a parent of young children. Take the time to set yourself up for success with these tips.

    • Set your thermostat to about 65 degrees for optimum sleeping temperature.
    • Create a bedtime routine that does not include devices or television. Sometimes a warm shower or bath can help just prior to bed.
    • Use a white noise machine or wear earplugs to soften distracting noise.
    • Use blackout shades or curtains and/or wear an eye mask.
    • Be consistent with bedtime routines for your children. If your children fall asleep within 15 to 30 minutes of going to bed, they are getting the right amount of sleep.

Pro tip: If you’re having trouble eliminating screens before bed, try wearing blue light-blocker glasses. They will help reduce the light that disturbs your circadian rhythm.


Eat immunity-boosting foods.

It’s easy to reach for prepared foods, microwave meals or vending machine finds. Resist the urge. Instead, fill your diet with the foods that help power your immune system.

    • Choose fresh fruits and vegetables with nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene.
    • Citrus fruits are great sources of vitamin C but so are red bell peppers.
    • Blueberries are delicious as well as nutritious and can help boost your immunity.
    • Broccoli and spinach are both superfoods with vitamins and antioxidants.
    • Garlic and turmeric have immune-boosting properties. Ginger helps decrease inflammation.


Make sure to hydrate.

Water helps our bodies to function. Staying well hydrated helps our bodies circulate blood more easily, which allows our white blood cells to better fight off viruses. It also keeps the mucous membranes in our noses moist so they can catch viral invaders.

    • Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. By that point, you’re already slightly dehydrated.
    • Choose a water bottle you love and bring it with you to work, errands, etc. Get into the habit of sipping throughout the day.
    • If you’re bored with the taste of water, infuse it with lemon or cucumber to help encourage you to drink.
    • Avoid other beverages so that you’ll drink more water. The caffeine in coffee and soda can dehydrate you, which has exactly the opposite effect of what your body needs.
    • Green tea has only a small amount of caffeine, and tea has antioxidants. It’s a good choice if you’re looking for an alternative to coffee.


Reduce your stress.

When we’re stressed, our ability to fight off infection decreases. That’s why managing stress is so important.

    • Take steps to avoid burnout. Slow down and give yourself breaks to protect your mental health.
    • Try meditating, deep breathing, and other relaxation strategies.
    • Incorporate exercise into your routine. Park farther away and walk to your destination. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Plan a workout session that’s easy to fit into your schedule.
    • Laugh more. Make time for the activities that you enjoy with the people who are important to you.


Follow healthy habits.

You can reduce your exposure to potential infections by taking the precautions that can make a difference.

    • Continue proper handwashing habits. Wet your hands and then scrub them for at least 20 seconds with soap. That’s equivalent to humming Happy Birthday twice. Rinse with clean, running water. Use hand sanitizer when soap and water is not available.
    • Reduce allergens in your home to improve indoor air quality.
    • Keep your classroom at a comfortable temperature for learning.
    • Don’t use handkerchiefs. Use disposable tissues and discard them when done.
    • Don’t smoke. Drink alcohol in moderation. Both tobacco and alcohol can affect your body’s ability to fight infections.
    • Keep up to date on your vaccinations

Do you have a way to stay healthy that’s not included in this blog? Share it with us in the comments.


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or

Preparing Kids for the Back-to-School Routine

Preparing Kids for the Back-to-School Routine

It may be hard to believe, but it’s time to think about school. Pretty soon, you’ll be taking those first-day pictures and sending your kids off for another year.

Here’s how to make the transition to your fall routine a painless one and ease your kids into a nice back-to-school routine.


Adjust your child’s bedtime.
Maybe you let your kids stay up a little later in the summer, and sleep in a little bit, too. (We did, too.) But it’s an easy fix to get them back on track.

    • Start by moving summer bedtime 15 minutes earlier each night. Keep that up until you’re back to your child’s school bedtime.
    • Not sure how to calculate the right time to go to sleep—especially if your child is pushing back at an earlier bedtime? Ideally, you want your child to get 9-10 hours of sleep, or at minimum 8, so set the school bedtime accordingly.
    • A bedtime routine, such as bath time and reading can help. So can having the whole family unplug before bedtime. Choose a spot where everyone can charge their devices overnight to manage your child’s screentime.

Pro tip: Buy your child an alarm clock. Have him/her set alarms for bedtime warnings and for morning wakeups. That way, it’s the clock, and not mommy or daddy, alerting him or her that it’s bedtime. An alarm clock has the added bonus of reducing dependence on a cell phone as an alarm.


Organize your child’s closets.
You have a growing child. Chances are, his or her fall wardrobe from last year doesn’t fit anymore. The end of summer is a great time to clean out your child’s closet. A clean and organized closet will help your child more easily pick out clothes as part of his or her school routine.

    • Have your child help you by sorting clothes that fit and don’t fit. Donate the ones your child has outgrown.
    • Make a list of the clothes that need to be replaced.
    • Organize the remainder of the closet to ensure easy access to shoes, clothes, and accessories. Clear out any items that don’t need to be kept there.

Go back-to-school shopping.
Once school starts again, schedules will become busy and it may be hard to find time to hang out together. Use back-to-school shopping as a special bonding time with each child.

    • Schedule shopping trips sooner rather than later or you could be caught up in last-minute, pressure-filled moments rather than enjoyable ones.
    • Shop for school clothes and supplies. Let your child choose his or her favorites, within your budget.
    • Follow up the shopping trip with a nice lunch or special treat like ice cream. Use the time to chat with your child about his/her thoughts on the new school year.
    • Make this a yearly tradition and you and your child will look forward to it for years to come.


Create a homework space.
Get your child thinking about school responsibilities by setting up a homework station. An inviting homework space might just entice your child to do his or her homework without nagging. (By the way, this is a good place for them to complete their summer reading if they haven’t done it.)

    • Find a place in your home without distractions. Ensure that it has good light and comfortable seating.
    • Equip it with the materials your child will need, such as pencils, pencil sharpeners, erasers, and paper.
    • Make sure no clutter makes its way to the homework station. It should remain well-organized with just the tools needed.
    • Set up clear expectations for homework. Reward a job well done.


Set a morning routine.
School mornings don’t have to be a stressful rush. With thoughtful pre-planning, you and your family can keep them under control.

    • Think back to last year’s routine, and make any changes that would help create a calmer, happier morning. Consider new age-appropriate responsibilities as children mature.
    • Make a morning list of responsibilities for each child. Provide simple easy-to-follow steps and discuss them with your child. Print them, laminate them and post them.
    • Rehearse the new routine, with lots of praise and encouragement. Adjust as necessary.


Plan school lunches and snacks.
This is your chance to get healthier and more creative with your child’s school lunches and after-school snacks. Involving him or her in the process will make your child more likely to eat it, too.

    • Research healthy lunch and snack ideas with your child. Write down ones that you both like.
    • Consider creative packaging such as bento boxes.
    • Create a snack station in your pantry and fridge where kids can grab granola bars or snacks, bags of fruit or veggies to add to their lunch or snack on when they get home.


Do a test run.
Chances are that your child is nervous about the new school year. It’s only normal. Try a practice day to get him or her more comfortable.

    • Practice walking the route to school, especially if it’s new.
    • Visit the school and take a tour. Find your child’s classroom, the bathroom, lunch room, etc. (Make sure to call ahead and arrange this visit with the school. You may even get to meet the teacher.)
    • Let your child play in the school playground.
    • Set up a playdate with future classmates.


Do something fun to celebrate the end of summer.
Finally, it’s the end of summer. Plan something fun to commemorate it. This can be an annual tradition each year before school starts.

  • Plan a family beach day or favorite summer outing such as the zoo or amusement park.
  • Plan an end-of-summer get-together with friends. Host a barbecue and make s’mores.
  • Host an ice cream sundae celebration.
  • Let your child choose a favorite summer activity to close out the season.


Your kids are only young once. Enjoy every moment!



This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or

Firework Safety

Firework Safety

The Fourth of July is a day of patriotism and pride. There’ll be BBQs, picnics, and parades all leading up to fireworks displays in towns and cities across the nation.

Family and friends will also gather for their own fireworks displays. While they can be beautiful and fun, safety groups warn to be safe when setting your own fireworks. All too many of us have known or heard about someone losing a finger, an eye, or suffering severe burns from an accident with one of these hot, exploding devices.

On average, more than 11,000 people are injured annually by fireworks. Young adults ages 20-24 are the most likely to be hurt, followed closely by children ages 5-9; most of the injuries occur on the hands and fingers, head, face and the eyes. Ouch! The National Fire Protection Association warns that even “kid friendly fireworks” like sparklers burn at 1,200 degrees – hotter than the temperatures that melt glass, plastics and some metals – inflicting terrible burns.

If you plan on setting off fireworks this year be safe and have fun! But always be sure to take the proper precautions so no one gets hurt. Follow these essential safety tips when you are shooting fireworks this weekend:

  • Never allow small children to play with or ignite fireworks
  • Only light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a firework when lighting it’s fuse and back up a safe distance immediately after lighting
  • Don’t try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person
  • Always keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse it with plenty of water before discarding to prevent a trash fire

Be sure to also protect your home as well! The NFPA also warns that more fires are reported on Independence Day than any other day of the year, and fireworks account for two-out-of-five of those fires.

Is your home protected? Contact a California Casualty advisor to get a quick policy review at 1.800.800.9410 or visit



This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or

Surviving Extreme Heat, Heat Exhaustion, & More

Surviving Extreme Heat, Heat Exhaustion, & More

It’s summertime and temperatures are quickly on the rise!

Extreme heat is more than an inconvenience though; it is a health hazard. It’s extremely important that we do all that we can to avoid overheating and that we all know the symptoms of heat-related illnesses like:

Heat Cramps

These are muscular pain or spasms in the leg or abdomen – often the first sign of trouble. Getting a person to a cooler place and hydrating them with water or sports drinks usually alleviates them.


Heat Exhaustion

This is much more severe with symptoms of:

    • Cool moist pale, ashen or flushed skin
    • Headache
    • Dizziness
    • Nausea
    • Weakness
    • Exhaustion

Treatment includes moving to a cooler place with circulating air, remove or loosen clothing and apply cool, wet cloths or towels to the skin. Spraying a person with water helps as well as giving small amounts of fluids such as water, fruit juice, milk or sports drinks. If symptoms persist, call medical help immediately


Heat Stroke

This is a life-threatening condition. Symptoms include high body temperature (above 103 degrees); hot, red skin; rapid and strong pulse; confusion, and possible unconsciousness. Immediately:

    • Call 911
    • Move the person to a cooler place
    • Cool them with water by immersing them or spraying them
    • Cover them with ice packs or bags of ice

Children and Pets are at Risk

Don’t forget your precious cargo when the weather heats up. We think that it will never happen to our families, unfortunately, each year an average of 37 children and many hundreds of pets die from being left in hot cars. The majority is the result of a parent or caregiver who forgot the child or pet was in the vehicle. Even on a 70-degree day, the inside temperature can climb to a dangerous 110 degrees.

New technology and apps are being developed to warn parents of a child left in a car or truck, and the 2017 GMC Acadia will be the first vehicle with a built-in sensor that alerts drivers to check the back seat for children or pets left in the car. Until these are tested and more readily available, safety groups have mounted campaigns to prevent child heatstroke danger with these warning tips:

    • Never leave a child or pet in an unattended vehicle
    • Keep vehicles locked so children can’t climb in
    • Always check the back seat before leaving the vehicle
    • Place a stuffed toy in the car seat when it’s unoccupied and move it to the front seat as a visible reminder when you put a child in the seat
    • Put a purse, briefcase or other important items in the back seat with your infant or young child
    • Alert childcare facilities to notify you if your child fails to show up
    • Call 911 if you see a child alone in a vehicle and take action if you see they are in distress or unresponsive (break a window and remove them to a cool place and wait for emergency responders)

Personal Safety

When extremely hot weather hits, these are things you can do to alleviate the danger:

    • Drink plenty of water and rehydrating sports drinks
    • Avoid strenuous work during the heat of the day
    • Dress in loose-fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothing
    • Stay indoors as much as possible
    • Never leave children or pets in a vehicle
    • Go to a basement or lowest floor of a house or building if there is no air conditioning
    • Consider spending the warmest part of the day in cool public buildings such as libraries, schools, movie theaters, malls, and other community facilities
    • Spend time at a community pool or water park
    • Check on family, friends, and neighbors (especially the very young or old) who do not have air conditioning

Home Prep has an extensive list of recommendations to help keep your home cool when the temperature rises:

    • Install window air conditioners snugly and insulate them
    • Check air conditioning ducts for proper insulation
    • Install temporary window reflectors (such as aluminum foil-covered cardboard) to reflect heat back outside
    • Cover windows that receive direct sunlight with drapes, shades, awnings or louvers
    • Keep storm windows up

Automobile Prep

Your car takes a beating in extreme heat. It’s a good reminder to:

    • Test your battery
    • Check your fluids – oil, coolant, and wiper fluid
    • Get your air conditioning serviced
    • Inspect all hoses and belts for cracks or tears
    • Carry extra water or coolant



This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to teachers, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.800.800.9410 or

Easy After School Snack Ideas for Kids

Easy After School Snack Ideas for Kids

It’s no secret that kids (and most adults) love to snack, but we all know filling a snack drawer can get expensive. We want to make after school snack-time easier on you (and your wallet), so we’ve compiled a list of easy snack ideas for kids filled with so many recipes, even the pickiest of eaters can enjoy.

The best part is, these are recipes that use ingredients you probably already have at home and you can make ahead of time and grab when you are on the go!

To make it even easier for you, each recipe is linked back to our Pinterest Board: Easy Snacks For Kids, so all you have to do is click on the picture and it will direct you to the recipe!


1. Turkey and Cheese Crescent Rolls

Easy Snacks for Kids


2. 5 Ingredient Ranch Snack Mix

Easy after school snacks














3. Chicken Nugget Sliders

After School Snacks for Kids


4. Apple Monster Cookies

After School Snacks


5. Frozen Yogurt Fruit Bark

After School Snacks


6. Butterfly Snack Bags

Easy After school Snacks


7. Chocolate Dipped Clementines

After School Snacks for Kids


8. Unsandwiches

Kids Snacks


9. Chunky Monkey Bites

Easy Snacks


10. Corn Dog Nuggets

Back to School


11. 3 Ingredient Cereal Bars

back to school snacks


12. Chicken, Bacon, Ranch Pinwheels

after school snacks


13. Energy Balls

Easy Snack Recipes


14. Banana and Nutella Sushi

No Bake Snacks for Kids


15. Pizza Toast

Easy Dinner Recipe


16. Ham, Turkey, and Cheese Roll-Ups

Easy Snack Idea


17. Animal Cracker Parfait

Easy Snacks


18. Cheesy Taco Sticks



19. Puppy Chow

Easy Puppy Chow Recipe


20. Frozen Fruit and Granola Cup

Fruit Cup Recipe


21. Baked Cinnamon Apple Chips

Baked Recipes


22. Banana Splits on a Stick

Easy On the Go Snacks


23. PB, Fruit, and Rice Cakes

Rice Cake Snack Ideas


24. Ham and Pickle Roll Ups

Simple Snacks


25. Frozen Fruit and Yogurt Sticks

Frozen Snacks


Head over to our Pinterest for more easy snack ideas for kids! We have also included ways to organize your snack drawer and pantry. Don’t forget to give us a follow at California Casualty to stay up to date on every new recipe idea we discover! Scan our Pincode with your Pinterest camera to follow:



This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters and nurses. California Casualty does not own any of the photos in this post, all are sourced to their original owners. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or





Heat Stress Prevention for First Responders

Heat Stress Prevention for First Responders

Summer heat is tough for anyone, but firefighters, peace officers, EMTs, and paramedics are at increased risk when heat’s extreme.

First responders are outdoors for extended periods of time, often in the sun. They’re also usually wearing heavy gear such as firefighting equipment, bulletproof vests (for officers), or other bulky protective equipment.

When these factors combine with elevated temperatures, heat stress can set in quickly. So it’s important for first responders and their departments to be well-versed in both the symptoms and best measures for prevention.


Heat-Related Illnesses: A Slippery Slope

Heat stress can progress from mild to life-threatening when symptoms aren’t addressed. Here are the main stages:

  1. Heat Cramps or Rashes – Caused by increased sweating, cramps, and rashes are the first sign of stress.
  2. Heat Exhaustion – At this stage, the body is overheating as a result of excessive loss of water and salt.
  3. Heatstroke – The most serious heat-related illness, heat stroke happens when the sweating mechanism breaks down and is no longer able to cool the body. Heatstroke can be fatal and requires immediate medical attention.

Signs of heat stress aren’t always obvious — brush up on the symptoms of the above conditions here.



Preventive measures can be taken by first responders themselves, as well as their crew members, supervisors, and departments. The most successful heat safety protocols are adopted department-wide and include elements such as:

  • Hydration – Staying hydrated is the most important tactic for preventing heat illness. Although first responders know the importance of hydration, it can easily be forgotten in the middle of emergency situations. Water should be made accessible at all times to first responder crews, with the encouragement to hydrate well and often.
  • Knowing the signs – It’s important that both supervisors and team members know the signs of heat stress, both to self-monitor and to look out for their colleagues. Implementing a buddy system where partner pairs observe each other for signs of heat stress is also a good idea.
  • Rest breaks – Rest periods are essential to ensure that workers can hydrate and cool down. They should occur more frequently when temperatures, humidity, or sunshine increases, when air is stagnant, during especially taxing work, and when workers are wearing protective clothing or gear.
  • Cooling station – Especially when emergency calls are extended, a temporary set up where responders can retreat and take a rest is important. For instance, some fire stations supply their crews with trailers with a large fan and a mister; some have air-conditioned “rehab trucks” for firefighters on extended calls.
  • Training – Before the hot weather begins, employers should provide heat stress training to all workers and supervisors so they’re better prepared. When possible, training should cover conditions specific to that work site or area.
  • Heat alert program – When extreme heat is forecast, it’s important for employers and supervisors to implement a heat alert program, and ensure their workforce is safe and on the lookout.
  • Acclimatization – First responders can become acclimatized to working in hot environments, gradually increasing their physical stamina and sweating proficiency. Acclimatization is achieved through evidence-based training programs provided by employers.
  • Fitness — The risk of heat stress increases with obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, lack of physical fitness, and certain medications. All the more reason for first responders to improve their diet and exercise where they can.


Finally, although not a factor in heat illness per se, extensive sun exposure over time increases skin cancer risk. A 2017 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that skin cancer risk in firefighters is greater than in the general population. Wearing (sweat-proof) sunscreen should be a daily habit.



This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or



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