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10 Easy Halloween Safety Tips

October 3rd, 2017 | No Comments | Posted in Live Well, Work Well

Halloween should be an exciting time of year for children and their parents, but too often the celebration devolves into tragedy. This season, make safety the top priority for your family.

Best Practices for Parents

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has compiled a list of Halloween best practices. Follow these tips to keep your family safe.

  1. Always accompany young children when trick-or-treating.
  2. Watch for motorists and cross alleys carefully.
  3. Only visit houses that are well-lit when trick-or-treating.
  4. Use reflective tape or other light-up devices to increase your child’s nighttime visibility, especially when wearing dark costumes.
  5. Do not let children eat strangers’ homemade treats.
  6. Avoid candles and open flames, especially when in costume.
  7. Keep costume accessories soft and flexible (for example, swords or knives).
  8. Examine your children’s treats for choking hazards or tampering before they eat.
  9. Remove any costume makeup before bed to avoid skin and eye irritation.
  10. Make sure costumes and accessories do not impair visibility or inhibit movement.
View more Live Well, Work Well tips here.

Disaster Donation Scams

October 3rd, 2017 | No Comments | Posted in Personal Tips, Trips & Traps

October 2017 Festivals and Events

October 3rd, 2017 | No Comments | Posted in Spotlight on the Community


The Washington, DC area and its surrounding communities in Maryland and Virginia host lots of annual festivals and special events. All dates, prices, and activities mentioned are subject to change, so please check the official website or call to confirm information. Please note that most of these events are held each year and the dates are updated as available.

Pumpkin Festivals – Find out where the best pumpkin patches and fall festivals are in the Washington, DC area.

Best Halloween Events – Throughout the month of October, get spooked at a haunted house, romp around a pumpkin patch or go on a haunted city tour. Find the best Halloween events in the Washington, DC area.

Oktoberfests Near Washington, DC – Find German folk festivals with great beer, food, and live entertainment.

Corn Mazes in Maryland and Virginia – Stroll through a giant corn maze and find puzzle pieces that will complete your own maze map. This is a great family activity.

Fall for Fairfax Festival – Sept. 30-Oct. 1, 2017, 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Northern Virginia’s largest fall festival includes more than 100 interactive activities and exhibits for the whole family.

Calvert County Fair – Through October 1, 2017. Prince Frederick, Maryland. The fair includes a wide range of activities including farm animals, exhibits, musical, entertainment, food, carnival rides, contests and a 4H auction.

DC Design House – Through October 29, 2017. The annual interior design showcase transforms a house by top local designers. The home is open to the public and is a fun place to check out creative home decorating ideas.

Annapolis Sailboat Show – October 5-9, 2017. Annapolis City Dock. Visit Downtown Annapolis and check out the latest in boats and boating accessories.

Mount Vernon’s Wine Festival & Sunset Tour – October 6-8, 2017, 6-9 pm. George Washington’s Estate & Gardens. Wine-cellar tours and live music. Advanced tickets are required.

Taste of Bethesda – October 7, 2017. Bethesda’s famous food and music festival features 50 restaurants and four stages of live entertainment.

Fall Theater in Washington DC – With dozens of performances around the region, here is the schedule of the top shows for the upcoming season.

Maryland Renaissance Festival – Weekends through October 22, 2017. A 16th century English village with crafts, food, live performances, games and lots more. Located in Crownsville, Maryland.

Autumn Conservation Festival – October 7, 2017. Smithsonian Biology Conservation Institute, Front Royal, VA. Get a behind-the-scenes look at our world-renowned science, research, and animal care.

Taste of DC – October 7-8, 2017.  The event will feature tastings and dishes from more than 80 of Washington DC’s best restaurants, eateries and food trucks, a Farm-to-Fork zone, and the chance to get up close and personal with local chefs and winemakers.

White House Garden Tours– 2017 Dates to Be Announced. View the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden, Rose Garden, Children’s Garden and South Lawn of the White House. 

National Fire Prevention Week – October 8-14, 2017. Attention is focused this week on promoting fire safety and prevention.

Charity Walks in the Washington, DC Area  – Throughout the month, there are great charities to support while improving your own health. Find walks in the DC metropolitan area.

Army Ten-Miler – October 8, 2017. America’s biggest 10-mile race attracts 20,000 runners each year. Race begins at the Pentagon at 8 a.m.

Columbus Day – October 9, 2017. The annual wreath laying ceremony honors the life of Christopher Columbus.

National Hispanic Heritage Month – Through October 15. Throughout this month, America celebrates the culture and traditions of Spanish speaking residents who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean.

Fall For the Book Festival – Oct. 11-14, 2017. The regional celebration of literature and the arts features events at George Mason University’s Fairfax, Virginia Campus and at multiple locations throughout the capital region. The festival welcomes nearly 150 authors including some of the nation’s most exciting and provocative writers.

Distribution of Tickets for the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony– October 12-16, 2017. It’s an online lottery! Don’t miss this wonderful holiday tradition in Washington, DC!

Annapolis Powerboat Show – October 12-15, 2017. Annapolis City Dock. Visit Downtown Annapolis and check out the latest in boats and boating accessories.

Bethesda Row Arts Festival – October 14-17, 2017. Bethesda, MD. More than 180 artists display a wide variety of artwork and crafts.

Rockville Antique & Classic Car Show – October 14, 2017, 11 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Rockville Civic Center grounds. Rockville, Maryland. See a display of more than 500 antique and classic automobiles, pumpkin painting, moon bounce, and swing music, by the Rockin’Ville Swing Band.

Sugarloaf Craft Festival – October 20-22, 2017. Montgomery County Fairgrounds, Gaithersburg, MD. Enjoy craft demonstrations, great food and live entertainment.

Patuxent Wildlife Festival – October 21, 2017, 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Live animals and research displays at the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, Maryland.

Northern Virginia Brewfest – October 21-22, 2017, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Bull Run Regional Park, Centreville, VA. More than 40 breweries will feature their best American style beers. Entertainment includes live music and children’s activities such as face painting, air-brush tattooing, moon bounces, and rock climbing.

Boo at the Zoo – October 20-22, 2017. Visit bats, spiders, owls, and other animals at the zoo while trick-or-treating at the National Zoo in Washington, DC. Enjoy animal encounters, keeper talks, festive decorations, and haunted trails at the annual National Zoo’s Halloween celebration. Advance tickets are required.

Mount Vernon Fall Harvest Days – October 21-22, 2017. Celebrate the season with horse-drawn wagon rides, wheat treading in the 16-sided barn, a straw bale maze, early-American games, music and demonstrations.

Kids Euro Festival – October 21- November 5, 2017. The event includes more than 200 free performances around the city staged through the cooperation of the 28 Washington-based European Union embassies and more than a dozen major local cultural institutions. Geared to children ages 2-12.

Marine Corps Marathon – October 22, 2017. The annual race includes a full weekend of events including the Health and Fitness Expo, Healthy Kids Fun Run, and Marine Corps Marathon Finish Festival.

Washington International Horse Show – October 24-29, 2017. Capital One Arena, Washington, DC. The world-class equestrian competition features top riders, Olympic veterans and superstar horses to the nation’s capital for thrilling show jumping, boutique shopping, educational events and more.

DC Drag Queen Race – October 24, 2017. Thousands of spectators flock to Dupont Circle to watch costumed drag queens show off their elaborate Halloween costumes and race down 17th Street.

Day of the Dead – October 31-November 1, 2017. Los Días de los Muertos is a Mexican custom honoring and remembering those who have died. See a guide to special events around the region. Note that some will be held the weekend before.

“Take 3” Actions to Fight the Flu

October 3rd, 2017 | No Comments | Posted in Personal Tips, Trips & Traps

Flu is a serious contagious disease that can lead to hospitalization and even death. 

CDC urges you to take the following actions to protect yourself and others from influenza (the flu): 

Step One

Take time to get a flu vaccine.

 

Take time to get a flu vaccine like this young boy from an older female nurse.

  • CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses.
  • While there are many different flu viruses, a flu vaccine protects against the viruses that research suggests will be most common. (See Vaccine Virus Selection for this season’s vaccine composition.)
  • Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations.
  • Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every year before flu activity begins in their community. CDC recommends getting vaccinated by the end of October, if possible.  Learn more about vaccine timing.
  • Vaccination of high risk persons is especially important to decrease their risk of severe flu illness.
  • People at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with certain chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease and people 65 years and older.
  • Vaccination also is important for health care workers, and other people who live with or care for high risk people to keep from spreading flu to them.
  • Children younger than 6 months are at high risk of serious flu illness, but are too young to be vaccinated. People who care for infants should be vaccinated instead.

Step Two

Take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs.

 

Take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs like this mother teaching her young child to wash hands.

  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
  • If you are sick with flu symptoms, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone for 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.
  • See Everyday Preventive Actions[257 KB, 2 Pages] and Nonpharmaceutical Interventions (NPIs) for more information about actions – apart from getting vaccinated and taking medicine – that people and communities can take to help slow the spread of illnesses like influenza (flu).

Step 3

Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them.

 

Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them like this older woman listening to her doctor.

  • If you get the flu, antiviral drugs can be used to treat your illness.
  • Antiviral drugs are different from antibiotics. They are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaled powder) and are not available over-the-counter.
  • Antiviral drugs can make illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. They may also prevent serious flu complicationsFor people with high risk factors[702 KB, 2 Pages], treatment with an antiviral drug can mean the difference between having a milder illness versus a very serious illness that could result in a hospital stay.
  • Studies show that flu antiviral drugs work best for treatment when they are started within 2 days of getting sick, but starting them later can still be helpful, especially if the sick person has a high risk factor or is very sick from the flu. Follow your doctor’s instructions for taking this drug.
  • Flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people also may have vomiting and diarrhea. People may be infected with the flu, and have respiratory symptoms without a fever.

Visit CDC’s website to find out what to do if you get sick with the flu.

Source: cdc.gov

Motivate Yourself!

October 3rd, 2017 | No Comments | Posted in Personal Tips, Trips & Traps

2 Awesome Ways to Motivate Yourself When You Feel Like Quitting

We all have had times in our lives where we felt like giving up, and what we did next helped define who we are as people. Generally, we’re proud of the moments when we persevere and see our goals to the end rather than abandon them when the going gets tough. 

In this video, Entrepreneur Network partner Ben Angel explains two strategies you can use to motivate yourself when you feel like quitting.

The first is to remind yourself of everything you have to lose by quitting. Think about all the time, money and energy you’ve poured into your project, and you’ll realize that it’s actually more painful to quit than it is to keep going.

Click play to learn more about this and to learn Angel’s second tip.