Food and Drugs Interacting! Who Knew?

Posted on Sun, Aug 30, 2015

SunaHow often do any of us actually think about the potential interaction between the food we eat and the prescription drugs we take?  Sure we read those pages of instructions, potential side effects, and the cautions that come stapled to each prescription, right?  Not.  So we’re sending you some common interactions from our friends at AARP.  In her article, 8 Scary Food – Drug Interactions, Michele Shapiro writes about the surprising Food/Drug dangers.

No Cheese, Please

Wine and beer pair perfectly with aged cheeses. Still, if you’re taking certain antidepressants — specifically, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) such as selegiline (Emsam)— you need to steer clear of all three. The reason: “Foods containing yeast as well as those that have been aged or fermented can cause blood pressure to spike,” says Bola Oyeyipo, a geriatrician based in San Antonio. “And that can increase the chance of stroke.”

A Dairy Don’t

Having a glass of milk every day may be a do, but using it to wash down your multivitamin with iron or your antibiotic (including tetracyclines or fluoroquinolones) is a definite don’t. Here’s why: “When ingested together, the dairy binds to the medicine and forms what’s called a complex,” Oyeyipo explains. “It doesn’t harm you, but less of the vitamin or antibiotic is absorbed.” After taking your pill, wait two hours before drinking or eating dairy products.

Bring on the D

Some anticonvulsants, such as phenytoin (Dilantin, Phenytek), are prescribed not only for epilepsy but also for patients who’ve had a brain injury such as a stroke. The problem is that these drugs limit the absorption of vitamin D and calcium — nutrients that are important to bone

health and key to avoiding osteoporosis in both men and women. One solution: When on anticonvulsants, be sure to get 10 minutes of sunshine a day, take in adequate dairy, and consult a health care provider to see if you might need a supplement, says Burgin Ross, an assistant professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Give up Bananas?

ACE inhibitors such as captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec) and lisinopril (Prinivil) can be your heart’s best friend because they relax blood vessels so blood flows more smoothly. They can also increase the amount of potassium in your body, and too much potassium can cause an irregular heartbeat or heart palpitations. If on an ACE inhibitor, avoid eating large amounts of potassium-rich foods such as bananas, oranges and salt substitutes that contain potassium.

ACE inhibitors such as captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec) and lisinopril (Prinivil) can be your heart’s best friend because they relax blood vessels so blood flows more smoothly. They can also increase the amount of potassium in your body, and too much potassium can cause an irregular heartbeat or heart palpitations. If on an ACE inhibitor, avoid eating large amounts of potassium-rich foods such as bananas, oranges and salt substitutes that contain potassium.

Goodbye to Grapefruit?

A half grapefruit is a great way to start the day — unless you’re taking a cholesterol-lowering statin such as atorvastatin (Lipitor) or simvastatin (Zocor). “Patients should avoid grapefruit entirely when on statins because it increases the side effects of the medication,” Oyeyipo says. The most common side effect? Muscle aches. Interestingly, oranges and lemons are fine to eat with statins.

Leafy Greens Alert

If you’re taking the blood thinner warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven), you may want to regulate your consumption of dark, leafy greens. The clot-preventing drug allows blood to flow more easily by blocking the liver’s production of vitamin K, which is essential to clot formation. But green, leafy veggies such as collard greens, spinach and turnip greens are rich in vitamin K. They’re also healthy, so you shouldn’t avoid them altogether. Instead, eat them consistently — once or twice a week, every week.

Acetaminophen + Alcohol = Trouble

If you suffer from muscle aches, headaches or arthritis, acetaminophen (Tylenol) is probably your go-to analgesic. However, it can cause liver damage, and the chance for severe damage is higher if you drink three or more alcoholic beverages a day. So go ahead and have wine with dinner, but follow the recork rule and put the bottle away after a glass or two to avoid further temptation.

Fatty Foods? In This Case, Yes.

There’s an exception to every rule, and this one’s particularly delicious. When taking antifungal medications such as griseofulvin (Grifulvin V, Gris-PEG) to battle a skin fungal infection go ahead and order the cheeseburger and the fries. “These drugs work best when “These drugs work best when taken with fatty foods,” Oyeyipo says. “I tell my patients to eat something really greasy — the drug’s absorbed better that way.”

Dean  & Draper Cares

Your health is important to us.  We want to provide you with good information that can make a difference in your quality of life – either through news you can use to stay healthy or by answering your questions about health insurance and the best policy for you and your family.  We’re only a phone call away.

Dean & Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  ContactUs.

The recommendation(s), advice and contents of this material are provided for informational purposes only and do not purport to address every possible legal obligation, hazard, code violation, loss potential or exception to good practice. Dean & Draper Insurance Agency specifically disclaims any warranty or representation that acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein will make any premises, property or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation. Under no circumstances should this material or your acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein be construed as establishing the existence or availability of any insurance coverage with Dean & Draper Insurance Agency. By providing this information to you, Dean & Draper Insurance Agency does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you.  The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.

©2015 Dean & Draper Insurance Agency All Rights Reserved.

Topics: Safety, Wellness, Aging Well, Food and Drug Interaction

How Does Long-Term Care Insurance Work?

Posted on Sun, Aug 23, 2015

Jerry_LinvilleAs one of my friends so bluntly put it, “Getting old is not for sissies!”  So my mission is to make the process of getting older comfortable and gracious.  I’m Jerry Linville with Dean & Draper and I can answer your questions about Long-Term Care Insurance.  First let’s start with some basics.

Long-Term Care services are those services designed to assist someone who has lost some or all of the ability to care for him or herself due to an illness, an accident or simply the frailty of aging.

Long-term care includes a wide range of services which help people maintain the normal activities of daily living; activities like bathing, continence, dressing, eating, toileting and transferring (like moving from a bed to a chair or from a chair to standing, etc.). Long-term care services can be provided in your home, in and through community resources or in a formal setting such as a nursing home or assisted living facility.

Health insurance was not designed to cover the long-term care expenses for those who may have suffered permanent paralysis from an accident or stroke, developed Alzheimer's, or perhaps need care as a natural result of aging.

This is where Long-Term Care Insurance comes in. Long-Term Care Insurance has been designed to pick up and provide coverage where Health Insurance leaves off. So in the case where the individual's condition has progressed to the point where he or she requires constant supervision or assistance carrying out basic activities of daily living (like bathing, eating, toileting, dressing and moving about), Long-Term Care Insurance would provide funds to help cover the insured's long-term care expenses. 

To understand how long-term care services are provided, it is first important to understand the overall concept of Long-Term Care. Many people think of Long-Term Care only in terms of being confined in a nursing home due to a complete incapacity. And while Long-Term Care does include and provide for this possibility, the complete picture is that Long-Term Care encompasses a variety of services which are generally divided into four categories:

  1. Home Health Care
  2. Community Care
  3. Assisted Living Facilities
  4. Nursing Homes

Home Health Care

Simply put, Home Health Care is exactly what the name implies - long-term care services provided in your home. More specifically, Home Health Care is care administered in the home by family members or friends with assistance from professional caregivers. For example, a husband taking care of his wife would be considered the primary caregiver and Home Health Care would include any professional and informal caregivers that assist in the home.

Home Health Care Providers offer two types of services:

  Skilled or Professional Caregivers Caregivers include Registered Nurses and Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapists. These are licensed and trained individuals who come into the insured's home and provide a specific service. Once they have completed their task, they leave. Usually their stay will not be much longer than an hour.

  Custodial or Informal Caregivers include Home Health Aides, Personal Care Attendants and Certified Nursing Assistants. Their help would consist of services like preparing meals, light housecleaning, doing laundry and assisting with baths and personal hygiene. They generally spend 4 to 8 hours daily with the patient. These services may also be provided by family members or friends.

Community Care

Community Care goes hand in hand with Home Health Care. Whereas Home Health Care is designed to be provided in the home, Community Care is provided in community resources - outside the home - on a temporary basis with the understanding that the individual requiring care will continue to reside in his or her own home. Additionally, Community Care allows those receiving care to live at home longer by providing a break for the primary caregiver.

  Adult Day Care facilities are equipped to handle adults who need care due to a loss of cognitive ability or loss of ability to perform activities of daily living. Activities of Daily Living are the normal functions one must perform to be able to make it through the day. These include bathing, continence, dressing, eating, toileting, and transferring (moving from a bed to a chair, for instance). Some states require that the definition of the transferring Activity of Daily Living include mobility or the ability to move with or without the use of an assistive device like a cane or walker.

  Respite Care is short-term care designed to provide temporary relief for a primary caregiver who cares for the insured in the home. Many times, Respite Care is provided in a nursing home or assisted living facility that accepts respite care patients.

Assisted Living Facilities

When care at home or in the community is no longer an option, Assisted Living Facilities and Nursing Facilities may be considered.

  • Assisted Living Facilities provide apartment or condominium-like settings and 24-hour assistance for those who can, for the most part, live on their own but who also need assistance with personal and custodial needs. Assisted Living Facilities are fast becoming the top choice for long-term care because they provide a combination of independent living and ready care services. In essence, they allow people to remain as independent as their infirmities or illnesses will permit.
  • Nursing Facilities provide daily, 24-hour skilled, intermediate and custodial care. Nursing Facilities provide the highest level of long-term care that you can receive. The level of care one needs at this point is greater than what can be provided at home, in the community or in an Assisted Living Facility.

Considering Your Options

Please contact me if you have questions about Long-Term Care Insurance.  I welcome the opportunity to talk with you, discuss the choices, and answer your questions.  I’m Jerry Linville and my direct phone number is: 281.794.3783.

Dean & Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  ContactUs.

The recommendation(s), advice and contents of this material are provided for informational purposes only and do not purport to address every possible legal obligation, hazard, code violation, loss potential or exception to good practice. Dean & Draper Insurance Agency specifically disclaims any warranty or representation that acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein will make any premises, property or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation. Under no circumstances should this material or your acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein be construed as establishing the existence or availability of any insurance coverage with Dean & Draper Insurance Agency. By providing this information to you, Dean & Draper Insurance Agency does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you.  The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.

©2015 Dean & Draper Insurance Agency All Rights Reserved.

Topics: Long-Term Care Insurance, Aging Well

Stepping Into the Future With Dean & Draper Insurance Agency

Posted on Wed, Aug 19, 2015

Kyle DeanDuring the first six months after his sudden father’s passing in July 2013, Kyle Dean ran the family business by constantly asking himself, “What would Dad do?” The late Bob Dean is a legend in the insurance industry and among friends. Well known for successfully building his business from the ground up and providing personal service second to none, as well as for his kindness and one-liners, the senior Dean was a hard act to follow. Kyle Dean’s biggest challenge in becoming the president and CEO of Dean & Draper was not the workload or the pressure that comes with the position; it was the constant struggle of trying to run the business as his father’s versus of his own.

Then one day a wise mentor and friend told him, “It’s your company now. Do it the way you would do it. That’s what your father would have wanted.” From that day on, Kyle took the reigns and began running his company. Besides being a wonderful father, Bob was Kyle’s closest friend and trusted mentor. As Kyle grew in the business, Bob often turned to Kyle to toss around ideas and make joint decisions on vital issues. The two shared a mutual respect and mutual influence in business matters. Though they have unique personalities and management styles, the two share the same values and ideals, and it shows in the day-to-day rhythm of the agency.

Nurturing A Family Culture

Dean & Draper has been a family business since its inception 35 years ago. Both Bob and Kyle view the staff as an extension of their family. Kyle’s philosophy is that home life affects work, and work affects home life. In order to help people maintain that healthy balance, he strives to create and maintain an environment where people love to come to work. And his door is truly always open. Pride can be a devastating stumbling block, Kyle says. That’s why the staff is an integral part of the decision-making process. He wants to hear from the team about what is working and what isn’t, what they appreciate and what falls flat, so that he can make the best possible choices for the company, its people and their clients. “You can’t please everyone,” says Kyle Dean, “but if I can please the majority, I feel like I’ve accomplished something.”

Employees say the culture has not changed throughout their tenure, whether they have been with the company for a short time, or from the beginning. They work hard, play hard and treat each other like family. On any given day, you can walk the halls of Dean & Draper and hear people laughing and visiting. Socializing is not frowned upon though, nor is Kyle a micro-manager. He believes in hiring responsible adults who mirror the integrity and values of the Dean & Draper family, setting standards for performance, giving them the tools they need, and then getting out of the way so they can do their jobs while enjoying their work environment.

“The insurance business impacts many personal aspects of an individual, and can be quite stressful,” says Ralph Howard, Chief Operating Officer of Dean & Draper. “We encourage a balance between work and fun, and we find that people do a better job when they’re happy.” To show appreciation for their hard work and loyalty, the company regularly hosts social events, such as half-days spent at Dave & Busters, ice cream socials and Easter egg hunts. The Dean & Draper folks like to get together over food and games, just like any other family.

Catching Up With Dean & Draper

In the wake of Bob Dean’s passing, you could feel the sadness in the air and see the fear in the eyes of the staff. They had lost their leader and the head of the family. As they mourned the loss, they couldn’t help but wonder about their future and that of Dean & Draper. While Kyle was already a well-respected member of the management team and Bob’s right-hand man, no one knew what would happen next. Everyone held their collective breath . . . including the insurance industry as a whole.

With regard to the agency, Kyle’s first concern was the staff, knowing that they must be mourning, and simultaneously worrying about job security. Stepping into his role as their new leader, he returned to work quickly and reassured them that there was no cause for concern. In the days and weeks following Kyle’s succession as president and CEO, he received several offers to sell the company. However, Kyle had no intention of walking away from the agency and home he and his father built. In a 2013 press release, Kyle put everyone’s uncertainty to rest. “We are strong and we are moving forward,” he said. It’s business as usual at Dean & Draper. I am humbled and honored by my father’s faith and trust in me to carry on his legacy.”

Fast forward two years, and the agency is indeed going strong. The same management team is still in place, demonstrating Dean & Draper’s rock solid foundation and ability to withstand change. “The staff has adjusted well to the shift in leadership,” says Howard. “It didn’t take them long to see that Kyle was going to take control, take advice and take action.” Employees describe Kyle as warm and friendly with a dose of pragmatism, and they have complete confidence in him.

The relationships with carriers that Bob, Kyle and the team cultivated over the years remains strong, and the agency continues to thrive. The business grows organically through sales and service, as well as through savvy acquisitions that enable Dean & Draper to expand their offerings with services that complement their current portfolio. Kyle frequently collaborates with partner and cousin Gene Darnell, COO of Dean & Draper subsidiary Benefits Solutions. With 26 years and counting at the agency, Darnell has his finger on the pulse of the business, and is vital contributor to its daily functioning.

Vision for the Future

Kyle likens running a business to chess in that each decision made affects the moves to come. His forward-thinking strategy for the agency is three-fold: people, technology, community. Kyle continues to focus on building a strong, sustainable workforce. He empowers them with the training and tools they need to do their jobs, and maintains the culture of family at the heart of Dean & Draper so they enjoy coming to work every day.

Staying current on technology developments and trends is a large part of providing the tools the staff needs to perform effectively. The agency recently underwent a series of high-tech upgrades to streamline business operations and keep their systems running efficiently. The changes took place behind the scenes in a smooth transition that went virtually undetected by its users. Dean & Draper provides an online service portal that allows customers to review coverage options, access and manage their accounts, and print their insurance cards. Customers can also connect with Dean & Draper through a variety of social media outlets, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Lastly, Kyle believes wholeheartedly in giving back to the insurance industry and the community as a whole. He has served on the board of Independent Insurance Agents of Houston for several years, and will be inducted as its president this September. He was honored to fulfill his father’s final year of duties on the board of Independent Insurance Agents of Texas. He also maintains legislative involvement at a state level to advocate for Houston area agents.

Serving the Community

Last year, Dean & Draper participated in the Chubb Group’s annual charity golf tournament. Chubb donated funds in the name of each winner to the charity of their choice. Dean & Draper chose to designate their $1,500 winnings to Camp Hope, an organization that magnifies the Dean family’s passion for patriotism. The agency went a step further and matched their tournament winnings, for a total donation of $3,000 to help fund the work of Camp Hope. A branch of the PTSD Foundation of America, Camp Hope provides interim housing for military service personnel, veterans and their families as they struggle with combat-related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Each year, the Greater Houston YMCA organizations host the Operation Backpack drive to deliver school supplies to children in need. The Dean & Draper team collected 58 new backpacks and filled them with much-needed school supplies. “Supporting the children of our community and setting them up for successful learning is a crucial investment in our future,” says Dean. “Without the contributions of a caring community, these kids may not have the tools they need to learn and grow up to be productive members of society.”

Bob_Dean_HBJ_Pic

Throughout his lifelong commitment to building a strong agency, the elder Dean crafted a business that would continue to grow and thrive in his absence. The Dean duo worked hand in hand over the years, formulating strategies for the future based on shared values and philosophies. Both agreed the people who make up Dean & Draper are its most valuable asset and the driving force behind the agency’s success.Dean & Draper is a true Texas success story, born here and flourishing as the business grows and changes over time. The company has been named a Top 100 Privately Held Independent Insurance Agency in the U.S. (Insurance Journal), a Top 5 Independent Insurance Agency (Houston Business Journal) and an IIABA Best Practices Agency. Above all other accolades, the character and integrity of the agency are the meaningful and rewarding achievements to management and the entire team, a defining code they live by every day. As a result, Dean & Draper is one of the most respected insurance agencies in the industry, garnering loyalty and respect among their peers.

Now celebrating the Dean & Draper’s 35th anniversary, Kyle follows in his father’s footsteps, but with a new pair of shoes. He continues to uphold the high standards of integrity and quality of products and service that Bob set over more than three decades. And he’s doing it as his own person – the man his father valued and trusted as a business partner for many years. Bob must be so proud.

Topics: Dean & Draper News

Stay Safe During a Hurricane

Posted on Tue, Aug 18, 2015

Smart preparations help protect homeowners in peak hurricane season

Houston, Texas (August 18th, 2015) – Now through late October is considered peak hurricane season. To help homeowners keep their families and their property safe during a hurricane, Dean & Draper Insurance Agency offers tips to help prepare.

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Hurricane preparation tips:“Being prepared in advance and taking the appropriate actions to protect your family and property can help to prevent or mitigate injury or losses,” said Kyle Dean, President & CEO, Dean & Draper Insurance Agency, LP. “Don’t wait for the storm to be headed your direction. Here’s a list of easy-to-do action items that can be completed well in advance and improve your odds of weathering the storm safely.”

  • Create or update a home inventory. It is one of the most important, but often overlooked preparations. Homeowners’ insurance claims are more likely to be processed up to twice as quickly when customers have completed a home inventory in advance of a loss, according to The Hanover Insurance Company, a leading property and casualty insurer. 
  • Stock emergency supplies, including: a battery-powered radio, flashlights, extra batteries, medicines, first aid handbook and kit, and a week’s worth of non-perishable food and water. Other items to have on hand include: prescriptions, pet supplies, plastic sheeting, tape, and toiletries such as diapers.
  • Secure your home: Repair loose boards, shingles, shutters, downspouts—the kind of things that could become greater problems in high winds or torrential rain. If you live near the coast, purchase and store materials you may need to board up windows.
  • Bring items inside your home that could become dangerous as flying objects, including  toys, grills, planters and lawn furniture. 
  • Purchase battery-operated carbon monoxide and smoke alarms if you have a generator you may have to use. To help ensure safe operation, take time to read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. 
  • Develop an evacuation plan, and know where local shelters are located. If you have a furry  friend, be sure you have a list of local shelters and hotels that allow pets.
  • Create a list of key telephone numbers including, family, friends, fire, police, insurance agent’s, etc. that may be needed in the event of an emergency.
  • Sign up for weather alerts. Stay alert about approaching weather and follow advice from local officials to stay safe during storms.
  • Review your homeowners policy with your insurance agent to determine whether you have adequate protection. In particular, consider whether you have flood insurance and if your policy will cover current rebuilding costs. 

About Dean & Draper Insurance Agency

Founded in 1980, Dean & Draper caters to an international roster of clients from six offices, including its headquarters in Houston, Texas. Through a network of more than 200 diverse insurers, the independent company offers the most competitive, comprehensive policies for personal and commercial insurance needs. This National Top 100 agency in Property & Casualty and Top 50 agency in personal policies underwrites in excess of $150 million in annual auto, home, employee benefits and corporate premiums.

The recommendation(s), advice and contents of this material are provided for informational purposes only and do not purport to address every possible legal obligation, hazard, code violation, loss potential or exception to good practice. Dean & Draper Insurance Agency, LP specifically disclaims any warranty or representation that acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein will make any premises, property or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation. Under no circumstances should this material or your acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein be construed as establishing the existence or availability of any insurance coverage with Dean & Draper Insurance Agency, LP.  By providing this information to you, Dean & Draper Insurance Agency does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you.  The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.

©2015 Dean & Draper Insurance Agency, LP All Rights Reserved.

Topics: Hurricane Season, Hurricane Preparedness

Hot Weather Health Emergencies

Posted on Sun, Aug 16, 2015

Fotolia_41675961_XSIn last week’s blog, Tips for Staying Cool in the Texas Heat, we offered some ideas to keep you cool.  This week, we have information from the Center for Disease Control on recognizing heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and heat cramps along with steps to take to help the victim. 

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke occurs when the body is unable to regulate its temperature.  Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided.

Recognizing Heat Stroke

Warning signs of heat stroke vary but may include the following:

  • An extremely high body temperature (above 103°F, orally)
  • Red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating)
  • Rapid, strong pulse
  • Throbbing headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Unconsciousness

What to Do

If you see any of these signs, you may be dealing with a life-threatening emergency. Have someone call for immediate medical assistance while you begin cooling the victim. Do the following:

  • Get the victim to a shady area.
  • Cool the victim rapidly using whatever methods you can. For example, immerse the victim in a tub of cool water; place the person in a cool shower; spray the victim with cool water from a garden hose; sponge the person with cool water; or if the humidity is low, wrap the victim in a cool, wet sheet and fan him or her vigorously.
  • Monitor body temperature, and continue cooling efforts until the body temperature drops to 101-102°F.
  • If emergency medical personnel are delayed, call the hospital emergency room for further instructions.
  • Do not give the victim fluids to drink.
  • Get medical assistance as soon as possible.

Sometimes a victim's muscles will begin to twitch uncontrollably as a result of heat stroke. If this happens, keep the victim from injuring himself, but do not place any object in the mouth and do not give fluids. If there is vomiting, make sure the airway remains open by turning the victim on his or her side.

Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat-related illness that can develop after several days of exposure to high temperatures and inadequate or unbalanced replacement of fluids. It is the body's response to an excessive loss of the water and salt contained in sweat. Those most prone to heat exhaustion are elderly people, people with high blood pressure, and people working or exercising in a hot environment.

Recognizing Heat Exhaustion

Warning signs of heat exhaustion include the following:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Paleness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Tiredness
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fainting

The skin may be cool and moist. The victim's pulse rate will be fast and weak, and breathing will be fast and shallow. If heat exhaustion is untreated, it may progress to heat stroke. Seek medical attention immediately if any of the following occurs:

  • Symptoms are severe
  • The victim has heart problems or high blood pressure

Otherwise, help the victim to cool off, and seek medical attention if symptoms worsen or last longer than 1 hour.

What to Do

Cooling measures that may be effective include the following:

  • Cool, nonalcoholic beverages
  • Rest
  • Cool shower, bath, or sponge bath
  • An air-conditioned environment
  • Lightweight clothing

Heat Cramps

Heat cramps usually affect people who sweat a lot during strenuous activity. This sweating depletes the body's salt and moisture. The low salt level in the muscles may be the cause of heat cramps. Heat cramps may also be a symptom of heat exhaustion.

Recognizing Heat Cramps

Heat cramps are muscle pains or spasms—usually in the abdomen, arms, or legs—that may occur in association with strenuous activity. If you have heart problems or are on a low-sodium diet, get medical attention for heat cramps.

What to Do

If medical attention is not necessary, take these steps:

  • Stop all activity, and sit quietly in a cool place.
  • Drink clear juice or a sports beverage.
  • Do not return to strenuous activity for a few hours after the cramps subside, because further exertion may lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
  • Seek medical attention for heat cramps if they do not subside in 1 hour.

We Welcome Your Call

At Dean & Draper, we feel that having good information on the events that could impact your life and the people around you is a part of what we do.  We invite you to call, email, or visit our website if you have any questions about which insurance is best for you.

Dean & Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  ContactUs.

Topics: Safety, Health Tips, Personal Safety, Hot Weather Health Emergencies

Tips for Staying Cool in the Texas Heat

Posted on Sun, Aug 09, 2015

Fotolia_27936337_XSWith the temperatures in Texas rising above 100 for multiple days in a row, beating the heat has become serious business.  Heat-related deaths and illness are preventable and yet in 2014 more than 15 Texans died from heat related causes. 

Heat-related illness is the result of a person’s body’s inability to properly cool itself.  In high humidity areas the Gulf Coast, the body’s usual cooling method – sweating – sometimes isn’t enough causing the body temperature rise rapidly.  Very high body temperatures can damage the brain or other vital organs.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer some great tips for staying cool in our Texas heat.  We’ve listed some of the information from the CDC’s Extreme Heat Prevention Guide below. 

Tips for Staying Cool

Drink Plenty of Fluids

During hot weather you will need to increase your fluid intake, regardless of your activity level. Don't wait until you're thirsty to drink. During heavy exercise in a hot environment, drink two to four glasses (16-32 ounces) of cool fluids each hour.

Warning: If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask how much you should drink while the weather is hot.

Don't drink liquids that contain alcohol, or large amounts of sugar—these actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps.

Wear Sunscreen

Sunburn affects your body's ability to cool itself and causes a loss of body fluids. It also causes pain and damages the skin. If you must go outdoors, protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat (also keeps you cooler) along with sunglasses, and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher (the most effective products say "broad spectrum" or "UVA/UVB protection" on their labels) 30 minutes prior to going out. Continue to reapply it according to the package directions.

Monitor High-Risk Individuals

Although anyone at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others.

  • Infants and young children are sensitive to the effects of high temperatures and rely on others to regulate their environments and provide adequate liquids.
  • People 65 years of age or older may not compensate for heat stress efficiently and are less likely to sense and respond to change in temperature.
  • Overweight people may be prone to heat sickness because of their tendency to retain more body heat.
  • Those who overexert during work or exercise may become dehydrated and susceptible to heat sickness.
  • People who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure, or who take certain medications, such as for depression, insomnia, or poor circulation, may be affected by extreme heat.

Do Not Leave Children or Pets in Cars

Even in cool temperatures, cars can heat up to dangerous temperatures very quickly. Even with the windows cracked open, interior temperatures can rise almost 20 degrees Fahrenheit within the first 10 minutes. Anyone left inside is at risk for serious heat-related illnesses. Children who are left unattended in parked cars are at greatest risk for heat stroke, and possibly death. When traveling with children, remember to do the following:

  • Never leave infants, children or pets in a parked car, even if the windows are cracked open.
  • To remind yourself that a child is in the car, keep a stuffed animal in the car seat. When the child is buckled in, place the stuffed animal in the front with the driver.
  • When leaving your car, check to be sure everyone is out of the car. Do not overlook any children who have fallen asleep in the car.

Next week: Recognizing the Signs and Treating Heat Related Illness

Taking Care of You and Yours

At Dean and Draper we are serious about providing you with the right insurance for you, your family, and you business.  We always welcome your calls and questions.

Dean & Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  ContactUs.

Topics: Safety, Health Tips, Staying Fit, Health Alert - Staying Cool

Tech Trends for 2015 - Tech Alert

Posted on Mon, Aug 03, 2015

dataWondering what’s next in technology?  With the advances in the past few years, it’s easy to think the sky is the limit - and it is.  So what does that mean for your business?  At the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando, David Cearly, vice president and Gartner Fellow states “We have identified the top technology trends that organizations cannot afford to ignore in their strategic planning processes.” 

We have selected a few of the Gartner trends for this post.  To see the complete list, click here.

Computing Everywhere

As mobile devices continue to proliferate, Gartner predicts an increased emphasis on serving the needs of the mobile user in diverse contexts and environments, as opposed to focusing on devices alone.

"Phones and wearable devices are now part of an expanded computing environment that includes such things as consumer electronics and connected screens in the workplace and public space," said David Cearley.

3D Printing

Worldwide shipments of 3D printers are expected to grow 98% in 2015, followed by a doubling of unit shipments in 2016. 3D printing will reach a tipping point during the next three years as the market for relatively low-cost 3D printing devices continues to grow rapidly and industrial use expands significantly, Gartner says. New industrial, biomedical and consumer applications will continue to demonstrate that 3D printing is a real, viable and cost-effective means to reduce costs through improved designs, streamlined prototyping and short-run manufacturing.

Advanced, Pervasive and Invisible Analytics

Analytics will take center stage as the volume of data generated by embedded systems increases and vast pools of structured and unstructured data inside and outside the enterprise are analyzed.

Smart Machines

 Advanced algorithms will allow systems to understand their environment, learn for themselves and act autonomously. Prototype autonomous vehicles, advanced robots, virtual personal assistants and smart advisors already exist and will evolve rapidly, ushering in a new age of machine helpers. The smart machine era will be the most disruptive in the history of IT, Gartner predicts.

Cloud/Client Computing

The convergence of cloud and mobile computing will continue to promote the growth of centrally coordinated applications that can be delivered to any device. "Cloud is the new style of elastically scalable, self-service computing, and both internal applications and external applications will be built on this new style," Cearley says. "While network and bandwidth costs may continue to favor apps that use the intelligence and storage of the client device effectively, coordination and management will be based in the cloud."

Risk-Based Security and Self-Protection

All roads to the digital future lead through security. However, in a digital business world, security cannot be a roadblock that stops all progress. Organizations will increasingly recognize that it is not possible to provide a 100% secure environment. Once organizations acknowledge that, they can begin to apply more-sophisticated risk assessment and mitigation tools. On the technical side, recognition that perimeter defense is inadequate and applications need to take a more active role in security gives rise to a new multifaceted approach.

So, whether it’s the Jetsons or Orwell, we’re all headed for more technology in just about every corner of our lives.  One thing for sure, the need for insurance protection will be with us throughout the journey.  If you have questions about your insurance, please call.  We’re here to support you.

Dean & Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  ContactUs.

Topics: Tech Alert

To Buy or Not to Buy Rental Car Insurance

Posted on Sun, Jul 26, 2015

Rental_CarRemember the last time you were standing at the rental car counter holding that contract that is pages long and in really small print?  Did you hesitate in the section about insurance?  That’s the point where you have to decide to buy or not to buy the rental company’s insurance.  Ugh! What to do?

The Insurance Information Institute has some great tips on making that decision in their article Rental Car Insurance.  Some of their ideas are included below.

Make two phone calls before you rent a car

Call Your Insurance Company

If you own a car, find out how much coverage you already have. In most cases, whatever insurance and deductibles provided by your auto policy would apply to a rental car, providing you are using the car for recreation, not business. However, if you have dropped either comprehensive or collision on your own car as a way to reduce costs, you will not be covered if your rental car is stolen or damaged in an accident.

Ask if your insurance company pays for administrative fees, loss of use or towing charges. An insurance rider may be available to cover some of these costs, which would make it less expensive than purchasing coverage through the rental car company.

Talk to Your Credit Card Company

Most credit card companies provide some level of insurance for rental cars.  Call the toll-free number on the back of the card you plan to use to rent the car.  Ask them to send you the rental car coverage information in writing.  Usually the credit car benefits are secondary to either your personal auto insurance policy or the coverage offered by the rental car company.

Insurance benefits differ widely by both the credit card company and/or the bank that issues the card, as well as by the level of credit card used. Credit cards generally do not provide personal liability coverage. Some credit card companies may provide coverage for towing, but may not provide for diminished value or administrative fees.

Considering Alternative Rental Options?

The Internet has made other alternatives to brick and mortar car rental companies easy to find.  Like Peer-to-Peer car services which enable consumers to rent personally owned cars from others and car sharing programs allowing consumers to pick up cars in a wide range of locations for short or long periods of time and usually require a monthly or annual fee.

Car Sharing and Peer-to-Peer Car Rental Insurance

The insurance offered by these companies is not standardized. It is therefore important to go to the company’s website to read the insurance coverage information carefully. If you have any questions, call the customer service number listed on the website. And contact your auto insurer if you feel you need more information to make an educated insurance coverage decision.

Need Some Help Sorting Out the Options?

That’s exactly what we are here for – to answer your questions and to  meet your insurance needs.  We welcome your calls.

Dean & Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  ContactUs.

Topics: rental car insurance, credit cards and car rental insurance, auto insurance

Combating Cybercrime on a SMBs Budget

Posted on Sun, Jul 19, 2015

binarycodebluetunnel366Which businesses are most frequently the victims of a cybercrime?  Most of us immediately think of the massive cyber breaches of Target, Neiman-Marcus,  Blue Cross Blue Shield, CVS, and Walmart to name a few.  According to Verizon’a 2013 Data Breach Investigations Report, 71% of the data breaches investigated by the company’s forensic analysis unit targeted small businesses with fewer than 100 employees.  Of that group, businesses with less than 10 employees were the most frequently attacked.  Small to medium sized businesses (SMBs) are now a major target for cyber attacks.

Our friends at Atiwa Computing Inc. have provided an eGuide – Combating Cybercrime on a SMBS Budget.  We have selected the excerpts below from their publication to share with you. 

To Stay Secure an Good Defense is the Best Offense

SMBs must understand that the time has come to get serious with their security. Sadly, many small businesses have a false sense of security. In the McAfee/ Office Depot joint survey of 1000 SMBs, over 66% were confident in the security of their data and devices despite admitting to obvious flaws.

Cybercrime is only one cause of compromised data. There are 3 primary causes of breached security at businesses according to the June 2013 Symantec Global Cost of a Data Breach study. Only 37% are attributed to malicious attacks. The remaining 64% are human error and technology errors.

Data breaches aren’t always about bad people doing bad things. Many are the result of good employees making mistakes or of technology failure. SMBs don’t necessarily need a large budget or dozens of employees to adequately protect sensitive data. A secure environment is possible even on a SMBs budget. Here are a few steps to improving data and network security.

STEP 1: KNOW ALL DEVICES CONNECTING TO YOUR NETWORK

Keep a frequently updated list of every device that connects to your network. This inventory is especially important given today’s BYOD (Bring-Your-Own-Device) workplace where employees can access your network through several different devices. Knowing what these devices are and ensuring they’re all configured properly will optimize network security.

All it takes is a regularly scheduled review to add or remove any devices and affirm that every endpoint is secure. Much of this process can be inexpensively automated through a Mobile Device Monitoring (MDM) tool.  A MDM tool will approve or quarantine any new device accessing the network, enforce encryption setting is sensitive information is stored on such a device, and remotely locate, lock, and wipe company data from lost or stolen devices.

STEP 2: EDUCATE & TRAIN EMPLOYEES

Every employee should participate in regular general awareness security training. This will not only reduce security breaches directly tied to employee error or negligence but also train employees to be on the defense against cybercrime. Employees are critical to your security success and the prevention of data breaches. Hackers commonly break into networks by taking advantage of unknowing employees. Phishing attacks – legitimate looking emails specifically crafted to mislead recipients into clicking a malicious link where they’re asked to provide their username and password - are still successfully used by hackers to capture login credentials.

If a large company makes the news for a data breach tied to an infected email, be sure to share that news with employees with a warning. Come up with fun ways to teach employees how to identify spearphishing email attempts and better secure their systems and devices.

It is also important to have a security policy written for employees that clearly identifies the best practices for internal and remote workers. For example, password security is critical and passwords should be frequently updated to a combination of numbers, lower case letters and special characters that cannot be easily guessed. Security policy training should be integrated into any new employee orientation. This policy should be updated periodically. More important than anything, this security policy must be enforced to be effective.

STEP 3: PERFORM AN AUDIT OF SENSITIVE BUSINESS INFORMATION

If you want to keep your most sensitive business information secure, it’s important to know exactly where it’s stored. A detailed quarterly audit is recommended.

STEP 4: USE CLOUD AND MANAGED SERVICE PROVIDERS

Overall, the cloud is likely a more secure data solution for small business. Any conception that the cloud isn’t safe is outdated. Most of 2013’s security breaches were the result of lost or stolen devices, printed documents falling into the wrong hands, and employee errors leading to unintended disclosures. It’s fair to speculate that many of these breaches wouldn’t have occurred had this information been stored in the cloud rather than computers, laptops, and vulnerable servers.

SMBs with limited budgets are actually enhancing their security by moving to the cloud. Since there is no way a SMB can match a large enterprise’s internal services, moving services like emails, backups, and collaborative file sharing to the cloud not only reduces total-cost-of- ownership, and gives access to top-level security to better defend against internal and external threats.

Meanwhile, a Managed Service Provider (MSP) can assume responsibility for security measures like the administering of complex security devices, technical controls like firewalls, patching, antivirus software updates, intrusion-detection and log analysis systems.

MSPs are also capable of generating a branded risk report for any potential client or business partner reviewing your security measures. This third-party manual assessment of your network security can instill confidence in prospective business partners by proving to them that any possible security risks or vulnerabilities will be properly managed and addressed.

ATIWA Computing Inc. is ready to answer your cyber breach prevention questions.  We hope that the information in this article will be useful in protecting your business. 

At Dean & Draper we are your source for information and choices for your cyber breach insurance protection.  We welcome your calls.

Dean & Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  ContactUs.

Topics: Tech Alert, Cyber Liability Inaurance, Cybercrime

Vacation Security for You Home

Posted on Sun, Jul 12, 2015

Multi-Generation Family Unpacking Car On Camping Trip © flairimagesJuly is the most popular month for vacations, with 44 percent of Americans taking at least one summer vacation saying they would vacation that month according to Morpace Omnibus. 

The FBI reports that crime rates increase approximately 10% in June, July, and August.  87% of burglaries are considered preventable and that approximately 30% of all burglaries are committed without force courtesy of an unlocked door or window.  The simple reason for the crime rise could be because people let their guards down. In the rush to get ready for vacation, home security is often forgotten.

The moral of this story is to take a few extra minutes to secure your home before you take off on that well deserved vacation. Here are some tips to help you relax on vacation knowing your home is safe and secure.

Burglars won't find your home an "easy mark" if they are forced to work in the light, if they have to take a lot of time breaking in, or if they can't break in without making a lot of noise.  Research shows that if it takes more than four or five minutes to break into a home, the burglar will go elsewhere.

Below are some tips from our friends at the Insurance Information Institute.  

Take Time to “Case” Your Home

Where is the easiest entry?  How can you make it more burglar-resistant?

  • Trim trees and shrubs near doors and windows and think carefully before installing a high, wooden fence around your back yard.  High fences and shrubbery can add to your privacy and also be an asset to a burglar. 
  • Force any would-be burglar to confront a real enemy – light.  Exterior lights and motion detectors mounted out of easy reach can reduce the darkness a burglar finds comforting.
  • Simple security devices – nails, screws, padlocks, door and window locks, gates, bars and bolts – can increase the amount of time it takes to break into your home.
  • Invest in a burglar alarm.  The most effective ones also notify an outside monitoring service.
  • Are any of your valuables—paintings, a silver collection or a computer—easy to see from outside the house? Rearranging your furnishings might be advisable if it makes your home less inviting to criminals. 

Vacation Tips

  • Stay off social media. Don’t post travel plans, “check-in”, or post photos while you are away.
  • Have mail and packages picked up, forwarded, or held by the post office.
  • Lower the sound of you telephone ringer and answering machine so they can’t be heard outside.
  • Arrange to have your lawn mowed.
  • Stop newspaper deliveries.
  • Ask a friend or neighbor to pick up “throw away” newspapers and circulars.
  • Use automatic timers to torn lights on and off in various parts of the house at appropriate times.  Consider connecting a radio to a timer.
  • Tell police and dependable neighbors when you plan to be away and join with your neighbors to keep a close watch on what’s happening in your area.
  • Put all tools and ladders away after you’ve used them. Ladders can be used to climb in second story windows and tools like hammers or screwdrivers can be used to gain entry.

At Dean & Draper we wish you a relaxing and safe vacation.  We also welcome your calls and questions about your home owner insurance coverage. 

Dean & Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  ContactUs.

Topics: homeowners insurance, Home Safety, Vacation Tips Protect Home, Prevent Home Burglaries