Articles and News

Winning the Fight Against Allergies at the Lake

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More than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies each year, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Most of these are from harmless outdoor plants. But good luck trying to tell your sinuses that! If your allergies are keeping you indoors at your lake house, they can all but ruin your summer. Here are some helpful tips on making a battle plan to beat lake allergies.


Know your Enemy

The most common culprits for lake allergies are pollen, dust, mold, animal dander, and chemicals (such as tobacco smoke). If you suffer from regular allergy attacks, consider talking to your doctor. You may be allergic to something you never even considered! Getting tested can do away with the guessing game, and help you get relief.

If you know what allergy medication works for you, start taking the medication at the start of the season. This way, the medication can build up in your system.

Treat severe allergy attacks as soon as they come on. You may want to tough it out, but a severe allergy attack can quickly turn into a full-blown sinus infection.


Have a Battle Plan

A little forethought will save you and your nose a great deal of heartache (nose-ache?) in your battle against lake allergies.

If you are planning a trip to the lake, and sensitive to pollen or mold, check your local news to see the pollen and mold count. Be sure to pack your medication if the count is high, and limit your physical activity outdoors.

Here’s a little-known fact: synthetic fibers have a static charge that actually attracts pollen! Wearing natural fibers, such as cotton or wool, will actually give you a head start in beating pollen.

If your allergies are severe enough to require an epipen, be sure to pack it! Make sure you aren’t the only one who knows where it is and how to use it, too.


On the Homefront

Allergens can build up in a home, especially on the lake. A little cleaning can make your lake home a safe haven from pesky allergens.

Experts recommend changing out an air conditioner every six to twelve months for a vacation home, and every 90 days for a standard dwelling. Add a dog or cat, and you should change it every 60 days.

If you have water equipment (such as life preservers), try not to store them in the house (such as a closet). Even if kept clean, these can be a source of mildew and mold. Keep water equipment in the garage or shed, and make sure they dry out completely before storage. Doing this can cut down on your lake allergies much more than you might think.

After you come inside, leave your shoes at the door to avoid tracking pollen and dust everywhere.

Wash and dry your linens, blankets, and towels regularly. Curtains and other upholstery should be washed at least once a year, as well.

If you use a humidifier, be sure to clean it regularly so it doesn’t become a breeding ground for mold or bacteria.


“We shall fight on the beaches…”

Allergies related to lake water itself are typically mild. Children, or those with sensitive skin, may be especially susceptible. These usually stem from an allergic reaction to algae or mold, and can often be avoided by quickly showering after a dip in the lake.

If someone experiences tingling, itching, or burning of the skin after a swim, “swimmer’s itch” may be to blame. This is caused by contact with certain seasonal, microscopic parasites that can infest lake-dwelling wildlife, primarily snails.

Contact with these parasites irritates the skin, and can cause a rash, or even blisters. The rash typically pops up within hours or days of contact with the water.

Fortunately, there are no further health effects. Swimmer’s itch typically goes away on its own after roughly a week. Corticosteroid cream, cool compresses, and other anti-itch creams can soothe the outbreak.

To reduce the risk of swimmer’s itch, avoid swimming in areas of the lake where it is a known problem, or where signs have been posted warning of unsafe water. Avoid wading in areas with large numbers of snails, as well. Areas of the lake where swimmer’s itch occurs are not “off limits” forever, but should be avoided for at least a few weeks.

For more information on swimmer’s itch, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s webpage.



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Navigating Boating Jargon on the Lake

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Boat JargonDo you love boating, but have trouble speaking the language?

Are you sunk when people throw around boating jargon, terms, and lingo when boating?

Do you look around lost when someone says there are “fish jumping off the starboard bow”?

We’re here to help!

Here are 40+ of the most common nautical terms on the lake. This cheat sheet won’t make you a ship’s captain, but you’ll be able to hold your own on the waves.

Boating Terms

Aft: the rear part of a boat, behind the middle of the vessel (see “fore”).

Anchor: object designed to stop the drift of a boat; usually a metal, plough-shaped object designed to sink into the lakebed or ground, and attached to the vessel via a line or chain.

Ashore: on or moving towards the beach or shore.

Bearing: the horizontal line of sight between two objects (typically between a boat and its destination).

Below decks: any of the spaces below the main deck of a vessel.

Bow: the front of a vessel (either side or both).

Bowline: a type of knot that produces a strong, fixed loop, commonly used in sailing or mooring.

Breakwater: structure built on a coast or shoreline to protect against waves and erosion.

Buoy: a floating object of defined shape and color, anchored at a set location to aid in navigation.

Bunks: wooden supports on which a boat rests while it’s being transported in a trailer.

Capsize: when a boat turns onto its side or completely upside down in the water.

Cast off: to undo all mooring lines in preparation for departure.

Channel: a portion of a waterway that is navigable by boat, usually marked.

Chart: a map used for navigation on the water.

Cleat: sturdy metal fittings to which a rope can be fastened (usually to moor a boat, fixed on docks and/or boats themselves).

Current: the natural, horizontal flow of water.

Deck: the permanent covering over a compartment or hull (usually the main walking surface).

Downstream: Direction in which the current is moving, or an object in that direction.

Draft: the vertical distance between the waterline and the bottom of a boat’s hull. This is important to know in order to prevent running aground.

Echo sounder: electronic device that uses sonar to measure the depth of water under a boat.

Fender: cushioning device hung on docks and the sides of vessels to prevent damage to them.

Fore: part of the vessel towards the front, or bow (see “aft”). Here’s a tip to remember the difference between “fore” and “aft.” If you’re in the boat, “fore” is facing “forward,” and “aft” is what is “after” the boat.

Gunwale: the upper edge of a boat’s hull.

Hull: the outer shell and framework of a ship.

Idle speed: the slowest speed at which steering is possible for a boat; the boat shouldn’t produce a wake at this speed.

Inboard motor: a type of boat motor housed inside the hull, with a drive shaft running through the bottom of the hull to a propeller at the other end.

Knot: a unit of speed, equal to one nautical mile (1.15 miles) per hour. It’s called a “knot” because it was originally measured by paying out a line from the stern of a moving boat; the line had a knot every 47 feet 3 inches, and the number of knots passed out in 30 seconds gave the speed through the water in nautical miles per hour.

Leeward: in the direction that the wind is blowing towards.

Marina: a docking facility for boats, small ships and yachts.

Mast: a vertical pole on a ship with sails or rigging.

Outboard motor: a motor mounted externally on the back of a boat (usually smaller boats). Steering can happen by turning the entire motor on a swivel, or by using a rudder.

Overboard: anything that has gone over the side of the boat.

Personal flotation device (PFD): a life jacket, buoyant vest, or cushion designed to be worn (or held) and keep someone afloat in the water.

Pier: wooden or metal structure that extends into the water from the shoreline, allowing vessels to dock

Propeller: rotating device attached to a boat’s motor that propels the boat through the water.

Rudder: steering device attached under the boat, usually shaped like a blade, which turns to steer the boat.

Sounding: measuring the water’s depth.

Stern: the rear part of a ship.

Upstream: against the current, or the direction from which the current is flowing.

Wake: the turbulence behind a vessel caused by its passing.

Waterline: the line where the hull of a ship meets the water’s surface.

Windward: in the direction the wind is blowing from.

Of course, these aren’t all the boat jargon terms out there. There are hundreds of others! Find more at


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Water Safety for Kids on the Lake

June 23, 2017

Every parent wants their children to stay safe while having fun at the lake. Just a little preparation can help your kids have a fun time on the lake, and build memories you will cherish for a lifetime. Whether they are toddlers or teenagers, water safety can start right now! Here are some water safety […]

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Lake Homes Realty Expands into New York and Connecticut

June 22, 2017

Birmingham, Alabama-based Lake Homes Realty announces it is now licensed and operating real estate brokerage services in New York and Connecticut. This expands the company’s brokerage operations footprint to thirteen states in just over four years. “Our team has done a great job of expanding our business footprint, while still focusing on great service for […]

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Lake Real Estate Market Report for Summer 2017 Now Available

June 21, 2017

Summer 2017 Market Report is Now Available Lake Homes Realty has just released the Summer 2017 update to the firm’s proprietary Lake Real Estate Market Report. Covering nearly 400 lake real estate markets across nine states through the Southeast and Southwest United States, the report is the nation’s most comprehensive look at these markets. This edition of the […]

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Realtor Magazine Features Doris Phillips and Lake Homes Realty

June 21, 2017

Doris Phillips, Chief Operating Officer of Lake Homes Realty, was featured in the May/June 2017 edition of Realtor® Magazine. The feature article, entitled “On Golden Ponds,” is the latest installment in a periodic series of featuring the nation’s most successful and innovative real estate brokers. The article highlights Doris’ growth in real estate through the years. […]

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Top Five Movies set on the Lake

June 13, 2017

On the lookout for some fitting lake movies to Netflix and chill with this summer? Look no further! We’ve pulled together some fun summer flicks that will get you in the mood to spend some time on the lake, wherever you are. Top Five Lake Movies What About Bob (1991) Starring: Bill Murray, Richard Dreyfuss Set on: […]

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Building and Maintaining a Seawall on the Lake

May 31, 2017

Seawalls protect land from erosion by a body of water. If you have seen a seawall on the beach, just know that seawalls on the lake serve the same purpose. Just on a much, much smaller scale! A seawall is usually made of wood, stone, steel, or concrete. In recent years, synthetic materials have become more […]

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Boat Dock Basics

May 30, 2017

Every boat needs a place to call home. Out on the lake, you will see many different kinds of boat dock. Each one comes with its own distinct advantages and drawbacks. If you plan on building a dock on your lake property, or buying lake property with a dock, take a look at these choices […]

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The Hidden Costs of Keeping A Lake Home: Tips for First-time Buyers

May 26, 2017

Our prior article was about the hidden costs of buying a lake home. After you’ve moved in, you will run into several other smaller (or larger) costs. These add up, and the bottom line can catch many first-time homebuyers by surprise. Here are the most common hidden costs of keeping a lake home. Home Repairs Lake homes […]

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