“Bites” – Itching – Skin Irritations: Keep an Open Mind

Some people encounter “bites,” itching, or skin irritations thought to be caused by insects but no insects can be identified. These are tough situations and I have a great deal of empathy for people desperately trying to identify the causes.

Illusory parasitosis is one name used to describe bite-like symptoms caused by non-animal environmental factors. There is a long list of potential causes for “biting” sensations or skin irritation not caused by insects. The cause may be physical, physiological, psychological or combinations of these factors.

Physical factors may include dry air; static electricity; household or personal products like disinfectants, detergents, cosmetics, or jewelry. Environmental pollutants also may cause skin irritation. These pollutants include microscopic fibers like fiberglass or paper splinters. In addition, indoor air pollution can cause “sick or tight-building syndrome.” Other factors, like allergies and changes in our skin and general health as we age can cause bite-like symptoms. Continue reading

Hot off the press! – Free NEBLINE Newsletter

The NEBLINE Newsletter

The March issue of The NEBLINE newsletter is now on-line. Here are some of the articles featured in this issue – – – – Visit http://lancaster.unl.edu/nebline and click on the link to the March 2015 NEBLINE!

  • 4-H Ag Literacy Teaches Youth Where Their Food and Fiber Comes From
  • Food Safety Questions About Commercially-Canned Food
  • 4-Ingredient Guacamole Recipe
  • Children Act Fast, So Do Accidents
  • Should I Test My Home for Radon?
  • FREE Community Tax Preparation for Low- and Moderate-Income Individuals and Families
  • AARP Driver Safety Program, March 13
  • DriftWatch Specialty Crop Site Registry
  • Soil Temperature Trends for Planting
  • 2015 Vegetable All America Selections
  • Outwitting Wildlife at Bird Feeders – Part II
  • 4-H & Youth News, Events and more
  • …. and much more

If you don’t live in Lancaster County, Nebraska, please make sure to check out your local extension office too. Your extension office has resources for you, your family and community. To find your local office, visit http://lancaster.unl.edu/office/locate.shtml (nationwide listing).

Have a great day!!


Responsive. Innovative. Trusted.
Nebraska Extension provides research-based information to help you make informed decisions any time, any place, anywhere –

Lincoln is a Great Place For Children Because of Mentors

Foster Grandparent Program – I received an inspirational call from Elisa Stutheit, Aging Partners, Foster Grandparent Program Project Director. She thanked us for highlighting mentorships in a recent NEBLINE, Who Mentors Your Children & Grandchildren?

She shared another great mentor opportunity. “Foster Grandparent Program”FosterGranparents478121_335825069788591_1035885146_o. There is also a great article about two current volunteers in the January edition of Living Well, found here, scroll to the bottom of the home page & click on the Living Well icon, choose Winter 2015, and go to pages 6-7. You can learn more about the Foster Grandparent Program in Nebraska on this Facebook page

“Back in the day, in Otoe County, my mom was an extension member & I was a 4-H’er, so I have long appreciated Extension. At work, extension presenters have come to our FGP in-services to speak on a variety of topics from food to bed bugs. This January, I created an FGP journal from the “Happy Healthy New Year” article. I also use NEBLINE information at home & someday will actually use the instructions on how to reseed my yard.” Elisa Stutheit.

Responsive. Innovative. Trusted. – http://lancaster.unl.edu

Maureen Burson, Extension Educator
Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County

Walking Like a Penguin!

University of Nebraska-Lincoln posted quick tips this morning to help us all navigate ice and snow. I chuckled a bit when I watched the video because my kids already tell me I waddle a little – guess I’m doing it right! This video is only 1 minute long.

Stay safe this winter and remember to “walk like a penguin”!


Responsive. Innovative. Trusted.
Nebraska Extension provides research-based information to help you make informed decisions any time, any place, anywhere – http://lancaster.unl.edu

Burn Awareness Week – February 1 – 7, 2015

child burnPediatric Scalds

  • The average annual cost of scald injuries is $44 million
  • Over 136,000 children were seen in emergency rooms for burn in 2011
  • 1,100 children die each year from fire and burns

The American Burn Association give the following information to protect children from burns.


  • Set water heater temperature to no higher than 120°F/48°C, or just below the medium setting
  • Create a “no kid zone” in the kitchen around stoves, ovens and hot items Keep hot drinks/food away from the edge of tables and counters
  • Use travel mugs with tight-fitting lids for all hot drinks
  • Place pots and pans on the back burner with handles turned away from the edge of the stove


  • Leave a child unattended in the bathtub; if you must leave, take the child(ren) with you
  • Allow young children to adjust the water temperature, and when bathing young children, seat the child away from faucets
  • Set anything hot on tablecloths or placemats, as young children can pull them down
  • Allow appliance cords (slow-cookers, deep-fryers) to dangle over the counter edge


Lorene Bartos, Extension Educator, Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County

Families & Divorce

Children and divorceMy children were only ages 6, 4 and 2 when their dad and I separated. After a year of counseling and mediation, we divorced. Twenty years later, my divorce is still something I don’t talk about very often. What is important to share is how important it was to shift from focusing on the issues my ex-husband and I had as a couple, to making sure we stayed partners raising our children.

As divorced or separated parents, we don’t always realize the amount of pain a child feels – no matter what their age. Recently, we were contacted by a volunteer who works with homeschool students. One of the students shared his feelings about divorce and how he sometimes felt caught in the middle. This student happened to find our Nebraska Extension resources on-line and wanted to share something he also had found helpful especially from the child’s perspective: “When a Child of Divorce Visits Parents: Think of the Child” (here’s the **link ).

Nebraska Extension offers programs and resources for families who are going through a divorce, custody modification or paternity proceedings. Co-Parenting for Successful Kids is a class focusing on helping parents understand the impact on their children and provide concrete steps parents can take to help their children succeed through the process. These classes are held throughout Nebraska and are available on-line. If you live outside of Nebraska, contact your local extension office to see if there are similar programs in your state.

Here are some links to Nebraska Extension Resources you may find helpful or would like to share:

Best wishes,


Responsive. Innovative. Trusted.
Nebraska Extension provides research-based information to help you make informed decisions any time, any place, anywhere – http://lancaster.unl.edu

(**Disclaimer: linking to this commercial site does not imply approval or constitute endorsement by Nebraska Extension)