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Enterovirus D68: Top Tips to Prevent Infection

2 minute read

enterovirus

As fall approaches, more young kids could be heading to the hospital with severe respiratory illness. The culprit is a particularly brutal strain enterovirus. While it’s common for an enterovirus to circulate each year in the summer and fall, the number of confirmed cases of Enterovirus D68 this year is significantly higher than previous years, according to the CDC.

D68 is just one strain of a number of non-polio enteroviruses, with symptoms that range from mild to severe. Infants, children and teens are the most likely to become infected because they lack antibodies from a prior exposure. The CDC reports that mild symptoms of enterovirus are aches, fever, cough and a runny nose – similar to that of the common cold.

However, in severe cases, children infected with D68 have wheezing and difficulty breathing. These respiratory complications have led to an increase in hospitalizations as a result of this year’s strain. Children with asthma are at especially high risk for severe symptoms as a result of an infection.

Top Enterovirus Prevention Steps from the CDC

  • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching eyes and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • If someone is sick, avoid touching, kissing, hugging and sharing cups or utensils with the person.
  • To prevent infection to others, stay home when feeling ill.
  • Use disinfectant on commonly used surfaces
  • Children with asthma should be sure they have their reliever with them at all times and take prescribed medications as directed

Reducing the Transmission of Infections such as Enterovirus

This year’s enterovirus is just one of many airborne infections that may lead to absences for kids and adults. Enterovirus is predicted to taper off as winter approaches, but other viruses will be right around the corner.  Improving indoor air quality (IAQ) also helps keep your family healthy this winter.

Controlling Air Purity and Relative Humidity

An air purifier is capable of trapping 80 percent of virus-sized particles that pass through a home’s HVAC system. Since many seasonal cold and flu viruses are airborne, a whole-home air purifier may help reduce the transmission of the disease.

Another attribute of IAQ that could reduce infections indoors is relative humidity (RH). While humidity is often associated with comfort, virus transmission has been shown to increase in seasonably dry air. According to a report on the role of RH in the aerosol transmission of influenza, researchers concluded that “maintaining indoor relative humidity of greater than 40 percent will significantly reduce the infectivity of aerosolized [influenza].”

Environment |

Summer’s Most Common Bugs

2 minute read

When it comes to a love of humidity, humans and pests are on opposite ends of the spectrum. While we tend to despise air that is thick with heat and water vapor, most bugs actually thrive in it and need it to live.

Unfortunately, this means that the impending summer humidity in certain parts of the country is about to bring these summer pests out in a big way.

Summer’s Most Common Pests

Cockroaches

The German cockroach is the most common roach species infesting our homes in North America. They are attracted to warm and humid places, making your kitchen and the water heater in the basement their most frequented hideaways.

Silverfish

These small, wingless insects are nocturnal and need to keep their bodies moist at all times in order to survive. You are likely to find them beneath boxes or furniture in your basement, the shower, or hiding in your kitchen.

Centipedes

Carnivorous and nocturnal, with their 100 feet, these pests can move quickly and spend most of the day hiding in humid, secluded places. They are highly attracted to the moist, humid parts of the home because they need to rehydrate constantly in order to live.

Earwigs

Known to burrow into topsoil outside, these nocturnal bugs can also infiltrate dark and humid areas of your home. You are most likely to find them around floor drains, bathrooms, or under rugs or furniture.

Roly-Poly Bugs

Also known as pill bugs, sow bugs, potato bugs, or armadillo bugs, these bugs often infest damp basements.

Tips to Prevent/Eliminate Summer Pests:

Healthy Home |

Professionals Needed: Here Are The Home Projects You Should Never DIY

2 minute read

So you bought your first house and can’t wait to rip up that crummy carpet. Go for it! But if you hit dirt, you might need to call in backup. As more millennials take the plunge into home ownership, it’s becoming more and more common to see DIY projects big and small. Things like carpet removal are doable. But no matter how many tips and tricks you’ve picked up from HGTV, Pinterest, or YouTube, there are some projects that simply aren’t worth the money, time, or risk to do yourself.

Setting Limits on DIY Home Projects

Skill Level for DIY Home Projects:

For some people, DIY is a way of life. For the rest of us, we need to be honest about our skills and level of experience. Sometimes a “simple” job can actually be a lot more complex than it appears. Hire a professional for these projects before you try it yourself and make a mistake that costs way more to fix.

  • Paving your driveway
  • Custom kitchen and bathroom jobs – backsplashes, flooring, countertops
  • Pest removal
  • Window Installation

Time Commitment for DIY Home Projects:

Some home improvement jobs can take weeks to complete when you try to do them yourself. For big projects, hiring a professional will mean a quicker and more efficient job done well so you can get back to enjoying your home without interruptions.

  • Large landscaping projects
  • Flooring
  • Demolition

Permission for DIY Home Projects:

Some home improvement projects require permits due to building codes. Save yourself the headache, and possible code violation, by hiring a professional who’s familiar with the process when it comes to these types of jobs.

  • Additions and remodels
  • Deck or patio addition
  • Major electrical/plumbing work
  • Pool installation and repairs

Safety Risk for DIY Home Projects:

If there’s any question of your ability to do something without injury or structural damage to your home, it’s most definitely a job for a professional.

  • Mold, asbestos, lead removal
  • Tree removal
  • Roof and foundation repairs
  • HVAC system installation and repair

When you’ve decided you need a pro, try to keep the process simple to save you time and headaches. Start by reaching out to a few trusted contractors in your area to get estimates on the work, (recommendations from friends are a great place to start) and then consider price and professionalism before making your decision.

When it comes to HVAC work, we make it easy to find a pro. Along with plumbing and electrical work, HVAC is an area where it’s crucial to get the job done right the first time.

Sources:

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/millennials-take-on-diy-projects-with-more-confidence-and-budgeting-discipline-than-previous-generations-300813538.html

https://www.familyhandyman.com/smart-homeowner/10-home-projects-you-should-always-hire-a-pro-for/

https://www.ahs.com/home-matters/quick-tips/8-household-projects-to-leave-to-professionals/

https://www.rd.com/home/improvement/diy-home-improvement-projects/

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/projects-you-should-not-diy_n_3923456

https://www.hallerent.com/blog/when-to-call-professional-for-home-improvement-repairs/

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AA Homepage Articles | Healthy Air |

Back To Work? 5 Ways to Promote A Healthy Office Environment

3 minute read

As the COVID-19 pandemic persists in the United States, every area of the country is grappling with the decision to “reopen” parts of society. One area of consideration is office life. While some companies have announced prolonged work-from-home policies, (July 2021 for Google employees), others are already back to normal or are planning to resume in-office activity in the fall.

What does that mean for employees who are concerned about returning to that environment in the midst of a pandemic?

It is largely the responsibility of your employer to create and maintain a safe work environment. And if you feel uncomfortable being in the office, it’s worth talking with your boss or co-workers about continuing to work from home.

If you are set to return to the office soon, here are some ways you can find safety and peace of mind by focusing on your health and the health of your environment.

5 Tips For A Healthy Office

1. Stay Home When You Need To

The mentality of toughing it out when you aren’t feeling well needs to be rewired. If you are at all concerned that you are showing symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in contact with someone who has tested positive, the safest thing you can do is not go to work.

This is the compassionate and responsible thing to do for yourself, your co-workers, and your family.

2. Keep Your Distance

Avoid congregating in common areas, break rooms, cafeterias, etc. While it may be a hard habit to break, it’s necessary to maintain as much distance between you and your coworkers as possible to keep everyone healthy.

3. Wear A Mask

Social distancing doesn’t negate the need for masks in the same way masks don’t negate the need for social distancing. Unless you work in a private office with your own entrance, you should be wearing a mask while working in any kind of shared air space.

4. Sanitize

Keep hand sanitizer on your desk and use it often. Any time you have to touch something that someone else has used, you should be washing or sanitizing your hands.

5. Don’t Touch

Find ways to open doors, push buttons, flip switches, etc. that don’t involve using your hands. If your workplace doesn’t have automatic faucets for example, consider using a paper towel to turn the faucet on and off, limiting your direct exposure to the germs living there.

Office Air Purifier

For another safety measure, consider a portable room air purifier for your office. The included filter in this Aprilaire Air Purifier removes dust, pollen, mold spores, germs and other pollutants that are 0.3 microns and larger.

Of course, you’ll have to leave your office from time to time, so be aware of the condition of the hallways, meeting rooms, and lounge spaces. Consider bringing up the topic of air filtration at your office if there aren’t currently any measures in place to address air quality. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have put together a safety checklist for employers who are welcoming employees back to the office.

As part of  Aprilaire’s Healthy Air System™, a whole-home air filtration unit can help you breathe a little easier when you come home from work, too.

This is an important piece of the multi-pronged approach that includes increased fresh air ventilation, humidity control, and air filtration to help reduce the proliferation of airborne viruses and other contaminants.

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Please note:
Aprilaire products are not intended to cure or treat any known airborne viruses but can help in the reduction of airborne viruses in your home and office.