Healthy Humidity | Wellness |

Does the Cold Make You Sick? Here Are 5 Conditions Escalated by Winter Air

3 minute read

While the cold weather itself may have something to do with your family’s health, there’s actually a larger, sneakier culprit that accompanies Old Man Winter each year: dry air.

As winter temperatures drop, humidity dwindles as well. While it’s true that too much moisture can lead to health complications in the summertime, too little moisture in the wintertime can be equally troubling for you and your family.

“The mucus that normally should be gooey and thick and can trap infection gets drier. So you’re more likely to get a cold because your mucus is not as able to catch things that you breathe in,” says Daniel Allen, M.D.

To maintain Healthy Humidity, the humidity in your home should ideally be set between 30-50%. Achieving this degree of humidity in the winter will go along way toward preventing influenza, bronchitis, sinusitis, aggravated asthma symptoms, itchy eyes and skin, and even nosebleeds.

Influenza

We’re all familiar with the flu. In fact, chances are pretty high that you’ve had the flu in recent years, as it typically makes the rounds each winter, wreaking havoc on your lungs, nose, and throat.

The good news is that the influenza virus is preventable. According to a study provided by the Public Library of Science, “higher humidity levels indoors can significantly reduce the infectivity of influenza virus particles released by coughing.”

This study found that in an environment with 23% humidity or less, 70-77% of viral particles remained infectious. However, only 14% of virus particles were able to infect cells in an environment set to roughly 43% humidity.

Don’t simply rely on flu shots. Get a humidifier.

Bronchitis

Bronchitis is another familiar foe during frigid winter dry spells, causing inflammation to bronchial tube linings deep in the lungs.

Fortunately, bronchitis can also be prevented and managed with proper humidity. As Dr. Michael J. Simoff, MD points out for EverydayHealth.com, “Humidity is good for lung health.”

Those who suffer from acute or chronic bronchitis should consider a whole-home humidifier to quell the effects dry winter air has on their lungs.

Sinusitis

Living with sinusitis can seem like all pain and no gain, which begs the question…what do we even need sinuses for?

Your sinuses help you produce mucus that moisturizes the inside of your nose and captures harmful particles before they make their way deep into your body. Sinusitis is the result of inflamed sinuses that can lead to nasal congestion.

“Humidifiers can help nasal congestion in that they provide more moisture and humidity within the nose,” says Mark A Zacharek, MD for EverydayHealth.com.

“Humidified air is good for sinusitis, especially in the winter,” agrees Amber Luong, MD, PhD, assistant professor of otolaryngology and head and neck surgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston.

Don’t cry. Humidify.

Asthma

Everyone knows somebody who’s affected by asthma. It’s an incredibly common condition. In fact, it’s quite possible that there’s even an asthmatic individual in your home right this moment.

Dry winter air can certainly trigger asthma attacks, tightening airways, and making it harder to breathe.

What’s the best way to combat these triggers? You guessed it: humidity.

According to Healthline.com, “Your airways are lined with a thin layer of fluid. When you breathe in dry air, that fluid evaporates faster than it can be replaced. Dry airways become irritated and swollen, which worsens asthma symptoms. Cold air also causes your airways to produce a substance called histamine, which is the same chemical your body makes during an allergy attack. Histamine triggers wheezing and other asthma symptoms.

Breathe easy knowing you’re making the right choice for your family.

Itchy Eyes, Dry Skin, and Nosebleeds

Winter ailments aside, perhaps the most irritating affects of dry winter air that everyone can relate to are dry, itchy eyes and skin as well as nosebleeds.

Because the air is so dry during the wintertime, the water in your body evaporates much quicker, leaving your eyes, skin, and nasal passages dry and susceptible to itchiness.

Perhaps the best way to prevent these conditions from happening, obviously, is to drink plenty of fluids, which will also help prevent dehydration.

However, another way to help alleviate these irritating manifestations and achieve a higher level of winter wellness is through maintaining proper humidity.

* * *

Again, you should aim for 30-50% humidity in your home year-round. In the wintertime, a trusted humidifier can help you prevent these winter conditions and help you hydrate your home.

furnace

Healthy Humidity |

The Relationship Between Your Furnace and Your Humidifier

3 minute read

It’s no secret that furnaces are an important home appliance needed to distribute heat throughout your home during the colder months. But, did you know that adding an Aprilaire whole-home humidifier to your furnace can help heat your home faster, save money and energy, and much more? We talked with Healthy Air expert Brandon Glancy, in charge of Instructional Development here at Aprilaire, to learn more about the relationship between furnaces and humidifiers. The answers might surprise you!

What is the relationship between a furnace and a humidifier?

“A lot of people would not know this, but the driest place on Earth is not Death Valley, California, or the Sahara Desert, it’s the average home in the winter when the furnace is running. We must have the heat a furnace provides, but the tradeoff is that we dry out the air in our home to often dangerous levels. To compensate for this, we use an Aprilaire whole-home humidifier that’s ducted into the HVAC system. Adding this crucial component helps bring the humidity levels back to a safe, comfortable level.”

How do these two components work together?

“To create humidity in the form of vapor, you need three components: water, heat, and airflow. A water line running to your humidifier trickles water down an evaporative panel so the furnace can provide both heat and airflow. This process turns the liquid into water into vapor, which the HVAC blower then moves through the ductwork and disperses into your home’s air.”

How can a humidifier bring Healthy Air into your home?

“An Aprilaire whole-home humidifier is designed to raise absolute humidity in your home, which, at the same time, increases the relative humidity (RH) in the air. Relative humidity is what we need to be concerned with. Too much of it and your home could grow mold, mildew, fungus, etc. and inherit a host of other problems. Too little and your air will start to steal water from any source it can, from the building materials your home is made of to the bodies of you and your family members. It’s one of the main reasons we tend to associate winter with dry, itchy skin, colds/flus, and other discomforts. Truth is, you didn’t get sick because it was cold out. You likely were sick because when it got cold outside, your furnace turned on and heated your home but dried out your air. When that happens, air pulls moisture from your skin, mucus membranes, and more, leaving your body’s defenses against colds/flus/infections low. The result? You get sick.”

“Generally, we want to keep our home’s humidity as close to 50% as possible. We need an Aprilaire whole-home humidifier to do that. When the humidifier does its job, the air in your home is safe and healthy.”

What’s the benefit of installing an Aprilaire whole-home humidifier?

“By installing an Aprilaire whole-home humidifier, you are doing everything you can to ensure your home’s relative humidity doesn’t fall to a level that leaves your body’s defenses weakened against colds/flus/infections. That means less of a chance for you to get sick, miss work, lose income, etc. Maintaining Healthy Humidity in your home protects your family the same way. It protects your body and is the best defense you can have against the dangers dry air brings every heating season.”

Healthy Humidity Plays a Key Role in Wellness
Breathe Healthy Air no matter when or where.

Learn More

Healthy Humidity plays a key role in our overall wellness. The Aprilaire Healthy Air System™, made up of humidification, fresh air ventilation, and air purification solutions, can help keep you and your family happy, healthy, and comfortable in your home for years and seasons to come. Get started today by finding a Healthy Air Professional in your area to learn what solutions are best for your Healthy Home.

Healthy Air Is on the Way

Find an Aprilaire professional near you.

spread of viruses

Healthy Humidity |

The Relationship Between Dry Air and the Spread of Viruses

3 minute read

Dry air is an unpleasant and unavoidable part of the wintertime. It’s caused as the temperatures drop and moisture in the air becomes sparse. And just like excess moisture that lingers in the air during the warmer months, dry air too can impact your home, belongings, and health.

Speaking of health, we’re always looking for ways to stay healthy and safe, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, throughout the incoming flu season, and every day in between. With kids going back to school and parents returning to work—plus, all of us staying inside more due to the changing weather—it’s become increasingly important to prioritize your home’s Indoor Air Quality to keep your family healthy throughout the season.

Did you know that there’s a strong relationship between dry air and the spread of viruses? Spoiler: It’s not a good one! So, let’s start with combatting the dry air in our home and reap the benefits of what comes after.

Healthy Humidity Plays a Key Role in Wellness
Breathe Healthy Air no matter when or where.

Learn More

Where Does Dry Air Come From?

Dry air is created as the temperature outside begins to drop and loses its moisture. And, as we’ve come to discover, what happens outside can also happen inside. Do you ever notice that you experience certain health-related symptoms during the wintertime, like sore throat or skin irritation? That’s a result of dry air. Our bodies need moisture to lubricate our airways and without the desired amount of humidity in our home’s air, we experience unwanted symptoms and can even get sick with viruses.

How Can Dry Air Impact Your Health?

As previously mentioned, dry air is known to negatively impact your health. Not only is it a nuisance that can persistently dry your airways and cause unwanted health symptoms, but studies show it can also have a big impact on the spread of viruses in your home’s air.

Typical Symptoms of Dry Air

Dry air is known to cause symptoms like:

  • Bloody nose
  • Dry mouth and eyes
  • Sore throat
  • Cracked skin
  • Certain illnesses (considering dry air can increase your risk of getting sick)

Dry air in your home can actually increase your chances of catching viruses, which is especially unsettling during flu season as the COVID-19 pandemic continues on around us.

Dry Air and the Spread of Viruses

Viruses are more likely to spread when your air is too dry or too moist and studies show that your home’s Relative Humidity (the amount of water vapor present in the air) can strongly influence how viruses spread while indoors. “Our natural respiratory defenses are quickly impaired at RH 20%, resulting in increased susceptibility to respiratory infections such as COVID-19,” states Dr. Stephanie Taylor, M.D. Harvard Medical School and member of the ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force. It’s true, in low-humidity environments, your immune system defenses may be lowered and therefore, can cause you to be more susceptible to viruses and other illnesses.

Overall, to help prevent the proliferation of viruses in your home, it’s important to keep your home’s humidity as close to 50% as possible. Doing this will help you combat the harmful impact of dry air and ensure your family is safe at home this winter.

Ways to Combat Dry Air

Forget those winter humidity myths! Combatting dry air starts with an Aprilaire whole-home humidifier. Proper humidity control can reduce the transmission of viruses and minimize virus survival rates in your home. With an Aprilaire humidifier, you can combat the dry air that can make you sick. Plus, humidifiers can help you save energy as they make your home feel warmer by adding moisture back into the air – this means you spend less time heating your home in the winter!

Healthy Humidity plays a key role in our overall wellness. And with the Aprilaire Healthy Air System™ (made up of humidity control, fresh air ventilation, and air purification solutions), we can help keep you and your family happy, healthy, and more comfortable in your home for years to come. Get started today by finding a Healthy Air Professional in your area.

Healthy Air Is on the Way

Find an Aprilaire professional near you.

experiments

AA Homepage Articles | Family |

Family Learning: Child Friendly Experiments For Staying Healthy

2 minute read

There has never been a more critical time to teach children the importance of keeping their germs to themselves. But more than simply telling children they need to wash their hands and wear a mask, you can have a real impact by showing them in enjoyable experiments what germs are and how they spread.

Staying Healthy Experiments For Kids

Glitter, Glitter, Everywhere

In this experiment, glitter is used to represent our germs and how they spread from one thing to another throughout our day if we don’t wash our hands.

Most parents already know that glitter is difficult to get off, which reinforces the importance of washing hands for at least 20 seconds to thoroughly remove harmful germs.

Make A Wish

Typically you want to blow out all the candles on your birthday cake or it means your wish won’t come true. But with this experiment, the more candles left burning, the better!

Everyone’s favorite science guy, Bill Nye, showed how this experiment works in a short video. By trying to blow out the candles through various types of materials, kids can see how some are more effective than others. And it serves as a reminder that masks are an important part of reducing the spread of germs when we cough, sneeze, spit or breathe too close to someone else.

Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are

It can be a hard concept for young children to understand: There are things in the air that we can’t see that can make us sneeze, cause food to go bad, or make us very sick.

With a few simple household items in this experiment, you can help shed some light on the mystery and reinforce the lessons you’re trying to teach kids about staying healthy. This particular experiment focuses on air quality, which is important to keep in mind at home, in school, and wherever kids venture off to.

Goals For Kids

All these experiments share common learning objectives.

The goals are for kids to:

  • Understand what germs are
  • Know that germs are everywhere (the air, our hands, surfaces we touch), but are too small to see with our eyes
  • Understand that everyone has germs and some germs make people sick
  • Understand that washing hands, wearing masks, and keeping our hands out of our mouths, eyes, and noses will help reduce the spread of germs

 

 

AA Homepage Articles | News |

Experiencing the Fight For Air Climb

2 minute read

Before the Fight For Air Climb

Entering the US Bank Center for the American Lung Association’s Fight For Air Climb was a rush of energy.

This seemed less like an arduous trek up 1,000 stairs and more of an indoor festival. There were volunteers ready to greet you and pump you up for the ensuing climb and people from different companies sitting at tables ready to hand out souvenirs.

They were probably also there to distract you after you just got done instinctively looking up toward the top of the 47-story US Bank Center in downtown Milwaukee becoming a little uneasy at the prospect of your journey upward.

Before you made your climb, you gathered as a team and took several escalators down to the basement level before getting warmed up with a quick aerobic routine. Then you took a long and winding tunnel where you greeted by more volunteers who were cheering you on. It was hard not to feel inspired and excited.

During the Fight For Air Climb

One-by-one people took off up toward the top of the US Bank Center to begin their Fight For Air Climb. I, like most, started off confidently and quickly. I took the first six flights easily, but then by flight eight, I began to fight for air. I now understand why they title this climb just that. My mind and my body were at odds. I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to continue at the same pace to get it over with as quickly as possible or to slow down and feel better. I went with the former.

Everyone in the stairwell was trudging onward with the same dilemma. We all were gasping for air as we kept pushing up each step and each flight toward the top of the Fight For Air Climb. At several points, I wondered if I was actually making any progress.

Every 10 flights there was a group of volunteers handing out cups of water and words of encouragement. Both were sorely needed to help push me along.

With each passing flight, I kept a tally of how many flights I had left. Twenty flights down, 27 more flights to go; 30 flights down, 17 flights to go; Ok, 40 flights down, 7 to go. By the time I got to the 40th floor, I knew I could make the last push to make it to the top of my Fight For Air Climb journey.

After the Fight For Air Climb

Eventually, I reached the top after 9 minutes and 31 seconds. At the top of the stairwell, I was met by volunteers who were cheering me on and by other climbers who were also catching their breath and taking in the picturesque views of Milwaukee and Lake Michigan afforded to us by the tallest building in Wisconsin.

As I grabbed a water and walked around soaking in both the views of the city and my accomplishment, it was really cool to watch teams taking pictures together or greeting other climbers with high-fives and smiles. There was a certain camaraderie found in a common struggle.

Despite the lingering soreness, I cannot wait for next year’s climb. No matter if I beat my time from this year or not, it’s about fighting for air together and helping those impacted with lung disease.

To join an upcoming climb in a city near you, visit www.lung.org/aprilaire.

Healthy Air | News |

Aprilaire Partner Contractor Joins Fight For Air Climb

2 minute read

“What can you do or say when your family is suffering such losses? It’s devastating,” said Christopher Ciongoli, HVAC salesman/estimator with Aprilaire partner Whalen & Ives.

Chris is participating in the NYC American Lung Association Fight For Air Climb on April 4, 2020. When he heard that Aprilaire was the national Healthy Air sponsor of the event he signed on to the Aprilaire team.

“An opportunity to make difference just appeared to me on Jan 10th in an email from Aprilaire informing me about the Fight for Air Climb. This was it. This is how I would help make a difference and support my wife as well as so many others that are impacted by lung disease”.

Lung disease became an all too familiar fixture in Chris’s life last year when his brother-in-law, mother-in-law, and father-in-law all died from lung disease.

As of February 7, he’s raised 90 percent of his fundraising goal. Not only is Chris excited to help raise funds and awareness, he told us he’s already reaping the benefits of training for the 849-step climb.

“My blood pressure has dropped, my pants are getting loose, and my dog Crosby is getting back in shape too!”

Every morning he goes out with dog Crosby and strengthens his legs and increases his stamina to make sure he can make it to the 44th floor of the 1290 Avenue of Americas building in New York City.

Read more of Chris’s incredible journey by going to his page. Thank you for your efforts, Chris and we cannot wait to hear more.

For more information about the Fight For Air Climb and to find an event in your area, go to https://www.lung.org/aprilaire. To learn how to train for your own climb, head to our page where we share training tips to help you prepare for your own Fight For Air Climb.

It’s Time to Care About Healthy Air
Breathe a sigh of relief.

Learn More