Healthy Humidity | Wellness |

Ask Nurse Kate: Shedding Light on Winter Wellness

3 minute read

What’s the best way to maintain winter wellness? Curb the effects of dry winter air, of course.

Dry winter air can have a profound affect on your family’s health. Achieving proper humidity levels in your home should help prevent irritating winter conditions such as influenza, bronchitis, sinusitis, asthma, and dry skin.

To drive this home, we asked our resident health expert, Nurse Kate, to answer some key questions that should help you and your family understand and maintain wellness this winter.

Question One: Does the flu virus really thrive in low humidity? How?

Good question! Research has shown that the influenza virus thrives in cold, dry air typical to our winter season¹. The likely reason for this relates back to how the virus is transmitted from person to person. Influenza spreads through tiny respiratory droplets that stay suspended in the air after someone coughs or sneezes. Low humidity allows these droplets to stay in the air longer, which in turn increases the likelihood of transmission¹.

¹Lowen AC., Steel J. 2014. Roles of humidity and temperature in shaping influenza seasonality. July 2014 vol. 88 no. 147692-7695

Question Two: What about dry winter air causes people’s sinuses to act up?

Low humidity is a trademark of winter air, which can lead to irritated sinuses. Our nasal passages need a certain level of moisture to fend off the nasty bacteria, viruses, and allergens that cause our sinuses to act up. Because winter air is so dry, it often robs our sinuses of needed moisture, leaving our nasal passages dry, irritated, and less able to fight off wintertime illness.

Question Three: Does dry winter air affect children and adults differently? How?

Dry winter air can be problematic for children and adults alike. However, kids can be more susceptible to wintertime colds and illnesses due to increased exposure and an immune system that is still developing. As noted above, proper humidification can be key in stopping the spread of illness and helping you and your little ones stay healthy all winter long.

Question Four: How can we protect ourselves from dry winter air at home?

Staying hydrated inside and out! Drinking plenty of water helps our bodies maintain hydration from the inside. Combating dry air through home humidification helps our bodies stay hydrated from the outside. Various methods of increasing humidification in your home include taking hot showers with the door cracked to let the steam circulate, utilizing a portable humidifier in the most used rooms of your home, and installing a whole-home humidification system.

Question Five: What about when we’re not home? Do you have any tips for maintaining winter wellness at work or in the car?

It certainly can be challenging to control your environment when traveling or when at work. The following tactics can help you and your family stay well when on-the-go this winter:

Proper hand washing: Washing your hands with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds can prevent the spread of so many illnesses. The CDC has a great website for more information on the do’s and dont’s of proper hand washing.

Limit sharing: Germs do a great job of getting around, so limit your exposure to them by keeping your food, drink and other items to yourself as much as possible this winter.

Eat well, sleep soundly, and don’t forget to exercise: Your body needs to be taken care of so it can properly take care of you! Make sure to give it all it needs this winter by eating nutritious food, getting a good night’s rest, and staying physically active.

Stay hydrated: Getting 8-10 cups of water in per day makes such a difference in keeping your body healthy and well, particularly during the dry winter months. If you find that you are having a hard time drinking water throughout the day, try bringing a refillable water bottle with you wherever you go. Adding in healthy options to your water such as mint, lemon, or cucumber not only makes your water taste more interesting, but adds a nutritional boost to your beverage as well!

Ideally, you should aim for 30-60% 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.

Disclaimer:

The information contained on the Aprilaire website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment in any manner. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical condition. All information is for informational and educational purposes only and any use thereof is solely at your own risk.

 

absolute humidity

AA Homepage Articles | Healthy Humidity |

How Absolute Humidity Helps During Flu Season

2 minute read

Did you know that the spread of the flu has more to do with absolute humidity than the temperature? Although most people associate the cold of winter with the start of the flu season, it’s actually the dryness of winter that spreads the virus.

“Relative humidity is a function of temperature. During the dry winter, relative humidity is low in a warm house but high in the cold outside. Absolute humidity, however, is simply the total amount of water in the air. The less water in the air, the longer the flu virus survives. And that leads to a greater chance of someone catching the bug.”

– 60-Second Science Podcast Episode: Humidity Helps Fight Flu

Healthy Humidity Control

Proper humidity levels (between 30% and 60%) can reduce the transmission of viruses and minimize virus survival rates in your home. That’s one of the main benefits of an Aprilaire whole-home humidifier, along with increased comfort and preserving your home’s value.

Here are some dos and don’ts when you’re ready to tackle the humidity in your home to increase comfort and help protect your family during cold and flu season.

DO – Aim to keep your humidity between 30% and 60%. Whether you’re reducing summertime humidity with an Aprilaire whole-home dehumidifier or increasing wintertime humidity with an Aprilaire whole-home humidifier, the ideal humidity range for your Healthy Home is between 30% and 60%. When it’s too high or too dry, humidity can impact your Indoor Air Quality and, ultimately, your family’s well-being.

DON’T– Ignore the warning signs that your indoor humidity is too low: static shock, cracks in the floorboards, creaky furniture, chipped paint, dry skin and sinuses, and withering plants.

DO – Install an Aprilaire whole-home humidifier that offers easy, programmable solutions. You’ll have greater control of your humidity throughout the day, and won’t have to constantly monitor the levels.

DON’T – Forget to clean or replace your specialized filter/water panel regularly. Some humidifier filters are washable, while some need to be replaced entirely. To maximize the effectiveness of your humidifier, follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the frequency of this cleaning or exchange.

Invest in greater health, virus protection, fewer
allergens, more productivity, and better sleep.

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Healthy Humidity plays a central role in our overall wellness, especially during cold and flu season. You can start creating a healthy environment with an Aprilaire whole-home humidifier, which can provide effective virus protection and defend your home from dry winter air. It’s part of the Aprilaire Healthy Air System, which also includes fresh air ventilation and air filtration. By focusing on healthy indoor air, you can help keep you and your family happy, healthy, and more comfortable in your home this winter and for years to come.

Find a Healthy Air Professional in your area today to get started.

Healthy Air Is on the Way

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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 between 30-60%. 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.

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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.

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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.

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