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 30-50% 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.

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.

 

Family |

Spruce Things Up with This DIY Christmas Card Holder

3 minute read

Picture this. It’s Christmastime and all of your friends and family are sending you cute holiday cards. You want to display them all, but the sheer number of cards this year has you a bit overwhelmed. That’s okay, just build your own DIY Christmas card holder using an Aprilaire water panel!

DIY Christmas Card Holder Materials Needed

1 Aprilaire Water Panel
Stainless Steel Card Holders
Hot Glue
Scissors
Ribbon
Bow

DIY Christmas Card Holder Instructions

Step One: Gather all of the items you need from the materials list above to assemble your DIY Christmas card holder.

DIY-Chrismtas-Card-Holder-Materials

Step Two: Remove the water panel from its casing. If you’re recycling a used water panel (which we recommend to avoid creating waste) be sure to rinse it off and let it dry first.

DIY-Christmas-Card-Holder-Aprilaire-Water-Panel

Step Three: Wrap a strand of ribbon horizontally around your water panel, hot gluing each end in the center. You’ll eventually hot glue a bow overtop these connecting points, so it’s wise to ensure the area you’re hot gluing meets in the center of the water panel.

DIY-Christmas-Card-Holder-Step-Three

Step Four: Repeat step three, this time wrapping a strand of ribbon vertically around the water panel. Again, be sure that the two ends of the ribbon are hot glued in the center. You can use the previous, horizontal connecting point as a guide.

DIY-Christmas-Card-Holder-Step-Four

Step Five: Hot glue your bow above the center connecting points where the horizontal and vertical ribbons intersect. What you have now should resemble a Christmas present.

DIY-Christmas-Card-Holder-Step-Five

Step Six: Stick your stainless steel card holders into the top of the water panel present you’ve created.

DIY-Christmas-Card-Holder-Step-Six

And voila! As you collect cards and photos from loved ones this holiday season, you’ll be able to proudly display them at home with a one-of-a-kind card holder you built yourself. Happy holidays!

DIY-Christmas-Card-Holder-Finshed-Product

 

Archive |

Home (And Healthy) For The Holidays

2 minute read

During the holidays, you don’t have time to be sick. Whether you’re traveling long distances or preparing your home for parties and guests, the cold or flu can be a real Scrooge on your holiday fun. This year we can help you make it a healthy holiday!

You’ll want to do all the wellness basics: wash your hands often, get plenty of sleep, and eat right. And here we’ve put together some specific places where you’ll want to be extra diligent about maintaining a healthy holiday season.

Healthy Holiday Tips

  • On An Airplane

You never know who was in your seat before you. It could’ve been your long-lost pen pal from grade school, a voice actor from your favorite animated holiday movie, or someone who was feeling under the weather and spreading their germs all over the armrests, tray table, and seat belt.

Unfortunately, that last option is the most likely, and that means you need to take precautions. Pack along some disinfecting wipes and give everything in your area a quick wipe down. Then let it air dry and enjoy your flight with peace of mind while daydreaming about that old pen pal of yours. (I wonder if she ever became an astronaut…)

  • At The Mall

Holiday shopping can be a marathon. This bodes well for burning calories as you pound laps around the mall, but it can also expose you to a gauntlet of germs and unhealthy foods.

Take control over the food you’re eating. Avoid the blood sugar hit that comes from that oversized latte or cinnamon roll. Pack along healthy snack options like dried fruit and nuts, and bring a water bottle that you can refill as you go along.

You know the mall is filled with germs. They’re basically the only things you can get there for free. Pack along some alcohol-based hand sanitizer to clean your hands after you touch things like toy shelves, escalator rails, and credit card machines. A more thorough cleaning is a good idea before you eat.

  •  At The Office

Germs and viruses aren’t the only threat to your healthy holiday season. Stress plays a huge role in the function of your immune system and your overall happiness. This is especially true around the holidays when you’re trying to balance work deadlines with family time.

So give yourself a break! Take off early for a relaxing massage or fit a stress-busting walk into your afternoon routine. You know the best ways to relieve your stress, and it’s essential that you sprinkle them in while fulfilling your work and home obligations. The holidays should be a happy time, so don’t let stress or sickness steal your festive cheer!

 

Archive |

Winter tip or winter myth?

2 minute read

Staying safe, healthy and comfortable in winter has been a challenge since the first human curled up in his woolly mammoth sleeping bag on the cave floor. We’ve come a long way at battling the elements over the past few thousand years – but that doesn’t mean we always get it right.  Here are some myths about winter health and comfort that we should rethink.

Winter Tips to Avoid

Let the car warm up before you drive in cold weather:

If you heard this myth from an older relative, there is some truth to it. Older, carbureted cars did drive better after the engine was warm. So, it was a win for drivers – your grandfather had a better performing car and a toasty start to his commute.

Unfortunately, the morning “warm up” is now ill-advised. Idling uses more fuel than driving, takes longer to warm the car up than driving, and most importantly – modern cars without carburetors receive no benefit and possible damage.   While you do get a warmer car, you also release more emissions, waste gas and take years off the life of your ride because you’re washing oil out of the engine.

When it snows, start throwing salt:

Again, there is some half-truth to this one. Obviously, salt is very effective at melting snow – if the temperature is right. But under 10 degrees, it won’t do any good. While there are additives that can help push its melting power to well below zero – they drastically increase the price. If you’re just tossing regular salt around, save it for temps between 20 and 30 degrees.

Crank that furnace:

Ever come home to chilly house and cranked the thermostat to 80 in order to heat the house faster? Well, unfortunately furnaces aren’t getting the message. For the most part they’re on or off and the thermostat just controls the temperatures at which they engage or shutdown. Much like mashing the button for the crosswalk, turning up the thermostat to 100 doesn’t make the desired event happen any faster.

Bonus Tips:

No point in myth busting if we can’t help offer some better advice. Here’s three tips if you’re bummed out by winter myths.

  1. Fireplace ash: If it’s too cold for salt, try some ashes. They’ll provide traction for your car or feet even over an icy surface.
  2. Wi-Fi thermostat: If you want to come home to a warm environment without wasting money, Wi-Fi controlled thermostats from Aprilaire makesetting schedules and adjusting temperature a breeze – all from your smart phone.
  3. Heated seats: If you can’t stand a cold car, get heated seats in your next ride. They get warmer faster than the heater and the close contact will have you toasty in no time. A more affordable option? Sit on a microwavable heating bad.

Archive |

3 Tips for Successful Cyber Monday Savings

2 minute read

3 Tips for Successful Cyber Monday Savings

Ahh, the Holidays – people grappling frantically for the best deals at stores across the country, waking up a 4 a.m. and fighting traffic to sit outside in the snow.

Wait! That’s not what the holidays are about. And that’s why many consumers prefer to do their holiday saving online on Cyber Monday. But how do you save big and keep your sanity?

You can remain in your comfortable, healthy home and still catch a great deal – instead of a cold!

Keep an eye on your email!

Cyber Monday and Black Friday often start early and continue late as stores try to get the most out of the early-holiday season sales push. If you usually delete emails from your favorite retailers – DON’T! You may be throwing out the invite to an early bird special or a heads up on a limited quantity item.

Remember everyone is doing it.

The major e-tailers will of course have hot deals, but don’t forget that most brands and companies sell online and they will likely all be running promotions. Instead of one-stop shopping, surf around for good deals.

Make your lists – check them twice.

There will be bargains galore as online and retail sales kick off. To get the most out of Black Friday or Cyber Monday, have your full shopping list ready. Yes, it’s a great time to get gifts for loved ones, but it’s also worth picking up everyday items for the home!

Winter Wellness Deals!

Aprilaire likes the idea of savings and healthy homes. So, this year we’re offering special savings and free shipping on all water panels and air cleaners from the Aprilaire store. Just click and order the product that’s right for your air cleaner or humidifier and you’re done. We’ll have it delivered to your door and you’ll be breathing easier this holiday season. Use the Promo Code: WINTER20 starting on Tuesday, November 28th for the best deal.

This time of year is stressful enough – don’t worry about your indoor air. With Aprilaire, you can have a cozy, healthy home all season long. You don’t even have to leave the couch!

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.

Healthy Humidity | Healthy Home |

Here’s Why It’s Actually Really Easy to Save on Energy in Winter

< 1 minute read

The woes of winter heating costs are upon us. But fighting your energy bill doesn’t have to be an annual thing. Winter energy savings are possible and have a simple solution: humidifier.

How does a humidifier help contribute to winter energy savings?

It sounds a little far-fetched, sure. How can you possibly save energy if you’re running not only your heating system, but also a humidifier?

It’s actually pretty simple.

According U.S. News, “The air inside your home can become very dry. Moist air feels warmer and holds heat better, so a humidifier can help you feel comfortable when your thermostat is set at a lower temperature.”

Dry air feels colder than properly humidified air. This makes your heating unit work overtime either by forcing your heater to be on longer than needed or by forcing you to increase the temperature. That’s why an Aprilaire humidifier can serve as a beacon of hope in your quest for winter energy savings. Pairing your heat with a trusted humidifier should give your budget a little more breathing room.

Not only does it help alleviate the strain of your heating budget, there are also a number of health benefits with proper humidity. In the wintertime, maintaining proper humidity can help you by helping prevent the flu, bronchitis, sinusitis, asthma, dry skin, and more.

Humidity could be the difference-maker this winter as you try to pad your budget and maintain your family’s wellness.