allergies, food allergies

Family | Wellness |

Allergy-Free Alternatives for Healthy Eating

2 minute read

We’re taking a look at one of our favorite subjects: eating!

In particular, we think it’s important to learn about healthy eating and how it impacts our wellbeing. We know that eating a variety of foods is a great way to get all the nutrients we need while keeping our taste buds interested.

But for those with food allergies, it can be difficult to maintain a balanced, nutritious diet because it’s easy and comforting to keep going back to the same foods that they know are safe to eat.

Thankfully, your allergy doesn’t have to steal your variety! With the growing awareness of food allergies, there are lots of allergy-free, delicious options available in supermarkets and local grocery stores in many areas.

What’s even better is that many of the nutrients you might be missing out on because of a food allergy can be replaced by common, readily available foods! We picked out some of our favorite ways to satisfy hunger and get four key nutrients without worrying about allergies.


Allergies: Milk, Eggs, Peanut, Tree Nut, Soy

Alternative Sources: Fortified Milk Substitutes, Red Meat, Poultry, Sunflower Seed Butter, Beans, Lentils


Allergies: Wheat, Gluten

Alternative Sources: Beans, Hummus, Potatoes, Flour Alternatives (coconut, almond, oat, rice)

B Vitamins

Allergies: Milk, Eggs, Soy, Shellfish

Alternative Sources: Fruits (especially bananas), Vegetables (especially potatoes and spinach), Fortified Cereals, Red Meat


Allergies: Eggs, Soy, Wheat

Alternative Sources: Leafy Greens, Legumes, Red Meat, Whole Grain Rice, Dried Fruit (especially raisins and apricots)

Of course, you should you always talk to your family doctor or nutritionist before introducing any new foods to your diet. They can also tell you the safest way to try these alternatives. It’s important to make sure food allergies don’t get in the way of a healthy (and delicious) diet!


 Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: National Nutrition Month® is a campaign started by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.

household infections

Family |

Household Infections Could Rise With Holiday Travelers

2 minute read

Household Infections and Upcoming Holidays

The holiday season is upon us! Families across the country are deciding who to invite, where to sit, what to have, and what are the risks of having a gathering amidst a pandemic. Usually, most of us would be booking flights and arranging travel plans, but this year is a little different. As cases surge across the country, some families are opting to forgo holiday celebrations while others are trying to reduce the risks and celebrate safely. Upgrading your home’s air system can help reduce the risk of airborne virus transmission.

The COVID-19 virus spreads in the same way that any other airborne virus does. It transmits when an infected person’s aerosols get into a healthy person’s body. It is highly contagious so once someone in the house gets sick, most likely everyone in the house gets sick.

There is no specific data to point out the rate of household infections, but when you’re congregating with people and breathing the same air and touching the same surfaces, it’s likely for an infection to occur, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Mayor of Madison, WI Satya Rhodes-Conway said in a recent statement that in gatherings of 10 people, there is a 32 percent chance someone has the virus. The Hartford Courant also did a study in conjunction with the state’s Department of Health. It found household infections to be the 3rd-largest driver of infection behind workplaces and restaurants.

College Students to Start Heading Home

One specific population group that is causing concern is college students. Many universities are shutting down in-person classes after Thanksgiving break. Although students can remain on campus, if they go home or leave campus for out of town travel, they are unable to return until the start of the spring semester.

This group is problematic for a number of reasons.

Students are younger so they may not present symptoms or know they are sick. In addition, they are living together in cramped indoor spaces, going to class, less risk-averse, and socializing with diverse groups that make contact-tracing difficult.

In lieu of these risk factors, some universities are offering exit tests. All health professionals are also urging students to limit contact to their bubble for the next several weeks to reduce the risk of spread or wear masks in the home until you can be sure that everyone is negative.

Being Safe During The Holidays

To remedy these risks some families are rethinking their holiday celebrations.

Utilizing fresh air ventilation, air filtration, and humidity control with an Aprilaire Healthy Air SystemTM will help provide healthy air in your home.

For smaller gatherings, an Aprilaire portable room air purifier can also help filter the air for airborne viruses, among other airborne particulates like pet dander and other allergens, depending on the size of the room and number of guests.

Despite the inherent benefits of celebrating together as a family, especially this year, it may be beneficial to do a small get-together with those inside your bubble. For the most comprehensive information, stay up-to-date with your home state and traveling state’s guidelines. You can also view the current risk assessment factor in each county to keep your family happy and healthy this holiday season.








Aprilaire Partners Logged In Homepages | Family |

Trick Or Treat Or… Alternate Ways to Celebrate Halloween in 2020

3 minute read

While Halloween should look different this year in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, this fun and beloved holiday doesn’t need to be cancelled altogether.

Here are some safer alternatives to traditional celebrations, so you can have your candy and eat it too.


Most traditional activities can be safely done within your household with just a little tweaking:

  • Pumpkin carving – Take a blind vote to declare a winner (and not hurt any feelings) and display your creations outside for everyone to see.
  • Haunted House – Pick a room or even just a hallway to transform your house into a night of fright, or take a virtual walk through a haunted house.
  • Scavenger Hunts – This can be done inside your home, in your own yard, or around the neighborhood at a safe distance.
  • Backyard Piñata – The best part is you can control what kind of candy your kids get, so they don’t end up with a bucket full of Dots or Almond Joys.
  • Spooky Movie Night – Make some festive treats, dim the lights, and get ready for the screams.
  • Costume Contest – You could do this virtually among friends or family and have the adults do the judging, or pick a theme as a family and all dress up together.


With social distancing guidelines still in place, trick-or-treating may be halted this year. Have no fear, here are other ways you can celebrate Halloween in your community while practicing social distancing and mask-wearing!

  • Look for houses that are participating in one-way trick-or-treating where individually wrapped goodie bags are lined up or a bowl is placed in the driveway for walk-by pickups.
  • If your family wants to give away candy, be sure to wash hands properly before preparing any candy bowls or treat bags. You can also use a six-foot table if you want to be outside and see the costumes as kids come through.
  • Hold a small neighborhood or extended family costume parade as long as it’s outdoors, open-air, and distanced at least six feet apart.
  • Same goes for a local outdoor Halloween movie night. Make sure everyone is spaced at least six feet apart from people outside their household.
  • Find an open-air, one-way walk through a haunted forest or corn maze where mask use is being enforced and people are able to remain more than six feet apart.
  • Many pumpkin patches and apple orchards are still open, but be selective with the safety measures put in place before taking your family to one. Hand sanitizer should be available, mask-wearing enforced, and social distancing possible.


The following activities should be avoided this year to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

  • Traditional door to door trick-or-treating where treats are being handed directly to children.
  • Trunk-or-treat events where treats are being handed out in crowded parking lots.
  • Any indoor costume party or haunted house with people outside your household.
  • Hayrides or tractor rides with people outside your household.

It’s important to note that the CDC has made specific recommendations about costume masks and the increased risks involved with Halloween celebrations:

A costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth mask. A costume mask should not be used unless it is made of two or more layers of breathable fabric that covers the mouth and nose and doesn’t leave gaps around the face.

Do not wear a costume mask over a protective cloth mask because it can be dangerous if the costume mask makes it hard to breathe, instead, consider using a Halloween-themed cloth mask.

If screaming will likely occur, greater distancing is advised. The greater the distance, the lower the risk of spreading a respiratory virus.


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

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 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.

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