Healthy Clean Air | Family |

Air Purifiers for Hypoallergenic Pets?

2 minute read

We love pets, but let’s clear the air: even hypoallergenic pets can have an effect on your family’s respiratory health. This doesn’t mean you need to get rid of your pets, however. We’d never recommend that. You simply need to take a few quick steps to ensure your furry friend can stay part of the family.

The Truth About Hypoallergenic Pets

For starters, there’s no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic pet. Some pets simply cause fewer allergy symptoms than others, but even those pets are shedding allergens throughout your home.

“There are some animals that are less allergenic, but they all make the allergen that can cause trouble. It’s a matter of how much they make,” says Dr. Oren P. Schaefer for VetStreet.com.

Most people think pet allergies are caused by pet hair, but that’s actually not the case. Truthfully, the real culprit comes from pet saliva, urine, and dander, which is basically pet “dandruff” as it comes from dead skin cells.

These allergens can ultimately lead to increased allergy symptoms, trigger asthma, and even lead to long-term respiratory conditions.

So, What Can Be Done?

Whole-home air purifiers can help reduce the amount of pet allergens and odors accumulating in your home. They’re able to handle the tasks of purifying the air throughout your entire home, filtering out pet allergens and other indoor air pollutants like dust, mold, and more.

You should also consider a room air purifier to keep in bedrooms or high-traffic pet areas, perhaps near a litter box or a dog bed. The beauty of room air purifiers is their portability, meaning you can move them room-to-room to add a supplemental burst of fresh air, even if you already have a whole-home air purifier installed.

Pet Hair and Dander Trap

Our Allergy + Pet9550 air purifier comes with a Special Pet Hair & Dander Trap that’s reusable, easy-to-clean, and can help you eliminate pesky pet allergens and odors in your home.

Some other ways to try and reduce pet allergens in your home include keeping pets out of bedrooms and off of your favorite furniture and bathing your pets often to prevent them from shedding. You may even want to consider going carpet-free or shampooing your carpet at home to minimize allergens and odors.

Again, we’d never tell anyone not to keep his or her favorite furry family members. However, it’s important that pet lovers know that even their “hypoallergenic” pet can have an effect on their family’s respiratory wellness. No worries, though. A few proactive precautions can be made to ensure your home’s air purity is healthy, pure, and simple.

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.

Protein

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

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

Fiber

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

Iron

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!

Sources:

 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.

www.kidswithfoodallergies.org

Healthy Humidity | Healthy Air |

Ask Nurse Kate: Filtering Out Indoor Air Pollution at Home

3 minute read

Whether you like it or not, your home could very well be filled with indoor air pollutants. So, what’s the best way to increase Indoor Air Quality at home? Clear the air, of course!

By using an air purifier (whole-home or room), you’ll be able to alleviate your home of these respiratory irritants.

To drive this home, we asked our resident health expert, Nurse Kate, to answer some key questions.

Question One: Aren’t our bodies naturally able to filter air thanks to mucus and nose cilia? What does a purifier do that our bodies don’t do already?

Our bodies are pretty good at filtering out large pathogens and pollutants, thanks to our body’s structure.  However, we often experience unpleasant symptoms such as cough, congestion, and shortness of breath associated with this natural filtration process. At times, our bodies can have difficulty keeping up with all of the air contaminates we are exposed to. This can worsen respiratory irritation, illness, and chronic diseases. The right air purification systems can help support our body’s natural defenses by filtering out more pathogens and pollutants than our bodies can do alone, without all the pesky side effects.

Question Two: What conditions can stagnant, unfiltered air exacerbate in people with allergies or respiratory conditions?

Stagnant, unfiltered air can increase any of the symptoms associated with allergies and respiratory illnesses simply because our bodies are exposed to more irritants than if the air space was properly filtered and ventilated. If you find that your indoor air seems stuffy, stale, or stagnant, consider improving your Indoor Air Quality through source control, as discussed by the EPA.

Question Three: Are children more susceptible to the effects of unfiltered air than adults?

Children’s bodies are still developing, so they are likely to be more sensitive and susceptible to the effects of air contamination, particularly if they are prone to asthma and allergy attacks. The American Academy of Pediatrics took a stance on how indoor air quality can affect children’s respiratory health, going as far as to say reducing exposure to indoor air pollutants can be “as effective as medications.”

Question Four: When is it most beneficial from a health perspective to use a room purifier versus a whole-home purifier? Why?

Indoor Air Quality in your home can have a major effect on the health of you and your family. In fact, the EPA has classified indoor air pollution as one of the top environmental risks to public health. Whole-home air purification systems are typically regarded as the optimal way to improve Indoor Air Quality. However, there are situations where a portable room air purification system is more beneficial versus a whole-home purifier. The following are just a few examples of when a room purifier may be more beneficial from health perspective:

  • Cost: Whole-home air purification systems are very effective, but can be costly for some. Utilizing a portable room air purification system is an affordable alternative to make your home a healthier place by improving air quality in the areas of your home you spend the most time in.
  • Applicability: Many older homes don’t have central heating and cooling, making whole-home purification systems not applicable. Room air purification systems are an easy way to reap the benefits of air purification in any home setting.
  • Localized filtration: If someone is sick in your household, it may be beneficial to utilize a room air purifier for quick acting, localized filtration that will limit the amount of germs that spread to other parts of your home.

Question Five: How can people protect themselves from poor Indoor Air Quality outside of their home?

 It can be hard to control the factors that affect outdoor air quality, but you can take steps limit your exposure to pollution by doing the following:

  • Check outdoor air quality forecasts and plan your daily activities accordingly. The EPA’s website has a great resource for local air quality conditions.
  • Opt to partake in outdoor activities when the air quality forecasts are looking good, and limit your time near heavy traffic or idling vehicles.
  • Opt for more environmentally friendly practices such as walking, biking, carpooling, and conserving energy when possible. Doing your part to lower air pollution can improve not only your health, but the health of others as well.
  • If you live or work in an area where heavy air pollution is unavoidable, don’t be afraid to utilize a medical or industrial grade face mask to protect your health when venturing outdoors.

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 providers 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.

 

Archive |

History of Women at Aprilaire

3 minute read

Today is National Women’s Day – when we celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women across the country and world. Observed since the early 1900s, it’s a day to reflect on the all achievements of past women, and acknowledge the progress that is still needed. Learn more at the IWD website to see how you can get involved. But we wanted to take a more local approach and celebrate the great work of the history of women at Aprilaire.

History of Women at Aprilaire: Bertha Weisman

Aprilaire would like to share the stories of some of the women who have made an impact at our company in Madison, WI!

Bertha Weisman was one of the founding members of the Research Products Corporation (Aprilaire’s parent company) back in 1938. She was the lone woman in the five-person group that started the company. In addition to her role as a founder, she served as Assistant Secretary and Treasurer.

womens-day-aprilaire

History of Women at Aprilaire: Melinda Nelson

The presence of women in leadership roles continues to this day at Aprilaire. Melinda Nelson is Manager of the Customer Service Department and the Call Center. She’s been with the company for 17 years total, and in her current role for nearly 14 years.

Customer Service employs the largest number of people at Aprilaire, and Melinda has more employees reporting directly to her than anyone. We’re thrilled to have her as such an integral part of our team, and we wanted to learn more about her and her experience at Aprilaire. Here’s what she had to say:

What’s your favorite part of working at Aprilaire?

I love the people and the culture. We hire and retain great people, and we’re not afraid to try new things here. Aprilaire is a great combination of a conservative company with a proven product, and a leadership team that’s not afraid to make changes that will make us better. That happens at every level, and it really makes this a great place to work.

How has your role changed since starting at Aprilaire 17 years ago?

I started out in the Call Center working with customers. I saw how we could be more efficient with the process and so I pitched the idea of streamlining the way we handled different areas of the job. That gave me an opportunity to go from working in the Call Center to being able to manage the workflow and the people within it. I had a great opportunity to change and evolve how we do customer service here.  I still get excited about the work I do every day.

How have things changed at Aprilaire since you started?

Both the industry and our company have grown greatly since I started. And along with that, the way we take care of our customers has evolved as well. We’re always looking for ways to be better, whether it’s our products, our process, or working with our customers.

A great example of the willingness to improve here is how we process our warranties. We had a paper-based system for a long time and I had been hearing from customers about how long it was taking. So I suggested that we take the process online. And the type of company Aprilaire is, I was fully supported in making the change because it made our customer experience better.

What are you most proud of when it comes to your work?

Just how much our customers value our team. Our customer service is the best in the industry and we have such a connection to our customers. What makes it all go is that the organization supports it. Really, they not only support it but they fully embrace it.

Another thing I’m really proud of is that within our Call Center, the average tenure is seven years. That’s unheard of. People who work in this department learn so much about our products and some of them end up moving onto other departments. I love to see them grow. I’m a people grower! I love to watch them advance in their careers and when they stay within the company here that’s even better.

What type of work culture have you experienced at Aprilaire?

It’s a great environment here. I feel so valued by my boss, and I know my team is valued by everyone here. I don’t think you can say that about every company. And I really do get excited about coming to work every day. I think that says something.

Archive |

Battle the Winter Blues and Stay Mentally Healthy

2 minute read

Tips to battle winter blues

While many enjoy a white Christmas, by the time February rolls around – most of are done with cold and snow.  You may find your mood dropping as well. Fortunately, there is a lot you can do about it!

However, let’s start off by clarifying there is a difference between the winter blues and seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD is depression that sets in during the same time of year, every year. While treatments may be similar, SAD can lead to worse depression and you should consider seeing a mental health professional.

The winter blues is similar to SAD. You may find yourself craving bad foods, sleeping more and walking around with a case of the grumpies. Some fairly simple routine changes can help you overcome a case of mild winter blues!

Exercise

Is there anything exercise doesn’t fix? Probably a few things… but it’s the perfect cure for the winter blues. For starters, a trip to the gym can help you socialize, which is always good when you’re feeling down. Exercise will also help you feel productive, release endorphins, and fight the fatigue that is common with winter blues.

Light therapy

Lack of sunlight is thought to play a major role in winter blues – but it can be hard to find the sun when it’s snowy and below zero. Special light boxes help slow down the melatonin production that is thought to make us sluggish and sad in the winter. SAD lights or SAD lamps are specially designed for winter blues and seasonal affective disorder. Talk to you doctor or search online to find the product that is right for you. Here are some tips for finding the right SAD lamp.

Take a vacation

If you have the option, try and take some time off and maybe even head south during the time of year when you know your blues will kick in. Reducing your stress and the change of scenery might give you the kick start you need to get through these last few weeks of winter.

Mental health is a big part of a healthy home. It’s hard to be healthy when you don’t feel like yourself. So, don’t forget to try and prevent the winter blues if you find them setting in during these last few weeks of winter.

Archive |

Flu Season Soldiers On, Learn How to Fight Back!

2 minute read

It’s been a rough flu season this year and the CDC recently announced that we still haven’t seen the peak despite 85,000 confirmed cases. The actual numbers are probably much higher since most people don’t seek treatment.

While the flu simply runs its course for most people, this year’s strain has caused some pretty severe symptoms. Some people have even died.  So what’s the secret to staying healthy when influenza seems to be everywhere?

An ounce of prevention is worth….

A pound of cure, and probably some unused sick time. Despite the fact that we have drones delivering televisions, we still haven’t cured the flu. Your best weapon is the same as your great-grandparents: avoidance.

Protecting yourself during the flu season

  • Wash hands – Touching your eyes, nose or mouth is the most common way the flu spreads. The flu can live on non-porous surfaces for up to two days. Washing your hands or using an effective hand sanitizer throughout the day is the best way to stay healthy.
  • Get a flu shot The flu shot is safe and usually effective, but it still doesn’t totally prevent you from getting sick. It’s available at most drug stores.
  • Stay home when you’re sick – Hey, it’s all about the herd. If you do get the flu, forget what your kindergarten teacher told you and DON’T share. Stay away from work or school or until you’re feeling better. If you need to travel, consider wearing a surgical mask to protect others.
  • Humidify your space – Dry air increases your chances of getting sick, so using a whole-home humidifier can help protect you and your family.

Each flu season is a new battle, so understanding how to stay protected is a skill that will serve you. Since the flu virus mutates often, chances are the above list could be your great-grandkids best bet too!

Family |

DIY Valentine’s Day Crafts for Kids

2 minute read

Every year, your little one comes home from school on Valentine’s Day with tons of adorable cards from classmates. They likely feature their classmates’ favorite television characters in silly situations or cartoon animals with cute, punny sayings like “Bee Mine!” or “You’re Un-BEAR-ably Cute!” Perhaps your little one even prepared a specific Valentine for that special someone in class. This year, show off of your child’s adorable Valentine’s cards in this DIY Valentine display made from a recycled Aprilaire water panel.

Materials Needed for DIY Valentine Display

Aprilaire Water Panel

Red Spray Paint

Craft Knife

Ribbon

Steps for DIY Valentine Display

Step One: Rinse off and dry your recycled Aprilaire water panel. Then, using a red marker, sketch out the shape of a heart on the water panel. Leave the heart flat at the bottom so that your DIY Valentine display will stand on its own. Don’t worry about the red lines as you’ll eventually paint your display red.

DIY-Valentine-Display-Step-One

Step Two: Use a craft knife to cut your Aprilaire water panel into the shape of a heart along the guides from your red marker.

DIY-Valentine-Display-Step-TwoStep Three: In a well-ventilated area, spray paint your DIY Valentine display red.

DIY-Valentine-Display-Step-Three

Step Four: Once the paint is dry, string ribbon around your newly painted Valentine display.

DIY-Valentine-Display-Step-Four

Step Five: Fasten binder clips to the front of your DIY Valentine display. These will securely hold your Valentine cards.

DIY-Valentine-Display-Step-5

Step Six: Add your child’s Valentine cards to the display and enjoy!

DIY-Valentine-Display-Step-6