Winter Cold Natural Remedies

Healthy Humidity | Wellness |

Natural Remedies for Winter Colds

2 minute read

Winter is often associated with negativity. It’s cold, harsh and for the most part, depending where you live, kind of inconvenient. Often times, winter and sickness also go hand-in-hand.  That said, if you or anyone in your family are prone to getting sick throughout the winter season, the good news is that there are some preventative natural remedies you can try to maintain winter wellness.

Apple Cider Vinegar

People have been using apple cider vinegar for relief for years.

According to WellnessMama.com, apple cider vinegar has been used as a natural remedy to help allergy sufferers for years.  Apple cider vinegar can also reduce acid reflux, fight candida (yeast), and lower blood pressure. It’s also high in phosphorus, magnesium, potassium and calcium, making it a sort of super food.

The best way to use apple cider vinegar is to dilute and ingest it. Our favorite recipe is this fire cider from Mommypotamus.com. Enjoy!

Elderberry Syrup

Another great natural remedy is homemade elderberry syrup, which  RealFoodRN.com says is packed with vitamin A, vitamin C, and antioxidants.

One study in Norway tested the effectiveness of elderberries on 60 patients who had developed flu-like symptoms. You can read the results of the study here.

We suggest you read more about the effects of elderberry syrup and how to prepare it from a reputable, well-researched source such as the Franklin Institute of Wellness.

Green Tea with Honey

Some people swear by green tea as a natural health food capable of being a reliable cold and flu remedy, as green tea contains infection-fighting antioxidants.

For an extra boost, consider adding antioxidant-rich local, raw, organic honey to your tea. One study showed that honey works as a better night-time cough suppressant than some medications.

In addition to being great for winter cold symptoms, both green tea and honey host a number of additional benefits, including aiding in digestion.

Humidifiers

Truthfully, it’s not necessarily the cold itself that’s the problem throughout the winter. In fact, it’s the dry winter air.

Our airways, sinuses, blood vessels, and skin depend on moisture to keep our bodies running in top physical condition. It only makes sense that when we remove the moisture from the air, our bodies begin to react negatively to the environment.

Not to mention, studies show that the flu virus and other airborne pollutants actually thrive in environments with low humidity, leading to an increased risk for illnesses.

Prevention is the most effective natural remedy for winter-related illnesses. A whole-home humidifier set somewhere between 30-50% humidity in the wintertime can work wonders for you and your family’s health.

Contact your local Aprilaire professional today to discuss your home’s  needs.

Supporting Articles/Quotes

  1. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319573.php
  2. https://www.aprilaire.com/blog/2017/11/does-the-cold-make-you-sick-here-are-5-conditions-escalated-by-winter-air/
  3. https://wellnessmama.com/8370/allergy-relief-remedies/
  4. https://www.fastcompany.com/3052970/the-norwegian-secret-to-enjoying-a-long-winter
Humidity - Common Flu

Healthy Humidity | Wellness |

4 Common Indoor Environments Where the Flu Virus Thrives

2 minute read

The flu virus is everywhere during the winter season, and it’s incredibly easy to spread. In fact, the Center for Disease Control says people with the flu can spread it to others up to six feet away!

That means, wherever you go, the opportunity for exposure to the flu virus is ever apparent. Even so, there are ways to prevent exposure and protect yourself and your family from getting sick. General awareness and avoidance when necessary is a great start, allowing you and your family to be more mindful about hand-washing, staying hydrated, getting vaccinated, and potentially even using natural remedies to prevent sickness  in the first place.

Indoor Environments Where the Flu Virus Thrives:

Shopping Malls and Department Stores

In years past, this one has been a tough one to avoid during the wintertime. As the holidays approach, many of us would prefer to get our shopping done quickly and efficiently without running the risk of infection. However, given the hoards of people hustling and bustling around, touching everything, and spreading germs, the risk runs high.

Today, however, the beauty of online shopping allows us to get all of our shopping done quickly and efficiently without having to leave our homes.

Schools and Day Cares

Kids are notorious for spreading germs throughout the winter season. Teaching your children to cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze, to wash their hands often, and to drink plenty of water will go a long way toward preventing the spread of germs and viruses.

Offices

Much like schools and day cares, the flu virus is no stranger to most office buildings.

“We are given a bucket of PTO [personal time off] days and whether you use them for vacation or staying home sick, the company doesn’t care,” one mom and vice president at a Fortune 500 company told Shape.com. “I’m not going to waste them sitting at home nursing a cold. To me, PTO days are for vacation or in patient hospital stays and that’s it.”

Apparently, that’s status quo for the majority of American workers. Be sure to steer clear of Karen in Accounting or Bill in IT, if you notice they’re looking bit ill.

And if you’re filling sick yourself…do yourself and your fellow office mates a favor and stay home.

Public Transportation

It goes without saying, most public transportation doubles as a breeding ground for germs and viruses. They aren’t well sanitized and are often filled with hundreds—sometimes thousands—of people per day.

Airplanes, in particular, are particularly disturbing around the holidays. So much so, in fact, that the Center for Disease Control created guidelines for airline crews to help them identify sick passengers and provide care.

If you’re traveling this winter season, take the necessary precautions to ensure you’re keeping your family safe.

Because the flu virus is so common in the winter months, a higher emphasis should be placed on winter wellness. One of the lesser-known ways to achieve winter wellness at homes to improve your Indoor Air Quality by adding humidity.

Studies show that proper humidification has been shown to reduce the flu by 30%. Create a safe haven at home from the risk of external flu virus contact by contacting an Aprilaire professional to discuss your options.

 

Supporting Articles/Quotes

  1. https://weather.com/health/cold-flu/news/places-to-catch-the-flu/
  2. https://molekule.com/blog/places-to-avoid-flu-virus/
  3. https://www.aprilaire.com/blog/2017/12/ask-nurse-kate-shedding-light-winter-wellness/

Healthy Humidity | Wellness |

Ask Nurse Kate: Why Indoor Humidity Is Good for Newborn Baby Health

3 minute read

Being a new parent can raise a lot of questions. From nutrition to sleeping patterns to overall wellness, there’s a lot to consider when raising a newborn. During the wintertime, we were curious whether or not the cold and dry winter air affected newborn babys the same the same way it does older children and adults. That’s why we asked our resident health expert, Nurse Kate – who is a new mom herself.

Question #1: Does dry winter air affect a baby’s health?

Winter air is typically low in moisture, which causes our nasal passages to dry out more easily. Dry winter air also allows viruses and bacteria to remain in the air for longer periods of time after a cough or sneeze. Both of these factors leave us prone to illnesses such as colds, the flu, and sinus infections during the winter months.

Because babies are more vulnerable to moisture loss, and their airways are much smaller than ours, they are particular sensitive to the drying effects of winter air. They are more likely to get bloody noses, dry cracked skin, get sick more often, and may experience more severe complications from seasonal illnesses.

Question #2: What symptoms should new parents look for when caring for their baby over the winter?

  • Dry, cracked skin: Babies have sensitive skin, which can dry out easily. Using a good moisturizer or lotion with high quality, simple ingredients can help lock in moisture.
  • Sinus irritation: Keep an eye out for blood tinged boogers or bloody noses. The presence of these symptoms indicates the nasal passage is likely dry or irritated, affecting your baby’s health and leaving your newborn more vulnerable to wintertime illnesses. Using a humidifier or a saline nasal spray made specifically for babies can help keep your baby happy and healthy during the winter season.
  • Cough, congestion and difficulty breathing: The American Academy of Pediatrics offers a helpful rundown of what to do when your child has an upper respiratory infection. Click here for more information. If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s symptoms, contact your pediatrician or family doctor.
  • Being too cold: Babies are not able to handle the cold temperatures as well as we can. If temperatures and wind chills are below freezing, limit the time your baby spends outdoors. Make sure to dress your baby in appropriate layers, keeping in mind winter coats and snow suits shouldn’t be worn under a car seat harness. Check out these tips on how to dress a baby for cold weather and winter car seat safety for more info.

Question #3: When it comes to humidity, what are the best conditions to keep your baby healthy?

The EPA recommends keeping indoor humidity levels to between 30-50%. You can reach this ideal humidity level by utilizing a whole-home humidification system, or smaller plug-in humidifier. Most local hardware stores sell humidity gauges to help you determine what the humidity levels are in your home.

Question #4: What are some additional tips and tricks parents can implement to keep their babies healthy?

  • Good nutrition: Whether your baby is bottle fed or just starting solid foods, make sure he or she is receiving the correct nutrients. A good, healthy diet helps your baby’s immune system stay strong during the winter months.
  • Good sleep: Sleep is essential to staying healthy during the winter months. Sometimes holiday travel can interrupt babies’ sleep cycle, so do what you can to ensure your baby receives enough sleep.
  • Good hand hygiene: Your baby may not be able to wash their hands yet, but you can! Do your best to wash your hands regularly, particularly before or after feeding, bathing, or cuddling with your infant. They will eventually thank you for doing your part in stopping the spread of wintertime illnesses!

Be sure to keep the humidity in your home between 30-50% for you and your baby. In the wintertime, a trusted humidifier can help you keep your family happy and healthy.

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.

Healthy Clean Air | Healthy Home |

Fireplace Safety Tips for a Healthy Home

2 minute read

There’s nothing like enjoying a warm, cozy fire on a cold winter’s day. But to keep your home comfortable all winter long, it’s important to consider how your fireplace might be affecting your home’s Indoor Air Quality. Fireplaces, as well as wood and gas stoves, release dangerous pollutants into the air, like carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and other particles.

To protect your Indoor Air Quality and maintain a clean, safe fireplace, follow these fire safety tips:

Choose the Proper Fuel 

Use smaller, dry pieces of wood to ensure a hotter and cleaner burning fire with less smoke. NEVER burn wet, treated, or painted wood.

Before Making a Fire

Open the glass doors, pull aside the screen curtains and place the kindling and wood inside. Then open the damper and a window to prevent a smoky room. (This may vary based on the construction of your fireplace.)

While Fire is Burning… 

Cool the chimney by keeping the glass doors open, but keep the screen closed to prevent sparks from jumping out. Make sure the area around the fireplace is clear of anything flammable.

Child Safety

Never leave a fire unattended when children are in the house. Install a safety screen to minimize any chances of burns if you have small children. Communicate the dangers of fires and heat as early as possible to your children.

Important Precautions

Install both smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, testing them monthly and changing the batteries at least once a year. Always keep a fire extinguisher on hand and be sure it is easily accessible.

Cleaning

The firebox should be cleaned out at least once per week when the fireplace is in use. Coals can remain hot enough to start a fire for up to three days, so wait at least that long before removing any ashes. Levels of ash should be kept to one inch to act as insulation and allow the coals to heat faster and retain heat easier. Be sure to close the damper to prevent cold air in the flue from stirring up dust while you’re removing the ashes. Wear a dust mask and open a window to prevent negative air pressure. The firebox should be kept completely clean when the fireplace is not in use.

Routine Maintenance 

Have a certified chimney sweep inspect and clean your chimney at least once a year. Checking your chimney for animal nests or blockages is important even if it isn’t due for a cleaning to ensure the smoke can escape properly. It’s essential to clean and inspect your fireplace and venting system to protect your air quality.

Use an Air Purifier

Even properly-kept fireplaces can release harmful emissions into your home. Air purifiers can filter and remove damaging particles released from fireplaces to help your family breathe easy all winter long.

Healthy Home |

Winterizing Your Home for the Holidays

2 minute read

Before the weather outside is frightful, take a look at these ways to winterize your home for a delightful holiday season. Winterizing is a win-win. It’s generally inexpensive to do, and it has the potential to save you money on energy bills. Not to mention, make your home more comfortable for the winter months.

Winterizing Tips from Aprilaire

Gutters and Downspouts

  • Clean out your gutters and downspouts in fall and check them again before winter hits
  • Install leaf guards in your cleared gutters to prevent any future debris

Roofing, Chimneys, and Decks

  • Get out your binoculars and check for any loose or damaged shingles
  • Hire a chimney sweep to inspect and clean your chimney before roasting any chestnuts
  • Invest in a chimney balloon if your chimney will not be in use to prevent heat loss
  • Give your deck a fresh coat of sealant to protect it from the harsh winter conditions

Doors and Windows

  • Check doors and windows for any leaks that will let hot air escape
  • Apply weatherstripping or caulk around any problem areas
  • Draft guards or a rolled towel will help prevent drafts on exterior doors
  • Window insulation film can seal it heat to reduce energy consumption

A/C, Water Lines, and Piping

  • Drain any pipes or hoses coming from your A/C unit and vacuum out any pools of water in your unit’s drain pan
  • Cover your central air unit with a plastic cover to prevent rust cause by snow and water
  • Disconnect hoses from outside faucets and turn off water
  • Wrap your pipes with insulation to reduce heat loss and increase the temperature of the water delivered through your pipes

Water Heater

  • Flush the water through the drain valve to clear out any material that may have collected
  • Lower your water heater temperature to reduce heating costs by 6-10%

Heating System

  • Replace your furnace filter as recommended
  • Call a professional to inspect your furnace and give it a tune up, if necessary
  • Do a test run with your heating system after the inspection so you know it will work when you need it

Although most weatherproofing jobs are something that homeowners can tackle themselves in a weekend, there’s no substitute for a professional inspection to ensure your home’s efficiency throughout the harsh winter. Find a trustworthy expert in your area who can do a thorough test and make recommendations for improvement.

 

Healthy Home | Healthy Air |

Aprilaire Commands for Amazon’s Alexa

< 1 minute read

Aprilaire makes it simple to manage your home’s air quality, from controlling temperature and humidity to refreshing any room with clean air from the outside. But we couldn’t stop there. That’s why we’ve made our thermostats compatible with Amazon Alexa voice commands!

Alexa makes it easier to manage your day, from setting reminders to learning about the weather. It only made sense for us to pair our air quality systems with this awesome technology.

Aprilaire Commands for Alexa

Energy Savings

Ask Alexa to activate ‘Away’ mode, which optimizes your heating and cooling systems while you’re away from home.

Humidity

Check on the humidity level in your home any time. Alexa will tell you the Relative Humidity, which makes it easy to find the setting you prefer and experience what different levels of humidity feel like in your home.

Allergy Season

Is pollen giving you fits? Ask Alexa to ‘Start Air Cleaning’, which uses your home’s air purifier to refresh the air you’re breathing so you can stay healthy throughout allergy season.

Fresh Air

Cleaning and cooking can make the air in your home stale. Alexa will start up your home’s ventilation system to flush out polluted air and bring in fresh air.

System Status

You can ask Alexa for the current status of your home’s system. This gives you peace of mind knowing what is operating and when.

Find out more about all of Aprilaire’s Alexa commands, and see just how easy it can be to keep your home environment fresh, clean, and happy.

 

Archive |

Black Friday Shopping Tips–Find What You Need In Record Time!

2 minute read

8 Black Friday Shopping Tips

Black Friday shopping is really a love-it-or-leave-it kind of tradition. And for those of you who love it, planning and strategizing are a must.

We’ve assembled some tips that you can start on in the weeks leading up to Black Friday. Find a couple that will work with your shopping style, and enjoy a little less stress and a little more savings this holiday season.

Here’s a bonus tip: Use promo code FRESH at checkout for 20% off room air purifiers and air filters at Aprilaire.com. Act fast, this deal won’t be around for long!

Make a list/set a budget:

When everything is on sale, it’s hard to resist an extra something here and there. But setting a budget and sticking to it is vital to a successful day. This is easiest to do when you make a specific list of everyone you want to buy a gift for and what that gift is, so you can avoid the things you shouldn’t buy on Black Friday.

Do your research:

There are a few important things to know in order to have the most efficient shopping day.

  • Know when stores are opening/closing
  • Types/amounts of doorbusters offered
  • Online or offline restrictions/return policies

Draft a plan of attack:

Best Black Friday dot com has created a Game Plan for mapping out your day so you can stay focused and organized. If efficiency is important to you, going in with a plan and map of the stores you want to get to will save you so much time.

Get an early start:

Black Friday shopping has become a multiple day event in recent years and the earlier you can get out, the better deals you’ll find. Keep an eye out for “early release” ads to track the best and earliest deals available.

Use loyalty programs:

Store “members” are often offered sales and promotions first and are able to earn rewards on what they buy. You can sign up for alerts to get an early scoop on coupons, discounts, and promotions from the stores you like.

Be social:

Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter are all great outlets for finding out about deals and promotions. By following or liking your favorite retailers, you can score alerts to discounts and incentives.

Use a shopping app:

Price comparison is easier than ever with Google Shopping and services like PriceGrabber, Shopzilla, NexTag, and Pricewatch. Other apps for in-store comparisons, discounts, and store coupons such as Flipp, ShopKick, Shopsavvy, and Shopular let you scan barcodes and QR codes while you’re shopping.

Online vs. in-store shopping:

Before you swear off one or the other, check out this list of the pros and cons of both online and in-store shopping and consider a little of both to maximize your savings.

Most importantly, be safe, and cherish the memories made with family and friends during this time of year.

Oh! And don’t forget about that sweet deal on Aprilaire room air purifiers and air filters. Promo code: FRESH for 20% off.