Archive |

2019 New Year’s Resolutions: Achieve a Healthier Home

2 minute read

It’s the same thing every year: you set goals to eat better, get more exercise, maybe even get more sleep. You want a healthier you. But what if you could do something for 2019 that improves your health and the health of your family? Make 2019 the year for a Healthy Home!

Healthy Home Resolutions for 2019
The air quality in your home—the place you spend more time than anywhere else—is a major factor when it comes to your overall health.

So for a healthier home and a healthier you in the New Year, here are five picks for Healthy Home Resolutions:

1. Clear the clutter
This isn’t something that can happen overnight, but resolving to clear out a different room every month is a great way to make this goal a reality.

Start with the most-used room in your house and work from there. Whether it’s your kitchen, living room, or bedroom, rid it of anything that you don’t love or use often.

Clutter is nothing more than a dust collector and excess dust means poor indoor air quality.

2. Add some greens
This might be one of the easiest resolutions to keep because it doesn’t involve getting rid of anything.

Plants are amazing for improving indoor air quality. Adding some green plants to your home can not only help you breathe better, but it adds major style points, too.

To purify air, think one large plant for every 100 square feet in your home, or two smaller ones for the same effect.

3. Change the filters
Regularly cleaning or changing your air filters will make a huge difference for your indoor air quality.

Resolve to check your filters on the schedule that’s recommended by the manufacturer. (Aprilaire filters should be changed once a year, so with our filters, this resolution is pretty easy! )

4. Green Cleaning
Replacing your toxic, chemical-filled home cleaners with eco-friendly, non-toxic cleaning supplies will improve your air quality and save you money.

Get a group of friends together and make some of these DIY natural cleaning products.

Then you can use those products to keep your home clean throughout the year! This is a great activity to get kids involved with, and you don’t have to worry about them being exposed to harmful chemicals.

5. Invest in an air purifier
Here’s a shortcut to improved indoor air quality. Consider investing in an air purifier to help reduce airborne pollutants, allergens, odors, and more.

Having clean air in your home environment is vital to the health of your family. And air purifiers help reduce the concentration of air pollutants all year long, whether it’s allergens in the spring or stuffy heated air in the winter.

Wherever your New Year’s journey takes you, Aprilaire is here to help with Healthy Home tips and professional support so you can create a better home environment for your family. Here’s to a happy and healthy 2019!

Family |

Try This Simple, Kid-Friendly Christmas Wreath!

2 minute read

It’s the season of giving and there’s no better gift than something homemade by you and your kids! One of the easiest and most festive projects to make is a Christmas wreath. The fun part is how many different ways you can make this classic Christmas decoration:

● Handprint Wreath
● Tissue Paper Wreath
● Ribbon Wreath
● Fine Motor Focused Wreath

Below, we have a simple wreath that’s perfect for using any extra bows and ribbon you have this time of year. Follow the easy steps, and find ways for your child to help out!

christmas-wreath-kids

Materials Needed

● Circular wreath form
● Tissue paper for backing (optional)
● Tape
● Lots and lots of bows (any color combination you like)
● Ribbon or string for hanging

Instructions

Step One: Wrap the wreath with tissue paper first just to make sure none of the green would be peeking through the bows. This is optional but highly recommended for a more polished look. Secure the tissue paper with tape and you’re good to go!

step-one-christmas-wreath-kids

Step Two: It’s time to bring on the bows. Depending on the age of your kid, you will want to back your bows with tape before you start this step. In this case, our helper Roman, is 18 months old. If all your bows are brand new, just peel the backing off. We used recycled bows that needed a little help sticking.

step-two-christmas-wreath-kids

Step Three: Let your little one go at it and stick on as many bows as they can fit, or until they want to get back to playing with all their toys. You can fill in any gaps once they’re done so the wreath form is full and covered.

step-three-christmas-wreath-kids

Step Four: We added some curled silver ribbon, and just like that we had a Christmas wreath that was ready to be displayed or gifted!

step-four-christmas-wreath-kids

Healthy Home |

Cut Energy Bills This Winter

3 minute read

The holiday season is one of the most joyful times of year, but what about the extra expenses it can bring? Not so jolly… When the shopping, traveling, gift giving, and party hosting start to add up, it’s time to look at ways to save. One of the biggest areas you might be overlooking is your energy bill.

Energy Savings for the Holidays

Buy LED Lights

LED lights use 70% less energy than traditional bulbs. They last up to ten times longer, they’re brighter, eco-friendly, and are safer for young children because they remain cool to the touch. Easy savings!

Get a Fiber Optic Tree

You can’t get more energy efficient then fiber optic trees and decorations. They use a single LED bulb to light the entire decoration which gives the same look for much less energy consumption.

Limit Usage

It can be tempting to leave your decorations on all day during the holiday season, you know, so the dog can enjoy the lights while you’re at work. But one of the simplest ways to cut energy bills is to limit usage. Use a timer to turn on the lights when you’ll get the most enjoyment out of them, and then off when you go to bed. Aim for six hours or less per day.

Candles and Creative Decorating

Candles are a beautiful and efficient lighting alternative for holiday decorating. Just make sure to properly ventilate areas with candles, and don’t let them burn when you’re not around. Ribbons, wreaths, garland, tinsel, and reflective ornaments are also festive, electricity-free options for your decorating delight.

Buy Energy-Free Gifts

Consider buying only gifts that don’t require electricity or batteries. In this age of technology that might sound impossible, but think of all the energy you’ll be saving!

Purchase Rechargeable Batteries & A Charger

If you do buy or receive gifts that require batteries, purchasing rechargeable batteries and a charger is a cost-effective alternative to disposable batteries.

Buy Energy Star Electronics

Energy Star Certified electronics use up to 60% less electricity than other non-certified brands. So, if electronics are on your family’s must-have list for the holiday season, be sure to invest in Energy Star.

Run a Humidifier

You may be able to save on your heating bills by running a humidifier in the winter months. Humidified air actually feels warmer than dry air, so you can be comfortable at lower temperatures. This is due to the fact that when there’s more water in the air, our sweat evaporates at a slower rate, leaving us feeling warmer without having to crank up the thermostat.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

Programmable thermostats can lead to big energy savings by automatically lowering your thermostat while you’re at work for the day. You won’t have to pay for heat that you aren’t using and you can save between 5-15% on your heating bills for the year. Also, be sure to lower your thermostat when hosting large groups. The body heat alone will be plenty to keep everyone in your home comfortable.

Save on Fuel

Fuel costs quickly add up with the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Make sure to unload your vehicle after each trip to eliminate any extra weight. You can also reduce fuel consumption by walking around the neighborhood to see all the lights this year, instead of driving.

Be Savvy in the Kitchen

Your kitchen can account for as much as 15% of your home’s energy use. To keep those costs as low as possible:

  • Bake multiple dishes at a time
  • Utilize smaller appliances
  • Make sure your pots are the right size for your stove’s burners and
  • Keep lids on and ovens shut when cooking to allow foods to cook faster

Winterize Your Home

Check out these tips on how to make sure your whole home is as energy efficient as possible, from your windows to your fireplace.

Family |

Holiday Recipes to Cook With Your Kids

2 minute read

The holiday season can be a magical time. Fill these days with family, friends, and traditions, and you can make memories with these fun and simple holiday recipes. Chances are, you’ll be able to make a lot of memories in the kitchen.

Whether you’re carrying on age-old traditions or starting new ones, here are some tips that will help make your holiday baking as stress-free as possible:

Tips for Cooking with Your Kids

  • Set realistic expectations of your kiddos so that the process can be as enjoyable as possible for everyone.
  • Plan ahead. The more organized you can be, the less chaos will ensue. Set up as much as you can before any helpers join you.
  • Keep it simple and age appropriate. The younger your children, the simpler your recipes should be so that the child can really take ownership of what they’ve made. The sense of pride they’ll feel is priceless.
  • Allow plenty of time. Anything your kids help with will inevitably take longer, so consider working in stages/steps depending on the recipe so you’re not rushed.
  • Equip your kids with appropriate tools. Setting up a rimmed baking tray for each kid is a great way to keep the mess contained, allow each child to do their part, and keep fighting to a minimum.
  • Make it memorable! Remember to make your kids feel welcomed and included in the kitchen regardless of their ability to really “help” or not. It’s a special time to be treasured. Take pictures, tell jokes, have fun!

Holiday Recipes for Kids

When it’s time to whip something up, consider these healthy snack and cookie ideas to make with your kids, nieces, nephews, and whoever else wants to join in!

Toddlers

  • Snowman Popcorn Cups: Perfect for a toddler because they can do each step by themselves.
  • Christmas Tree Snack: Once you prep the ingredients for this snack, a toddler can use their imagination and creativity to make it their own.
  • Coconut Banana Cookie: Smashing things is a thrill for toddlers; let them smash the bananas and add in pre-measured dry ingredients.

Elementary/ Middle Schoolers

  • Popcorn Trail Mix: This is a healthy, festive snack that kids can make completely independently!
  • Healthy Sugar Cookies: Kids love decorating cookies. Think of how excited they’ll be to help make the cookies too.
  • Grinch Kabobs: This would be a fun holiday recipe to do with kids before or after watching the classic Christmas movie.

12 & Up

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.