Ask Nurse Kate: Managing Winter Allergies

Healthy Air | Wellness |

Ask Nurse Kate: How to Overcome Winter Allergies

3 minute read

Most people associate allergies with the summer heat or the blustery days of fall. But for many of us, wintertime can cause a sore throat, itchy eyes, and other allergy concerns.

The good thing is, there are plenty of ways to manage and overcome winter allergies. We asked Nurse Kate some questions on the topic, and we hope her expertise can help guide you to a happy, healthy winter.

Question #1: Every year I’m fine in the summer and fall, but when winter rolls around I start sneezing and I end up with a sore throat. What could be causing my allergies in the winter?

When the cold weather rolls around, we inevitably spend more time indoors. While this tendency helps us to stay warm and cozy, it also causes us to be exposed to more indoor allergens such as dust mites, pet dander, and molds.

Question #2: It’s annoying, but I’ve just accepted that I’m going to get sick at some point during the winter. How do I tell if my symptoms are from allergies, cold, or flu?

Good question! Cold and flu symptoms tend to be short lived, lasting only a few weeks. Allergies, on the other hand, tend to last longer.  Sneezing and itchy, watery eyes often accompany allergies as well. The National Institute of Health has a great chart to help you determine if allergies, a cold, or the flu might be causing your symptoms.  If you think you might have a cold or the flu and aren’t sure what type of treatment you need, or feel you aren’t getting any better, be sure to contact your local healthcare provider for more assistance.

Question #3: I seem to sneeze whenever the furnace turns on in my house. What’s going on with that?

When the furnace turns on, air begins to circulate around the house, which kicks up those common allergens. If you are prone to allergies, you might find yourself sneezing more when this happens. A few ways to combat this issue is to dust and vacuum your home on a regular basis. Then check to make sure your furnace’s filter is rated to filter out common allergens.

Question #4: We don’t like to keep our dog outside when it gets really cold, so he spends most of the winter inside with us. Is that alright?

Of course! Our furry friends are prone to getting frostbite and hypothermia in cold weather just like us. It’s great that you are bringing your dog inside. The Humane Society has a great article on ways to protect your pets during winter months. If you find that your allergies are acting up since bringing your dog indoors, try some of the techniques described above.

Question #5: When I try to work out inside, it can be hard for me to breathe. How can I fix that, and when is it safe to exercise outdoors in the winter?

If you are having a hard time breathing at any point during exercise, stop what you are doing. Take a moment to catch your breath. If you are still struggling to breath after stopping the exercise, seek emergency medical attention immediately. If you catch your breath after stopping the exercise, consult with your doctor for further evaluation. He or she will be able to help you determine what might be causing your symptoms.

After coming up with a treatment plan, your doctor may give you the green light to exercise outdoors. This can be especially refreshing during the winter months, when we are otherwise cooped up inside. If you aren’t sure when it is safe to exercise outdoors during the winter, the Mayo Clinic offers excellent guidelines for keeping yourself safe and healthy when pursuing wintertime fitness.

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 content is for informational and educational purposes only and any use thereof is solely at your own risk.

Healthy Clean Air | Environment |

Top 5 Summer Allergens Invading The Home

2 minute read

Top 5 Summer Allergens

Summer Allergen #1: Pollen

  • Six out of ten people are exposed to pollen trapped indoors

Summer Allergen #2: Dust Mites

  • An estimated 10% of the general population, and 90% of people with allergic asthma, are sensitive to dust mites

Summer Allergen #3: Pet Dander

  • An estimated 10% of the entire population may be allergic to pet dander

Summer Allergen #4: Mold

  • Roughly 15% of Americans are allergic to mold. Moisture control is the most important strategy for reducing indoor allergens from mold growth

Summer Allergen #5: Mildew

  • Scientists have identified over 1,000 types of mold and mildew inside houses in the United States

Prevent Irritants from Entering Your Home

Take measures to reduce allergens by making sure dust, dirt, and other pollutants are prevented from entering the house. Remove shoes before entering the household. Be sure to close and windows and doors during high pollen days. Do not allow smoking indoors.

Install a Whole-Home Air Purifier System

Whole-home air purifier systems remove up to 99% of airborne allergens and contaminants (even those one micron in size) and are 40 times more efficient than a standard furnace filter. This system removes allergens such as dust, dust mites, pet dander, mold spores, pollen, viruses, fungi, mold, and other dangerous substances from the air throughout the entire home.

Maintain Humidity Levels at Home

Whole-home humidifiers and dehumidifiers can help control allergens with the perfect level of moisture—one in which dust mites, mold, and mildew are not likely to survive.

Environment | Healthy Home |

Spring Home Checklist: Your “Honey Do” list has arrived!

2 minute read

Your “Honey Do” list has arrived! Below are some important and relatively easy home maintenance projects you can complete in a few weekends. Print this page out, hang it on the fridge, and check them off as you go.

Home Maintenance “Honey Do” List

  1. Inspect Your Foundation: From outside your house (and inside, if you have a basement), inspect your home’s foundation for cracks.
  2. Look in the Attic: Especially if it’s unfinished, the attic may be a place you rarely venture. However, like the basement, it says a lot about your house. Look for leaks and signs of rodents or bugs. Also, look for mold, which may appear as gray or black stains.
  3. Check the Gutters: No one wants to go out in a storm. But the next time a moderate rain blows through, throw on a slicker and take a quick walk around your house. Confirm that water is making its way to the downspouts and not running off the sides or over the top of the gutter.
  4. Service the Air Conditioner: A spring check of the cooling equipment should be performed each year. Maintained equipment runs more efficiently and last longer.
  5. Use a Pressure Washer: While spring cleaning is going on inside, there is plenty of home maintenance to do outside as well. A pressure washer is a great way to remove algae, mold, dirt, and other stains from a house with vinyl, aluminum, or other engineered siding.
  6. Repair Cracks and Potholes: In cold climates, ice and snow do a number on sidewalks and driveways. Fill in or patch any defects that could lead to injury for you, a loved one, or a passerby.
  7. Inspect Your Deck: Take a look under your deck and make sure there are no rotted boards or broken supports. This could be dangerous when you invite a big group over for a BBQ.
  8. Reset the Patio: Prevent stubbing your toe or tripping your mother-in-law by leveling out raised or sunken bricks. You will need paver sand, a trowel and a level.Home maintenance can also serve as marriage maintenance too.
  9. Sharpen your Lawn Tools: Grab a file and put a nice new edge on the blade of lawnmowers, hedge trimmers, and other gardening instruments.
  10. Perform General Indoor Cleaning: Deep cleaning carpets and dusting hard to reach places can remove allergens and other irritants. A whole-home air purifier also helps trap dust and allergens as they travel through the house.

Environment |

Summer’s Most Common Bugs

2 minute read

When it comes to a love of humidity, humans and pests are on opposite ends of the spectrum. While we tend to despise air that is thick with heat and water vapor, most bugs actually thrive in it and need it to live.

Unfortunately, this means that the impending summer humidity in certain parts of the country is about to bring these summer pests out in a big way.

Summer’s Most Common Pests

Cockroaches

The German cockroach is the most common roach species infesting our homes in North America. They are attracted to warm and humid places, making your kitchen and the water heater in the basement their most frequented hideaways.

Silverfish

These small, wingless insects are nocturnal and need to keep their bodies moist at all times in order to survive. You are likely to find them beneath boxes or furniture in your basement, the shower, or hiding in your kitchen.

Centipedes

Carnivorous and nocturnal, with their 100 feet, these pests can move quickly and spend most of the day hiding in humid, secluded places. They are highly attracted to the moist, humid parts of the home because they need to rehydrate constantly in order to live.

Earwigs

Known to burrow into topsoil outside, these nocturnal bugs can also infiltrate dark and humid areas of your home. You are most likely to find them around floor drains, bathrooms, or under rugs or furniture.

Roly-Poly Bugs

Also known as pill bugs, sow bugs, potato bugs, or armadillo bugs, these bugs often infest damp basements.

Tips to Prevent/Eliminate Summer Pests:

Healthy Home |

Professionals Needed: Here Are The Home Projects You Should Never DIY

2 minute read

So you bought your first house and can’t wait to rip up that crummy carpet. Go for it! But if you hit dirt, you might need to call in backup. As more millennials take the plunge into home ownership, it’s becoming more and more common to see DIY projects big and small. Things like carpet removal are doable. But no matter how many tips and tricks you’ve picked up from HGTV, Pinterest, or YouTube, there are some projects that simply aren’t worth the money, time, or risk to do yourself.

Setting Limits on DIY Home Projects

Skill Level for DIY Home Projects:

For some people, DIY is a way of life. For the rest of us, we need to be honest about our skills and level of experience. Sometimes a “simple” job can actually be a lot more complex than it appears. Hire a professional for these projects before you try it yourself and make a mistake that costs way more to fix.

  • Paving your driveway
  • Custom kitchen and bathroom jobs – backsplashes, flooring, countertops
  • Pest removal
  • Window Installation

Time Commitment for DIY Home Projects:

Some home improvement jobs can take weeks to complete when you try to do them yourself. For big projects, hiring a professional will mean a quicker and more efficient job done well so you can get back to enjoying your home without interruptions.

  • Large landscaping projects
  • Flooring
  • Demolition

Permission for DIY Home Projects:

Some home improvement projects require permits due to building codes. Save yourself the headache, and possible code violation, by hiring a professional who’s familiar with the process when it comes to these types of jobs.

  • Additions and remodels
  • Deck or patio addition
  • Major electrical/plumbing work
  • Pool installation and repairs

Safety Risk for DIY Home Projects:

If there’s any question of your ability to do something without injury or structural damage to your home, it’s most definitely a job for a professional.

  • Mold, asbestos, lead removal
  • Tree removal
  • Roof and foundation repairs
  • HVAC system installation and repair

When you’ve decided you need a pro, try to keep the process simple to save you time and headaches. Start by reaching out to a few trusted contractors in your area to get estimates on the work, (recommendations from friends are a great place to start) and then consider price and professionalism before making your decision.

When it comes to HVAC work, we make it easy to find a pro. Along with plumbing and electrical work, HVAC is an area where it’s crucial to get the job done right the first time.

Sources:

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/millennials-take-on-diy-projects-with-more-confidence-and-budgeting-discipline-than-previous-generations-300813538.html

https://www.familyhandyman.com/smart-homeowner/10-home-projects-you-should-always-hire-a-pro-for/

https://www.ahs.com/home-matters/quick-tips/8-household-projects-to-leave-to-professionals/

https://www.rd.com/home/improvement/diy-home-improvement-projects/

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/projects-you-should-not-diy_n_3923456

https://www.hallerent.com/blog/when-to-call-professional-for-home-improvement-repairs/

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AA Homepage Articles | Healthy Home |

Rebates for ENERGY STAR®- Certified Aprilaire Products

2 minute read

ENERGY STAR® Rebates

Sustainability and wellness are more than just trends at Aprilaire. We are seeking ways to reduce energy consumption with our products while also providing innovative technology and increased efficiency to improve your home’s indoor air quality. ENERGY STAR® is in pursuit of the same goal.

To encourage energy-efficient purchases, ENERGY STAR® has compiled a list of offerings for ENERGY STAR® certified products from energy companies across the United States. Consumers can search by zip code or product type to see if any incentives or rebates are available in their area.

ENERGY STAR® recently awarded several of our products for their energy-efficiencies including our 1870 Dehumidifier, and our 8144NC and 8145 Ventilation Systems.

ENERGY STAR®-rated products provide long-term cost-savings and energy-efficiency to lower the economic and environmental burden of energy consumption. In fact, in 2018, ENERGY STAR® – rated products saved consumers and companies $35B in energy costs. Products under the ENERGY STAR® label are available for rebates and incentives.

ENERGY STAR®-certified products do not just save money. They also increase a home’s indoor air quality.

Products That Save Money and Improve IAQ

The 1870 removes excess moisture from the home to help reduce mold spores, pests, and to protect indoor furnishings from warping. Our digital control makes it easy for you to set the relative humidity that is appropriate for your house. The 1870 is low maintenance with no messy trays to empty, and simple annual filter cleaning or replacement.

The 8145 is designed to bring the right amount of air into the home. Ventilation helps dilute airborne contaminants by bringing in fresh outdoor air. When installed, the 8145 meets several codes and is part of the Healthy Air System™. Ventilation is a critical component for homes, which are built for energy efficiency. As a result, airborne contaminants build up inside the home and can make residents sick. A ventilation system helps bring in fresh air to dilute those contaminants to help increase the home’s indoor air quality.

The 8144NC is built for multi-family homes. It provides the same level of care and attention to the indoor environment as the 8145.

Other IAQ Products That May Also Be Eligible for Rebates

While creating a healthier indoor environment, products like our smart home thermostats or air purifiers may also qualify for rebates. Our smart thermostats give you a simple interface to control your different Aprilaire products including temperature, air purifiers, ventilation, and humidity. You can set a schedule based upon your ideal settings depending on the day and time

Our whole-home air purifiers will filter out airborne pollutants better protecting you, your family, and your HVAC system. Our Event-Based Air Cleaning will allow you to control air purity and help clear out any lingering odors and extra airborne impurities you need to remove due to allergy season, spring cleaning, or arriving. And it all works with the touch of a button.

Reducing energy costs, helping the environment, and breathing healthy air is a win-win-win. Be sure to continue to check in with ENERGY STAR® and your local energy company to find different offerings to help you reduce energy consumption and save money.

Please note: Before purchasing any products, contact your energy company.

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