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.

spring allergy

AA Homepage Articles | Healthy Air |

Spring Allergy Season 2021: What’s in Store for Your Region?

2 minute read

Listen to the story by clicking the play button above

Spring is fast approaching, and according to our current weather trends, this spring allergy season could be a rough one for those who suffer from asthma and allergies. This is thanks, in part, to our rising temperatures and harsher weather, and their impact on pollen production.

Here’s what spring allergy sufferers should know for spring 2021:

The quantity and location of pollen in the air are largely determined by weather conditions, as well as the time of day and the season.

Allergy symptoms are at their worst in the morning hours, as well as on warm, dry, and windy days. On the contrary, cold and wet or windless days result in lower pollen counts and less symptomatic days.

Looking at allergy rates by region, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America found these cities to be the most challenging places to live for spring allergy sufferers:

  1. Richmond, Virginia
  2. Scranton, Pennsylvania
  3. Springfield, Massachusetts
  4. Hartford, Connecticut
  5. McAllen, Texas
  6. New Haven, Connecticut
  7. San Antonio, Texas
  8. Bridgeport, Connecticut
  9. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  10. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Allergies and COVID-19

As symptoms like congestion and runny nose pop up this spring, it’s important to understand the difference between allergies and COVID-19.

COVID-19 symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, and loss of taste or smell.

Allergies are different in some crucial ways, the main one being that they’re rarely associated with a fever. Instead, the most common allergy symptoms are nasal congestion, sneezing, dry cough, and itching.

Allergies and Masking

The CDC recommends everyone over the age of two, including allergy sufferers, wear a mask to slow the spread of COVID-19. The only exceptions are for individuals with breathing problems, or those who are unconscious or incapacitated and would need assistance removing a mask.

Masks can also offer mild protection against spring allergies by keeping larger particles from being inhaled. So, you may benefit from wearing a mask outdoors if you’re engaging in an activity that stirs up pollen.

Be sure to wash cloth masks after each use, especially when worn outside on a day with a high pollen count.

Managing Spring Allergies

Keep these factors in mind as you try to reduce spring allergy symptoms:

  • Monitor allergy and pollen levels
  • Stay indoors in a clean air environment on dry, windy days
  • Save outside activities for after a rainfall when the pollen will be cleared from the air
  • Ask friends or family members who don’t suffer from allergies to help out with lawn mowing, weed pulling, and other outdoor chores that can stir up allergens
  • Remove clothes worn outside, and shower to rinse your skin and hair
  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from pollen
  • Wash sheets in hot water to get rid of dust mites
  • Don’t dry laundry outside as pollen can stick to sheets and towels, and be carried into your home
  • To remove pollen, mold, and other particles from the air in your home, install an Aprilaire air filter in your HVAC system
  • Keep your indoor air humidity between 30-60% with a humidity control system from Aprilaire. This helps keep your lungs and nasal passages hydrated and can help filter out allergens from the air you breathe

Raise a Happy, Healthy Home
Breathe easy with the blueprints to a Healthy Home.

Learn More
uv light

AA Homepage Articles | Healthy Air |

UV Light Can Be Harmful Tool In Fighting COVID-19

2 minute read

During a crisis, gimmicks can replace tried and true methods. As businesses and the general population look to remedy the health and safety issues of COVID-19, many have turned to ultraviolet (UV) light to help inactivate the airborne viruses.

UV Light Is ‘Potentially Hazardous’

While UV light is used as a disinfectant in hospital’s non-occupied spaces, it is not a credible solution to fight airborne viruses like COVID-19 in populated indoor spaces. UV light is harmful and increased exposure can cause health issues. In addition, any use of ultraviolet light in populated spaces should pass the burden of proof provided by the National Toxicology Program’s 14th Report on Carcinogens.

This is the primary reason that UV light should not be used as a primary tool to fight COVID-19 and other airborne viruses.

Despite the best intentions of businesses to keep patrons safe, using a quick scan of UV lights as patrons enter their business to inactivate COVID-19 aerosols does little to reduce the risk and could be harmful. In these short bursts, users would have to be exposed to high levels of UV light that would likely be harmful in order to be effective.

“However, UV portals that are meant to disinfect people as they enter indoor spaces are likely ineffective and potentially hazardous,” said Dr. Karl Linden, Ph.D., University of Colorado Boulder.

Adding UV light onto your ducts is proven to inactivate airborne viruses that flow through the ducts, but these add-ons are expensive and less beneficial than a MERV 16 or HEPA filter.

Alternatively, an Aprilaire Healthy Air System TM, a three-part, award-winning suite of whole-home Indoor Air Quality products, do not add any ozone or other harmful radiation levels into the air. It can be used in populated indoor spaces to help fight COVID-19 without any increased risk to the population.

Invest in greater health, virus protection, fewer
allergens, more productivity, and better sleep.

Learn More

By leveraging the power of humidity control, fresh air ventilation, and air filtration, you can help reduce the transmission rate of airborne viruses like COVID-19.

Humidity control allows you to keep your home between 30-60 percent relative humidity. This is the optimal range where viruses remain less viable and your body’s natural defenses and immune response are most viable.

Fresh air ventilation dilutes the home of particles and germs and fills your home with fresh, breathable air while maintaining airflow. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information of the National Institutes of Health, ventilation is an important tool in reducing airborne pollutants in indoor air.

Air filtration captures particles that flow through the home and the filter. An Aprilaire MERV 16 filter captures up to 96% of airborne virus-sized particles passing through the filtering system.

To get the Aprilaire Healthy Air SystemTM installed in your house so you and your family can breathe easier with effective virus protection, contact a local Healthy Air Pro.

Healthy Air Is on the Way

Find an Aprilaire professional near you.

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 www.lung.org/aprilaire.

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 https://www.lung.org/aprilaire. 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.

It’s Time to Care About Healthy Air
Breathe a sigh of relief.

Learn More

News |

Aprilaire Partners with Wellness Within Your Walls

2 minute read

Aprilaire is the exclusive Presenting Sponsor for 2020 for Wellness Within Your Walls.

Wellness Within Your Walls (WWYW) is an award-winning education and certification organization which supports reducing and eliminating toxins in living environments to improve overall health and wellness.

The organization’s one-of-a-kind education and certification process enables consumers and professionals to increase awareness about toxins in building materials and furnishings and guide them toward making homes healthier.

Wellness Within Your Walls partnership for national campaign

WWYW will partner with Aprilaire to launch a national “Breathe Healthy” awareness campaign in 2020 to educate consumers, homeowners and the build/design community about the latest products and services that help improve air quality in homes.

“We believe everyone deserves to breathe healthy air, and we believe in the power of education,” said Dale Philippi, president of Aprilaire. “Our mission is to enhance everyone’s health by improving the air in their homes. We are proud to partner with WWYW– an organization building awareness with consumers and professionals about the importance of healthy air.”

“We are excited by our new partnership with Aprilaire. They offer products that solve multiple issues relating to affordable ventilation and humidity control for homes and we’re proud to work with Aprilaire to further elevate the dialog about health and wellness in living environments,” said Jillian Pritchard Cooke, founder of WWYW.

In addition to the “Breathe Healthy” campaign with WWYW, Aprilaire is the FY20 National Healthy Air Sponsor for the American Lung Association Fight For Air Climb events which support raising awareness of the importance of indoor air quality. The two initiatives will dovetail to further educate consumers and professionals alike about why healthy air – especially in the home, is vital for good health. Good air quality improves overall wellness, helps prevent irritating allergens and pests, and helps shield homes from costly damages.

About Wellness Within Your Walls

Wellness Within Your Walls® is an award-winning informational resource group created to provide education and guidance on chemicals commonly found in living and working spaces. With a goal to empower and guide consumers and professionals toward healthier living environments, WWYW certifies people, places, products and programs globally through education and health and wellness protocols. WWYW’s 10-step holistic approach, known as the Healthy Living System™, results in a legacy of health, harmony and sustainability in living environments. WWYW was founded by Jillian Pritchard Cooke, a 30-year industry veteran with experience as president of interior design firm DES-SYN and owner of the eco-living lifestyle boutique BEE. While designing Atlanta’s EcoManor in 2006, the first Gold LEED-certified single-family residence in the U.S., a cancer diagnosis became the catalyst for turning Jillian’s expertise into a passionate commitment to create healthier living environments by reducing toxins. Wellness Within Your Walls was born. The organization provides frequent and sought-after speakers at trade shows, educational opportunities, workshops, seminars and other industry events. For more information, visit: http://www.wellnesswithinyourwalls.com.