Dry-air-and-home-care-for-elderly-family

Healthy Humidity |

Dry Air and Home Care for Elderly Family Members

2 minute read

More senior citizens are moving in with their adult children than ever before. In fact, the number of elderly family members living in their children’s homes has doubled since 1995, according to AARP.

This only further stresses the need for Healthy Air.

Just as you’d prioritize creating a Healthy Home environment for your children, creating healthy living conditions for Mom and Pop should be at the top of your list as well – particularly in dry, cold climates.

We already know that dry air can lead to:
• Bronchitis
• Sinusitis
• Asthma
• Dry and Itchy Skin
• Influenza
• Nosebleeds

But how does dry air affect us as we age?

From a general standpoint, dry air has been shown to increase the spread of flu viruses, which can affect everyone in your home. For senior citizens, recovering from the flu is tougher than those with stronger immune systems. In fact, the flu can possibly even turn into pneumonia, which could have serious repercussions.

Additionally, elderly family members with asthma and COPD – or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – can experience lung spasms due to cold, dry air.

Even on a basic level, older generations are more susceptible to dry, flaky skin that can be uncomfortable, leading to cracking and chapping. This is may not seem as detrimental as the above examples, but itchy skin can certainly impact the quality of life for everyone in your home.

The effects of dry air are particularly worse in cold climates, often for one simple reason: furnaces.

In cold areas where the air is already dry, heating systems need to be used to heat the home. The problem is that furnaces also tend to further dry out the air, leading to arid environments and sick families.

Encourage your loved ones to:

  • Take advantage of available flu vaccines to prevent complications
  • Wear thick scarves that add moisture to the air they breathe
  • Reduce hot showers that can dry out skin
  • Moisturize often to reduce cracked or chapped skin
  • Hydrate as often as possible to keep their bodies in top shape
  • Use a whole-home humidifier to quell the effects of dry air

Moisture in the presence of dry air is beneficial for the whole family.

“The best way to keep the air in your home from getting too dry is by running a humidifier.” – Synergy Home Care

Per the EPA, aim to keep the humidity in your home between 30% and 50% year-round to help your elderly loved ones breathe easy.

* * *

If you’re in need of an Aprilaire whole-home humidifier, take the first step toward a happier, healthier home by having a certified professional assist you, or learn more about Healthy Humidity and its effect on our health.

Sources:

https://www.aarp.org/home-family/friends-family/info-2018/adults-live-with-children-fd.html

https://www.aprilaire.com/healthy-home/healthy-home-101/humidification-blueprint

https://www.comfortkeepers.com/info-center/category/senior-care/article/winter-health-risks-for-seniors

https://www.synergyhomecare.com/agencies/ct/stamford/ct01/blog/posts/2016/3/1/how-dry-air-in-the-home-can-affect-your-elderly-loved-one/

https://www.aprilaire.com/healthy-air/healthy-humidity

Healthy Humidity Plays a Key Role in Wellness
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Climate-change-latest-facts-and-figures

Environment | Healthy Air |

Climate Change: What Are the Latest Facts and Figures?

2 minute read

Climate change describes the complex shifts currently affecting our world’s weather and climate systems.

“Climate change encompasses not only rising average temperatures but also extreme weather events, shifting wildlife populations and habitats, rising seas, and a range of other impacts. All of those changes are emerging as humans continue to add heat-trapping greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, changing the rhythms of climate that all living things have come to rely on.” –The National Geographic

Current atmospheric levels of heat-trapping substances like carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide are higher than ever recorded in the last 800,000 years. Scientists have documented several impacts on the world around us.

Impact of Climate Change

  • Melting ice
  • Rising sea levels
  • More extreme weather conditions
  • Higher temperatures affecting wildlife and their habitats
  • Animal migration to cooler areas
  • Increased precipitation in many areas across the globe
  • Severe drought in other areas resulting in wildfires, loss of crops, and drinking water shortages
  • Some invasive species are thriving, like the bark beetles that feed on spruce and pine trees, leaving millions of forest acres devastated in the U.S.

Climate Change and Air Quality

The damaging effects on our outdoor environment are plentiful and obvious. Less recognized, or talked about, are the hazardous effects to our Indoor Air Quality due to this rapid rise in greenhouse gases.

The latest scientific findings on the effects of climate change on indoor air and public health are divided into two major categories. These changes result in lowered Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) and Health.

Changes in the Outdoor Environment Due to Climate Change

  • Heat stress and deaths caused by heat waves
  • Dampness and mold caused by severe storms and flooding
  • Exposure to gaseous air pollutants due to wildfires
  • Increase in humidity and dust mite allergies
  • Indoor exposure to outdoor ozone resulting in respiratory health issues
  • Longer pollen season due to warmer temperatures

Adaptations To and Mitigation Of Climate Change

  • Positive and negative impacts from increased use of air conditioning
  • Positive and negative impacts from changes in building design and energy efficiency measures
  • Introducing low biomass stoves, which consume much less energy than traditional stoves

For more information on Indoor Air Quality and how it’s impacted by climate change, refer to Aprilaire’s resources on Healthy Air.

Sources:

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/global-warming-effects/

https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/climate-change-indoor-environment-and-health

https://iaqscience.lbl.gov/cc

https://health2016.globalchange.gov/air-quality-impacts/content/climate-impacts-indoor-air-quality-and-health-emerging-issue

https://iaqscience.lbl.gov/ieq-environment

It’s Time to Care About Healthy Air
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Effects-Of-Vaping

Healthy Air | Wellness |

Health Effects of Vaping

2 minute read

In the last decade, we have seen the rise in popularity of vaping and e-cigarettes.

Vaping and Its Effects

“Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, include e-pens, e-pipes, e-hookah, and e-cigars are known collectively as ENDS—electronic nicotine delivery systems. According to the FDA, e-cigarettes are devices that allow users to inhale an aerosol containing nicotine or other substances. Unlike traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes are generally battery-operated and use a heating element to heat e-liquid from a refillable cartridge, releasing a chemical-filled aerosol.” –American Lung Association

What’s the Harm in Vaping?

E-cigarettes are marketed as a safer alternative to combustible tobacco products. They are considered as a “safer” way to consume nicotine.

New research, however, is challenging that belief with more evidence about the risks of these products:

  • Highly addictive
  • Exposure to toxic Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
  • Inflammation of the lungs
  • Pneumonia
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Irreversible lung damage/ lung disease
  • Increased risk of heart attack

Environmental Impact of Vaping

Aside from the obvious health risks, our environment and air quality are also feeling the ill effects of e-cigarettes.

There has been a huge push in recent years to stop the use of single use plastic products like straws and k-cups, and yet e-cigarettes are just as environmentally irresponsible. Each JUUL cartridge, or pod, contains 200 puffs and is intended for a single-use.

Here’s a warning from Yogi H. Hendid, a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco, with a background in environmental philosophy and public health: “[E-cigarettes and vaping products’] endocrine-disrupting plastics, lithium-ion batteries, and electronic circuit boards require disassembly, sorting, and proper recycling and disposal. Their instructions do not say anything about disposal. Electronic waste (e-waste) already presents a daunting environmental quandary and is notoriously difficult to recycle. When littered, broken devices can leach metals, battery acid, and nicotine into the local environment and urban landscape.”

As the debate over how to regulate this e-cigarette epidemic continues, it is just as important to consider the environmental effects as well as the immediate and secondhand effects of the products.

Sources:
https://truthinitiative.org/research-resources/emerging-tobacco-products/3-ways-juul-harms-environment

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/5-truths-you-need-to-know-about-vaping

https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/e-cigarettes.html

https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/Pages/Teens-Who-Use-E-Cigarettes-are-Exposed-to-Carcinogenic-Compounds.aspx

https://www.cnn.com/2019/09/10/health/vaping-outbreak-2019-explainer/index.html

https://theconversation.com/e-cigarettes-and-a-new-threat-how-to-dispose-of-them-105096

It’s Time to Care About Healthy Air
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Aprilaire-Celebrates-National-Good-Neighbor-Day

Archive |

How Aprilaire Celebrates National Good Neighbor Day

2 minute read

September means that fall is finally here. While we’re all celebrating the start of football and sweater weather, we also have the opportunity to celebrate National Good Neighbor Day on September 28th.

Jimmy Carter’s National Good Neighbor Day address:

“As our Nation struggles to build friendship among the peoples of this world, we are mindful that the noblest human concern is concern for others. Understanding, love, and respect build cohesive families and communities. The same bonds cement our Nation and the nations of the world. For most of us, this sense of community is nurtured and expressed in our neighborhoods where we give each other an opportunity to share and feel part of a larger family…I call upon the people of the United States and interested groups and organizations to observe such day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.”

This sentiment is not lost on Aprilaire, where being a Good Neighbor is a core value.  On a business-wide basis, Aprilaire continually supports our community in as many ways as we can, whenever we can.

Aprilaire has given special attention to the Society of St. Vincent De Paul, whose mission statement reads:

“A membership organization, the Society began working in Madison in 1925 with two parish-based groups of members serving their neighbors in need. Today, programs the Society operates in Dane County include a large customer-choice food pantry, a charitable pharmacy, storage for the goods of persons who are homeless, seven thrift stores offering direct charity, housing at Port St. Vincent de Paul and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton House, and several other forms of assistance for people struggling with poverty.”

Aprilaire’s Good Neighbor initiatives at St. Vincent De Paul

  • Encourage employees to lend a hand with reception duties, hosting, and stocking the pantry, at the food pantry.
  • Raised $1000 with our annual Summer Brat Fest
  • Raised $4000 for Blessings in a Backpack, a program that provides school supplies to underprivileged kids

Aprilaire’s other Good Neighbor initiatives

  • Needle-free participation opportunities at our blood drives. They donate their time checking people in, running raffles, or handing out those coveted post-donation refreshments and cookies.
  • Each year we fundraise to provide pack-n-plays to underprivileged mothers in the community.
  • Meet needs in the community through various donation drives throughout the year.

Sources:
https://nationaldaycalendar.com/national-good-neighbor-day-september-28/
https://svdpmadison.org/who-we-are/

Reasons-you-may-be-waking-up-tired

Wellness |

5 Reasons You’re Always Feeling Tired

3 minute read

Feeling tired is almost guaranteed after pulling an all-nighter, or waking up with a crying baby multiple times a night. But hopefully those are exceptions, not the norm for weeks and months.

If you’re waking up after a full night’s sleep and still feeling tired, you might not be getting the quality sleep you think you are.

Reasons Why You’re Feeling Tired

The Wrong Bedtime

Did you know there is actual truth behind whether you’re an “early bird” or a “night owl” based on your body’s chronotype?

Solutions:

  • Understand your specific biological programming
  • Schedule your work and daily activities around your levels of productivity
  • Sleep when YOUR body is designed to rest

Unhealthy Lifestyle

Diet and exercise have major effects on energy levels regardless of how many hours you’re sleeping at night. Filling your body with the wrong type of fuel throughout your day makes it that much harder for your body to rest and recover overnight.

Solutions:

  • Drink more water
  • Limit your alcohol and caffeine intake
    • No more than one drink per day for women, two for men
    • Stop caffeine intake by 2pm and cut off any alcoholic beverages at least three hours before bedtime
  • Eat a balanced, healthy diet
    • Avoid foods with simple carbs and sugars – alcohol, refined grains, processed food
    • Focus on foods rich in vitamins, minerals and other nutrients – fruits, Vegetables, Grains, Proteins, Dairy
  • Exercise to increase energy

 Blue Light Exposure

It should come as no surprise that screen time has increased our exposure to blue light, particularly after lights out. Blue wavelengths are useful during the day, promoting energy and attention. But at night, they can alter the production of melatonin, which is part of your body’s natural method for dozing off.

Solutions:

  • Soak up as much bright light as you can during the day
  • Limit screen time starting two to three hours before you plan to go to sleep
  • If the use of electronics is necessary for you during the evening hours, invest in some blue light-blocking glasses

Poor Sleep Environment

The quality of your rest depends largely on your sleep environment. The “Sleep Doctor”, Michael Breus, PhD., says it’s important to focus on all five senses to create the perfect conditions for a good night’s sleep.

Solutions:

  • Sight: A dark bedroom is essential for restful nights. Use blackout curtains and/or sleep masks while sleeping and limit screen time. Use small night lights if you wake up in the middle of the night to avoid turning on any bright lights.
  • Sound: “Focus on eliminating, reducing, and blocking the noises in your bedroom that are disruptive to your sleep” through the use of earplugs, sound machines, and picking the right alarm.
  • Touch: Invest in high-quality sheets, as well as a medium-firm mattress that you replace every 9-10 years.
  • Smell: Open windows, use an air purifier and/or dehumidifier, or try aromatherapy.
  • Taste: Eat the right foods like we mentioned above, don’t eat too much right before bed, but don’t go to bed hungry either. Aim for a small snack about ninety minutes before bed.
  • Plus, Temperature: Typically the best sleep environment is between 60-67°F. This can be difficult to achieve during the warmest and coldest times of the year, but it’s easier with a programmable thermostat. Set the best temperature for each time of day to save energy and find the most comfortable environment for sleep.

Sleep Disorder

If you’ve tried all of the above and are still having a hard time getting a restful night’s sleep, it might be a bigger issue than the thread count of your sheets. There are several sleep disorders that can interfere with the quality of your sleep: Sleep apnea, narcolepsy, insomnia, restless leg syndrome, bruxism (teeth grinding), and the list goes on.

Solutions:

  • Sleep disorders need to be diagnosed and treated by your healthcare provider, and you will most likely need to go in for a sleep study.

Sources:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25469597

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/blue-light-has-a-dark-side

https://www.healthline.com/health/waking-up-tired-2

https://thesleepdoctor.com/2018/07/29/6-reasons-you-wake-up-tired-after-a-full-night-of-sleep/

https://www.theladders.com/career-advice/10-scientific-reasons-youre-tired-after-a-good-nights-sleep

https://www.healthline.com/health/balanced-diet#what-to-eat

Tips-for-deep-cleaning-your-home

Healthy Home |

Deep Cleaning Tips for Your Home

2 minute read

Home in need of a deep cleaning? Wondering where to start?

This might not be the answer you want to hear, but the first, and most important, step to getting a thoroughly clean home is actually to declutter it. Decluttering and organizing go a long way to assist your deep cleaning efforts. After all, you can’t clean a kitchen counter that’s covered in junk, can you?

Once all the clutter is cleared, it’s time to get cleaning. Follow these room-by-room tips to get that sparkling clean home you’re dreaming of. (Bonus if you can involve the kids in a contest of who can cross off the most tasks!)

Deep Cleaning Tips: Room-by-Room

Bathrooms

  • Wipe down cabinets, mirrors, light fixtures, wall decor, and window treatments
  • Wash bath mats and shower curtains in the washing machine
  • Scrub down showers/tubs, sinks, countertops, and toilets
  • Disinfect door knobs and handles

Kitchen

  • Wipe down the tops of cabinets and insides of all cabinets, shelves, and drawers
  • Wash windows and window treatments
  • Clean each major appliance in detail: refrigerator, oven, microwave, and dishwasher
    • Wipe down inside and surface area
    • Vacuum behind and underneath
  • Disinfect sink
  • Wipe down cleared countertops

Bedrooms

  • Dust/wipe down all surfaces
    • Ceiling fans
    • Window, window sills, mirrors
    • Headboards, footboards, bedposts, baseboards
  • Wash all bed linens, including bed skirts, shams, duvet covers, mattress pads, and pillows
  • Flip or rotate mattress
  • Vacuum and/or mop under bed and dressers focusing on baseboards and corners that often get neglected

Common Areas

  • Wipe down light fixtures, window treatments, and ceiling fans
  • Remove all couch and chair cushions and vacuum each one as well as the space underneath
  • Polish wooden furniture
  • Shampoo rugs/carpets
  • Dust all shelves, decor, and electronics

Laundry/ Mud Rooms

  • Wipe down shelves, hooks, countertops
  • Store or discard/sell/donate unused items
  • Wipe down washer and dryer
  • Sanitize your washing machine
  • Vacuum lint trap filter, dryer vent, underneath and behind appliances

Entire Home

  • Clean moldings/baseboards
  • Clean air vents and ducts
  • Wash windows

Outside

  • Pull any weeds that have sprouted in your landscaping, lawn, or garden
  • Spray down all outdoor furniture, decks, porches, swing sets
  • Sweep off patios, decks, and/or outdoor porches
  • Cover up the air conditioner for the winter

Remember, if you have any questions or concerns about deep cleaning on your own, our professionals offer an annual clean and check to ensure that all your home air systems are clean and running properly. Nothing says a clean home quite like clean air.

Sources:
https://www.merrymaids.com/cleaning-tips/tidy-home/how-to-deep-clean-your-house/

https://www.care.com/c/stories/14975/deep-cleaning-house/

https://dengarden.com/cleaning/How-to-Deep-Clean-Your-House-in-7-Days

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How-meditation-can-improve-your-life

Healthy Air | Wellness |

Health Benefits of Meditation

< 1 minute read

Meditation is an amazing tool that everyone can use to improve their mental and emotional health.

Not only are there a variety of styles to cater to individual strengths and personal gains, but meditation is something you can do anywhere without any special equipment.

Find the method that works for you and try to practice it regularly. It can be as simple as breathing in and out of your nose, or taking the time to close your eyes while free of distractions.

There are literally hundreds of benefits to meditation, but we are going to focus on four main categories of wellness that come from meditating.

Primary Health Benefits of Meditation

Mental Health Benefits

  • Mindfulness practices can decrease depression
  • Help regulate mood and anxiety
  • Reduces overall stress and anxiety

Performance Benefits

  • Improves focus, attention, and ability to perform under stressful conditions
  • Improves information processing and decision making
  • Fosters creativity

Physical Health Benefits

  • Reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and premature death

Relational Health Benefits

  • Improves levels of compassion
  • Improves positive relationships
  • Fosters social connectedness

Your health is further affected by your environment, including your home, your workplace, and wherever you choose to meditate.

Just be sure you’re not cancelling out all the health benefits of meditating by breathing in polluted air. The EPA warns that both the air inside and outside your home can contain air pollutants that cause serious health effects.

So before you start the beneficial deep breathing, learn how to best to maintain your Indoor Air Quality. Then find a quiet place, close your eyes, focus on your breathing, and let your mind do the rest.

Sources:

  1. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/B:COTR.0000045557.15923.96
  2. https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/acm.2006.12.817
  3. https://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/abs/10.1176/ajp.149.7.936
  4. http://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,2008914,00.html
  5. https://newsroom.ucla.edu/
  6. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00116/full
  7. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/CIRCOUTCOMES.112.967406
  8. https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/acm.2008.0416
  9. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-07764-x.pdf?origin=ppub
  10. https://www.healthcentral.com/article/meditation-good-for-loneliness-depression-and-disease-prevention
  11. http://ccare.stanford.edu/article/enhancing-compassion-a-randomized-controlled-trial-of-a-compassion-cultivation-training/
  12. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121004093504.htm
  13.  https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2008-13989-015 
  14. https://liveanddare.com/benefits-of-meditation/
  15. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/12-benefits-of-meditation#section13
  16. https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=1&contentid=3066

It’s Time to Care About Healthy Air
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