Family |

Responsible Pet Ownership: Teaching Kids The Dos and Don’ts

3 minute read

“Can we get a pet?”

It’s the age-old question, and it’s often answered with, “Well honey, a pet is a huge responsibility.”

And it’s true, owning and caring for a pet takes a lot of time and energy. But the bond it creates and the responsibility it teaches are well worth the work.

Here are some tips on teaching your kids the valuable lessons that come from being a responsible pet owner.

Preparation for responsible pet ownership

Before making the decision to get a pet, take the idea for a test run. Look at books on animals at the library and watch a TV special on pets. Visit a shelter, pet store, or family and friends who have pets. Kids are sponges when it comes to information, especially when it’s a subject they’re passionate about. This introduction will help them become animal experts and foster their curiosity to prepare them for the hard work ahead.

Decisions, Decisions

Coaching your child through decisions, as opposed to making decisions for them, is a great opportunity for them to learn how to think. Discuss pros and cons of different pets to help your child understand that a ninety pound dog might not be the best option for your family or the dog if you live in a tiny apartment.

Once they’ve reasoned through which pet will be the best fit for your family, they can help decide what you’ll name it, the color of its collar, what tank/cage to get, and so on. The more involved they are, the more naturally they’ll take responsibility for their pet.

Daily Needs

Regardless of the pet your family decides on, it’s going to need to be taken care of. Some pets will require a lot more attention, like brushing and grooming, while others might just need the basics of food and water. Either way, let these tasks be your child’s responsibility as long as they’re age appropriate.

This creates consistency and routine for the child, and teaches them empathy and understanding that animals have needs just like people. Learning how it feels to have another living creature rely on them for survival teaches responsibility in a way unique to any other.

Alpha Dog

This tip is specifically for dog owners and comes from Lisa Hartfield, owner of Webshire Kennels, based in Northeastern Wisconsin. She advises that, “Because dogs are pack animals, they feel most comfortable when there is a leader and they aren’t left to decide right from wrong. For this reason, even the youngest members of a family should take on the role of leader with their canine companions.”

Teach your children how to give firm and direct commands so that your dog will not view them as a litter mate that they can ignore. Dogs, much like children, thrive with consistency and when they know what is expected of them.

Action Accountability

Pets and kids are natural workout buddies. They’ve both got energy to burn and don’t mind getting a little dirty playing around outside. Your child can start to learn the importance of getting active when they know their pet is relying on them to get exercise and stay healthy.

Play is just as important as exercise; it’s enriching for your pets, and allows your child to use their imagination and creativity. Challenge your child to come up with fun games, or activities to play with their pet and be sure to remind them often that their pet is another member of the family and should not be ignored.

Healthy Environment

While we adore our pets and all the love and life lessons they bring us, living with animals also presents its own set of problems when it comes to the health of your home. Be aware of: odors, decreased indoor air quality, and potentially allergies and asthma. Some pets can even carry parasites, bacteria, or viruses that can affect health.

Maintaining a healthy home is just one more piece of the puzzle when it comes to being a responsible pet owner.

Healthy Air | Wellness |

Your Wellness Journey: Heart Health for American Heart Month

2 minute read

Valentine’s Day is as good of time as any to care about heart health.

Not in the emotional sense of, “Should I or shouldn’t I eat the whole box of chocolates at once?” But in the physical sense of, “Am I making the most heart healthy choices for my body?”

Heart Health On Track

Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are responsible for taking approximately 17.9 million lives each year, making it the number one cause of death globally.

 And while behaviors such as an unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, tobacco use and harmful use of alcohol are all obvious risk factors, the air we breathe can have a huge impact on our heart health as well.

Breathing in particulates, (the tiny particles that float in polluted air), puts you at a higher risk of heart and brain problems, especially in people who are already at risk. Here are some of the problems it can present:

  • Increased risk of blood clots, which can cause a stroke
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Raised blood pressure
  • Swelling or inflammation of blood vessels
  • Atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries)

Follow these tips to limit your exposure to air pollution and make this February, which just happens to be American Heart Month, less about the chocolate hearts and more about your cardiovascular health.

Heart Health Tips

  • Start with a Healthy Heart – Having a healthy heart makes you less vulnerable to the harmful effects of air pollution.
    • Make smart food choices – Even something a simple as splitting an entree with your Valentine is a great place to start, or stay home and cook an intimate meal for two so you can be in complete control of what you’re eating.
    • Keep your body moving – Take a romantic stroll in lieu of a movie. Walking not only provides heart healthy benefits but it also cuts down on exposure to indoor air pollution, which can be worse than outdoor air.
    • Don’t smoke – One of the best things you can do for your heart is to quit smoking and/or limit your exposure to secondhand smoke.
    • Manage any pre-existing health conditions with regular check-ups and by taking the medicine you’ve been prescribed.
  • Do an Air Check- Before heading out to work, school, or to play, you can check your local air quality index. Green means go on this rating scale and shows it’s safe for everyone to spend time outside. People with health conditions, however, should limit the time they spend outdoors when a yellow or orange rating is given.
  • Switch Up your Workout – You might need to change where and how hard you workout in areas with low air quality. Avoid exercise that will result in heavy breathing if you are near high traffic roads, power plants, or even a gym with poor ventilation.
  • Purify your Air – Invest in an Air Purifier for your home and office to remove pollutants. Reducing the amount of particulates in the air can lower blood pressure and inflammation.

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

Learn More

Family |

Easy Kids Crafts: Valentine’s Day Negative Space Hearts

3 minute read

Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to teach your kids any number of things: how to show emotion, portion control with candy, and how to get a little artsy.

This craft project involves several fine motor skills that can be easily modified for kids of any age. It’s the perfect way to make a cute card for a friend, grandparent, or just to hang on the fridge to share some love.

The grand reveal of the negative space created by the heart cutouts is a thrill for almost any kid. And, who knows, it may even distract them from the candy hearts for just a bit.

Materials

  • White paper
  • Colored paper of choice
  • Pencil to draw heart outlines
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Festive colored paints – Red, Pink, Purple (whatever you have on hand)

Activity Prep:

This is when the age and ability of the child comes into play. You’re going to need to draw the heart shapes for younger children, but some kids might be able to draw the hearts on their own.

The tried and true way to make a heart is to fold your colored paper in half and then draw half a heart along the folded edge.

Next, either you or your child will cut along the line to reveal your (hopefully) perfectly symmetrical heart. You can make as many as you’d like in varying sizes.

Then, you’ll need to tape down the colored hearts on your white paper. Older kids can help roll tape circles and stick their own hearts down, while toddlers can press the hearts down once the tape is already applied for them.

The more your child is able to do on their own, the more engaged they’ll be in the activity.

Creating the Negative Space Hearts:

Now, it’s time to dip into those paints! Infants can use their fingers to dip and dot the paint, and feel free to let older kids and even toddlers pick their choice of tool, (finger, cotton ball, paint sponge, etc.)

The key is to dot all around the edge of the heart first to make sure the outline will be visible when you’re done.

Once the paint is all around the outline, let them go crazy filling up the rest of the white space. It can be as sparse or as dense as they want. Let them be creative with the colors they use and how many dots they create.

The final step is fun for any age! Once they’ve finished making their fingerprints or dots all around the page, it’s time to peel up the hearts.

Do this slowly so you don’t tear the heart as you peel. You may even consider waiting for the paint to dry slightly so you don’t run the risk of smearing the paint into the heart shape.

Now you can let your little one decide where to display their masterpiece.

Try it on the wall or the fridge, or they can even take it to school or daycare to give to someone special.

Wellness | News |

Training for the American Lung Association’s Fight For Air Climb

2 minute read

The Fight For Air Climb is a great way to challenge yourself physically while making a positive impact on millions of Americans affected by lung disease.

Climbers can join friends, family, and/or co-workers in this fun fitness challenge by climbing to the top of America’s most prominent skyscrapers. There are 42 Fight For Air Climb events throughout the year.  To find the closest event to you, go to https://www.lung.org/get-involved/events/fight-for-air-climb/. Or go to the bottom of this page, where there are links for each of the 42 cities participating in this year’s event. The cities are listed in alphabetical order.

To make sure you’re prepared, we strongly encourage you to train for the upcoming climb.

Training for the Fight For Air Climb

Remember to start slow and to go at your own pace. You can begin with a 10-minute workout each week to help build your cardiovascular fitness.

Another fun and easy way to increase your cardiovascular fitness is to do interval training by mixing in different speeds and effort levels. For example: do 2 minutes of something easier, like a walk, followed by a minute of something that requires maximum effort, like running.

Other ways to challenge yourself while keeping the training fun and interesting is to: listen to music or to come up with different challenges and goals. For example: adding another couple minutes of interval training or adding additional steps in to your daily routine will help you challenged and accountable.

Don’t forget that you will also want to make sure you’re also stretching properly; eating plenty of nutritious foods like lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats; and most importantly, having fun!

Listed below are several exercises you can do inside the comfort of your home to help you train.

  1. Squats
  2. Lunges
  3. Jumping Jacks
  4. Calf Raise
  5. Donkey Kicks
  6. Mountain Climbers
  7. Yoga
  8. Burpees

Other Training Tools

There are several more training exercises you can do at home depending on your fitness level and experience.

You can also find several training videos with the American Lung Association’s  Fight For Air Climb Ambassador Najee Richardson.

There’s even a place to sign up for exclusive training and tips from Richardson.

Locations of Fight For Air Climb 2020

Albuquerque

Atlanta

Baltimore

Boston

Buffalo

Chicago

Cincinnati

Cleveland

Columbus

Charlotte

Dallas

Denver

Des Moines

Detroit

Fort Myers

Hartford

Houston

Indianapolis

Jacksonville

Kansas City

Louisville

Los Angeles

Miami

Minneapolis

Milwaukee

Nashville

New Orleans

New York

Newark

Oakbrook Terrace

Oklahoma City

Orlando

Phoenix

Philadelphia

Pittsburgh

Portland

Providence

Rochester

Springfield

San Francisco

St. Louis

Tampa

 

 

Healthy Air | Wellness |

Fresh Air: Why You Should Know About the American Lung Association’s Saved By The Scan Campaign

2 minute read

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death in America, with a survival rate of 21.7%.  Meaning that 4 in 5 individuals diagnosed with lung cancer will ultimately pass away from the disease. Part of the reason that lung cancer is so deadly is that it’s often diagnosed after the cancer has spread. But if lung cancer is caught early, the likelihood of surviving 5 years or more improves to 56%.

If each of the eight million Americans at high risk for lung cancer were to be screened, about 48,000 lives would be saved.

That’s why the American Lung Association developed the Saved By The Scan campaign – to increase lung cancer survival rates and ultimately save lives. Since launching in 2017, Saved By the Scan has enabled over 400,000 Americans to learn if they might be at high risk for lung cancer and raises awareness of a new low-dose CT scan that can detect lung cancer in the earliest stages, when it is most curable.

 

What is a low-dose CT scan?

A low-dose CT scan is a special kind of X-ray that takes multiple pictures as you lie on a table that slides in and out of the machine. A computer then combines these images into a detailed picture of your lungs.

  • A quick, painless, and non-invasive way to screen for lung cancer
  • It uses a special kind of x-ray that continuously rotates in a spiral motion and takes multiple 3-D pictures of the lung
  • It doesn’t use any dyes, injections, or require anything to be swallowed
  • The x-rays are extremely detailed and can reveal lung abnormalities the size of a grain of rice
  • It takes less than one minute to complete

Who should get a low-dose CT scan?

Lung cancer screening is available for those at high risk of lung cancer:

  • Individuals 55 – 80 years of age
  • Have a 30 pack-year history of smoking
  • And, are a current smoker, or have quit within the last 15 years

Take the American Lung Association’s Lung Cancer Screen Eligibility Quiz if you aren’t sure whether you’re eligible for the screening , and access a doctor discussion guide to help with a conversation with your healthcare provider.

While there are many factors that can lead to lung cancer, smoking is still the number one risk factor for lung cancer.  If you want to stop smoking, there are a number of helpful resources available that can help you quit in a way that works best for you. You should also talk to your doctor, and visit any of the following for quitting support:

  • Join Freedom From Smoking – the American Lung Association’s proven-effective smoking cessation program
  • Tips from Former Smokers from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Call 1-800-LUNGUSA to talk one-on-one with a tobacco cessation counselor

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

Learn More

Environment | Healthy Air |

Healthy Air Needs for Winter: Northeast vs. Southwest

2 minute read

Staying healthy in the winter can be tough to do. It seems like there’s always someone around you who is battling the flu or a cold. And there are several different needs for air pollution united states regions.

To give yourself the best chance for a healthy winter, take a look at your indoor air environment. The air you breathe every day at home and at work plays a huge role in your overall health.

And creating a healthy indoor environment takes different steps, depending on where you live.

Winter Air Polluton By United States Regions

Winter air pollution depends on the length and severity of the season. Increased humidity and mold growth can result from extreme temperatures and precipitation, while droughts and wildfires can increase exposure to smoke, dust, VOCs, and more.

The increase in extreme weather and the weatherization of our homes makes common indoor air pollutants more severe and widespread during the winter months. Take a look at some steps you can take to maintain healthy Indoor Air Quality based on your geographical region.

Winter Air Pollution United States: NORTHEAST Region

The Northeast is infamous for its extreme winter weather. From heavy snow and ice to freezing temperatures and blizzard conditions, there is often no choice but to take refuge indoors. And after sealing leaks and adding insulation to keep warm and save energy, ventilation that removes indoor air pollutants is also reduced.

Improve Indoor Air Quality
  • Control Indoor Moisture
    • Dry any visible accumulation immediately and then deal with the source
    • Open drapes and blinds to expose interior glass to warmth
    • Use exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens and make sure fans are properly cleaned to maintain the highest efficiency
    • Run a dehumidifier in any room with poor air circulation
  • Prevent Mold Growth
    • Ensure good air circulation within your home by reducing clutter and moving furniture away from walls
    • Use mold-resistant products and materials; metal, glass, tile or laminate floors, etc.
    • Have carpets and upholstery in your home cleaned by a professional at least once a year

Winter Air Pollution United States: SOUTHWEST Region

While warmer temperatures are one of the Southwest’s defining characteristics, this region of the United States still faces its own winter weather issues. Dust from wind storms and wildfire smoke from the summer months can build up in ventilation systems, and make Indoor Air Quality worse well into winter.

Improve Indoor Air Quality
  • Reduce Wood Smoke
    • Always check for alerts before burning
    • Refrain from burning firewood in your fireplace, stove, or outdoor fire pit on No-Burn days
    • Be mindful of what you burn year-round; only burn clean, dry wood in short, hot fires
    • Use a gas or propane powered barbecue rather than a wood or charcoal-fired cooking device
  • Control Dust and VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) levels
    • Never dry dust; wear an air-filtering mask while dusting with a damp cloth
    • Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter so dust doesn’t blow back into the air
    • Use non-toxic cleaning products whenever possible
  • Maintain your HVAC System Air Filters
    • Check your filters regularly
    • Change them as needed; dirty air filters are a major air contributor to poor Indoor Air Quality
    • Ensure that the filters are secured tightly when installed to avoid any gaps between the frame of the filter and the rack to reduce bypass air

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

Learn More

Healthy Air | News |

The Fight for Air Climb: Aprilaire Supports the American Lung Association

2 minute read

No elevator. No escalator. People all over the country will be ditching their morning elevator ride to take the stairs in honor of National Take the Stairs Day – reminding us all that a healthy lifestyle is achieved just one step at a time. The American Lung Association is calling on those stair-steppers with a new challenge – the Fight For Air Climb!

The Lung Association’s signature indoor event is a celebratory, stair-climbing adventure that encourages the whole family to climb the stairs of our country’s most prominent skyscrapers. And this year, Aprilaire is stepping up to the challenge as the FY20 national sponsor for the American Lung Association Fight For Air Climb event. Participants join the Fight For Air Climb for the shared challenge and the camaraderie, and also to support friends and loved ones living with a lung disease. Simultaneously, they raise funds for clean air and lung health education, advocacy and research.

More than 37.5 million Americans live with a chronic lung disease like asthma, COPD, or lung cancer, and 141 million Americans live in counties with unhealthy air. Tens of thousands of participants came together at 42 Fight For Air Climb events across the country last year to raise more than $8 million for lifesaving lung health research, patient education, and public policy efforts.

“Breathing should not be an uphill battle, but for many, it is,” said Harold Wimmer, President and CEO of the American Lung Association. “The Fight For Air Climb is an exhilarating experience for not only running and fitness enthusiasts, but people of all abilities – and is a humble reminder that no one should have to fight for air on a daily basis.”

“We believe everyone deserves Healthy Air,” 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 an organization whose mission aligns so closely with our own.”

Register for a local Fight For Air Climb at FightForAirClimb.org. For more information about lung health and the American Lung Association, visit Lung.org or call the Lung HelpLine at 1-800-LUNGUSA.

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

Learn More