AA Homepage Articles | Environment |

Glossary of Terms for COVID-19 Outbreak

6 minute read

A slew of terms has been introduced in connection with the COVID-19 outbreak. Let’s go from A to Z with new people and terms to help you understand the unfolding situation.

COVID-19 Glossary

Adams

  • Jerome Adams is the 20th Surgeon General of the United States. He served as the Indiana State Health Commissioner before being sworn in as the Surgeon General in 2017. His role is to advance the health of the American people and he has been instrumental in COVID-19 response.

Bans

  • The United States has issued a travel ban from Europe to the United States as of March 16th and most companies have grounded all non-essential travel domestically and internationally for the next several weeks.

COVID-19

  • COVID-19 or coronavirus is a virus in the same family as the common cold and flu. It has turned into a pandemic and has been compared to the 1918 Spanish Flu. The 19 is in reference to the year it was discovered

Diamond Princess

  • The Diamond Princess Cruise ship was for COVID-19. Passengers were quarantined on the ship and left to their rooms and many health officials have criticized the decision saying that it allowed the virus to rapidly spread. Passengers and crew were eventually allowed to leave the ship after a month total on board and nearly two weeks after reports of the first case.

Epidemiology

  • Epidemiology is the study of infectious diseases and how they spread, occur, and are controlled.

Flattening the Curve

  • The term refers to reducing the exponential growth of an infectious disease if people start distancing themselves from other people. Reducing gatherings with people through quarantining and other social distancing practices can drastically reduce the number of cases. The practice is especially important in alleviating the burden on hospitals.

Source: Britta Jewel/MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis/New York Times

Gatherings

  • Late Sunday on March 15th, multiple governors and health officials called for social gatherings to be limited to 50 people or less. President Trump has asked for people to limit social gatherings to 10 or fewer people to continue to reduce the spread of the disease. This practice has led to the closing of bars, restaurants, and retail stores across the country.

Handwashing

  • Wash your hands for at least twenty seconds with soap and water. All health organizations have advocated for everyone to wash their hands often to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Here are some fun

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Immunocompromised

  • A group of people, young and old, who have weakened immune systems due to underlying conditions such as HIV/AIDS, Down Syndrome, or heart disease A person with an immunocompromised system who contracts coronavirus may result in hospitalization. Those who are not immunocompromised may be asymptomatic (without symptoms) or experience mild symptoms.

January

  • On January 17th, the CDC and the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol started health screenings at all S. airports for passengers returning from Wuhan City, China. On January 23rd, the United States reported the first case of coronavirus.

Killing the virus

Leisure time

  • Find ways to relax during the COVID-19 outbreak and to take a break from social media and the news. Taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical health. The CDC has several recommendations to manage stress and anxiety.

Mike DeWine

  • The Governor of Ohio, Republican Mike Dewine, was one of the first governors to initiate school closures, public gathering bans, and the closing of restaurants and bars. He recently decided to postpone the Ohio Democratic primary election as a result of COVID-19.

Novel

  • According to the World Health Organization, the coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to MERS and SARS. COVID-19 is a novel, or new, viruses in the coronavirus family. It was not previously identified in humans until November 2019.

One percent

  • One percent is considered to be the mortality rate for the coronavirus, according to many science and public health officials. The percentage has ticked higher in places where hospitals have been overwhelmed by sick patients who are unable to get the care they need. Current mortality rates in the US are hovering at 0.5 percent.

Pandemic

  • An epidemic is an outbreak of a disease that attacks many peoples at the same time in one area. A pandemic is a disease that spreads across many countries and affects a large number of people. COVID-19 was declared a pandemic on March 11, 2020, by the World Health Organization.

Quarantine

  • Quarantine refers to the restriction of movement for people. Currently, the United States is asking people to self-quarantine to help slow the spread of coronavirus. Other countries such as Italy and China have established national quarantines to slow the rate of infection. In isolation, healthy people are separate from the sick but with COVID-19 it’s hard to know who is and is not a carrier.

Response Supplemental Appropriations Act

The United States enacted $8.5B in aid to combat the outbreak of COVID-19 titled the Response Supplemental Appropriations Act. President Trump initially asked for $2.5B. The bill includes money for research, public health funding, medical supplies and to help fight the disease internationally. The bill was enacted on March 6th by President Trump. Senators and other members of Congress have asked for another round of efforts of economic relief for small businesses, middle and low-income families, and the travel industry.

Social Distancing

  • Social Distancing refers to maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet between you and other people, in addition to minimizing contact, public transportation, and other large gatherings. The strategy has been used to help save lives during other pandemics. You can still go outside, but you must avoid close contact with people even if they appear to be healthy. A person can still be a carrier even if they are asymptomatic.

Toilet Paper

  • Toilet paper became one of the first products to fly off the shelves. Many people on social media have spread pictures of empty aisles in Target, Kroger, and other major department store chains. Despite the empty aisles, producers say they have plenty of food and supplies in stock.

U.S. Public Health Service

  • The U.S. Public Health Service is a division of the Department of Health and Human Services and is the largest public health program in the globe helping staff the local health departments throughout the country. The coronavirus is being monitored by the public health service at both the local and federal levels. Check with your community’s public health department to see what restrictions are being implemented.

Virulence

  • Virulence refers to the severity of the harmfulness of a disease. Many epidemiologists are still trying to quantify the virulence of COVID-19. To keep up with the current outbreak, the World Health Organization has an interactive map to track cases worldwide.

Work from home

– Working from home has become the new reality for millions of workers across the country as many offices have shut down and school closings have kept many parents home. It’s unclear how long offices will remain closed as health and government officials determine the severity of the COVID-19 outbreak, but working from home might be the new normal for many workers.

(e)Xtra time

– One of the benefits of being home and quarantined is spending more time with your family and loved ones. Most of the time, we are bustling from school to work to other activities, but the outbreak of COVID-19 has allowed many of us to spend more quality time with our families.

Yellow fever

  • Yellow fever is an infectious disease spread by mosquitos was catalyzed by trade as infected patients traversed between Europe, America, and Africa. Many doctors initially hypothesized that you had to come in contact with an infected patient as widespread epidemics occurred in major port cities in the United States such as Philadelphia, Baltimore, New York, and New Orleans. Many more Americans who fought in the Spanish-American war died of Yellow fever as opposed to combat. A vaccine was developed in the 1940s, but there are still cases of yellow fever throughout Africa and Central America resulting in approximately 30,000-60,000 deaths annually. Pandemics such as yellow fever have created the modern medical system we know now and spurred the creation of the National Quarantine Act in 1878. COVID-19 does not have a vaccine and while it should not take hundreds of years to create, it is expected to be another year or so, although preliminary testings have started.

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climate change

AA Homepage Articles | Environment |

How You Can Help Fight Climate Change Right Now

3 minute read

Through a year of rapid and monumental changes for the world, unfortunately, one thing that remained the same in 2020 is the threat posed by climate change.

For a refresher on what exactly “climate change” means, check out the resources provided by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a non-profit environmental advocacy group.

To sum it up, human activity continues adding heat-trapping greenhouse gases to the atmosphere and causing a rise in average temperatures, extreme weather events, shifting wildlife populations, and other impacts.

It’s clear that large, global changes will be needed in order to improve or reverse any of the negative trends that are changing the world as we know it.

Much of the onus will be on governmental policies that require changes from large corporations that enable and profit off of activities that cause climate change. But, as individuals, there are some steps we can take in our everyday lives to help mitigate the effects of climate change.

Plus, our individual actions send a message to decision-makers in governments and corporations that there’s a demand for climate-friendly products and policies. They may be much more willing to make changes when there are adequate pressure and proof of profitability.

As the deputy director of NRDC’s Clean Power Plan initiative, Aliya Haq, puts it: “Change only happens when individuals take action. There’s no other way if it doesn’t start with people.

10 Individual Actions For Fighting Climate Change

Find out how you’re doing

Everyone produces a certain amount of greenhouse gases as they live their life. This is known as your “carbon footprint.” You can calculate your carbon footprint at carbonfootprint.com or use the EPA’s footprint calculator to see how much carbon and money you will save by making some of the following changes.

Use your voice

Share your thoughts with friends and family. Inspire others on social media, or take it a step further and contact your elected officials directly with your concerns.

Practice “Green Building”

Put simply, “Green Building” is a construction method that efficiently uses sustainable resources to create healthy, energy-smart homes and commercial buildings. If you’re planning to build a new home or add on to an existing one, you have a great opportunity to do it in a sustainable, cost-efficient way.

Choose energy- and water-efficient appliances

Labels like ENERGY STAR® and WaterSense make it easy to choose the best appliances for reducing your energy and water consumption. They will also save you money in the long run.

Weatherize your home

Simple home improvements like sealing drafts and caulking leaks can save you big on energy bills. Check out this Home Energy Checklist for more quick-fix ideas so you can start saving energy today.

Reduce your food waste

It’s easy to blame food waste on the marketplace or restaurants, but households reportedly waste 31.9% of their food. Learn more about food waste and ways you can reduce your household’s impact.

Buy LEDs for your home

LED lights use 70% less energy than traditional bulbs. And that’s not all: 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.

Unplug idle devices

The NRDC reports that always-on but inactive devices may cost Americans $19 billion and 50 power plants worth of electricity a year. Be sure to unplug unused devices and reduce your idle load.

Drive and maintain an energy-efficient vehicle
Our personal vehicles contribute greatly to global warming, so if you can, do your part by buying an energy-efficient vehicle. Another way to reduce your energy consumption is to make sure your vehicle is getting as many miles to the gallon as possible through regular maintenance.

Make responsible transportation decisions

If you’re able to, drive and fly less often. Biking, carpooling, or taking public transportation, all mean less air pollution. And when it comes to those frequent flyer miles, less is absolutely more as air transport is a major source of climate pollution. When possible, do things remotely, drive, or take the train.

green building

AA Homepage Articles | Environment |

What Is “Green Building”? The Benefits And Where To Begin

2 minute read

Put simply, “Green Building” is a construction method that efficiently uses sustainable resources to create healthy, energy-smart homes and commercial buildings.

Oftentimes, there are tax incentives associated with going green. And while installation costs are higher than standard builds, you can save money on energy consumption over time.

One example is the Bullitt Center in Seattle, which claims to be, “The Greenest Commercial Building In The World.”

What features make it so eco-friendly?

Here’s a shortlist:

  • Solar Panels: 575 solar panels generate more energy than the building needs each year
  • Rainwater Harvesting: Built-in purifiers clean rainwater for safe consumption
  • Irresistible Stairs:” Building design encourages physical activity with a centrally located and attractive staircase, plus hidden elevators
  • Regenerative Elevator: A regenerative mechanism captures energy as the elevator slows down into electricity, which can be used elsewhere in the building
  • Efficient Windows: Shades and operable windows increase thermal control, ventilation, and sun-blocking
  • Radiant Heating: Spaces are heated with warm water circulated in tubes embedded in concrete floor plates

While you may not be installing a power-saving elevator in your home any time soon, this building gives several examples of changes you could consider to make your home more energy-efficient.

Any building–a home, a school, an office, a hospital–can be a green building when it includes any or all of the following features:

  • Renewable energy source, such as solar energy
  • Efficient use of resources, primarily energy, and water
  • Non-toxic building materials that are ethically and sustainably sourced
  • Measures to reduce pollution and waste through reuse and recycling
  • Healthy indoor environmental air quality
  • Environmental consideration in all aspects of design, construction, and operation
  • A design that can adapt to a changing environment

Green Building and Indoor Air Quality

If you’re ready to do some green home improvement, Indoor Air Quality is a great place to start.

On average, we spend about 90% of our time indoors, and most of that time is spent in our homes. The problem is that the air indoors can be up to five times more polluted than the air outdoors due to the amount of potentially hazardous substances that get trapped inside.

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Whether you’re building, renovating, or maintaining your home, Aprilaire can help you reduce Indoor Air Quality problems with the Aprilaire Healthy Air System™, made up of three award-winning components:

Fresh Air Ventilation – Think of your Aprilaire fresh air ventilation system as your home’s own set of lungs. It inhales fresh, outdoor air, and exhales stagnant, polluted indoor air. This helps dilute and remove contaminants so you can breathe easy at home.

Air FiltrationAn Aprilaire whole-home air purification system—paired with the right air filters, of course—can capture up to 96%* of airborne particles the size of viruses while reducing other even smaller contaminants from lingering in your home.

Humidity Control – It’s important to keep your home’s humidity between 30% and 60%. Depending on which you’re looking to combat—dry or damp air—Aprilaire whole-home humidification as well as whole-home dehumidification can help you maintain a Healthy Home.

*Contaminants removed based on air passing through the filtering system.

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.

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St. Vincent de Paul

AA Homepage Articles | News |

2021: Aprilaire’s Good Neighbor Values

2 minute read

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We take the importance of caring for others to heart at Aprilaire. We believe we have a purpose beyond the individual work we do and that being a successful company also means “Being a Good Neighbor.” It’s one of our core values, and something we put into action each year.

We remain committed to helping our local communities in a number of ways, including financial contributions and volunteering. In the past, we’ve raised funds to provide pack-n-plays to mothers in need, volunteered at local blood drives, and held various donation drives throughout the year.

While our partnership opportunities may look different in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re excited to continue our work with 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.”

We’ve been working with St. Vincent de Paul – Madison since 2014, giving us a number of incredible opportunities to give back and live out our mission of being Good Neighbors.

We believe the work they’re doing to provide assistance for our community is more important than ever right now, which is why it’s our honor to be a 2021 Platinum Sponsor for St. Vincent de Paul’s 6th Annual Care Café fundraising breakfast on May, 5th 2021. The theme is “Love Made Visible.”

They’re going virtual this year, which means they have unlimited capacity to reach their goal of $140,000. If you live in Dane County, we encourage you to attend the virtual event and support our neighbors in need through your contributions to the food pantry, free pharmacy, and housing programs.

 Click here for more information on St. Vincent de Paul – Madison to see how you can get involved.

Or find a charity in your area that you may be able to connect with to make an impact.