Environment | Wellness |

Coronavirus – Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Protection

2 minute read

Coronavirus or COVID-19 is a part of a large family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to MERS and SARS.

Symptoms and diagnosis of coronavirus

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties. If you experience these symptoms, there are several steps to follow:

  1. Stay home unless it is to get medical care.
  2. Restrict access to other people and your animals.
  3. Wear a facemask.
  4. Cover your coughs and sneezes.
  5. Call your healthcare provider.

When you call your healthcare provider, let them know if you have been in areas with persons known to have the virus and of any recent travel especially to areas with confirmed cases. The World Health Organization (WHO) has a map of countries with a confirmed case of coronavirus.

There is currently not a known vaccine for COVID-19, but there are several everyday preventative actions you can take to avoid the spread of disease.

Protect yourself

Follow the 6 tips below from the WHO to protect yourself from COVID-19.

  1. Maintain a distance of at least three feet between people
  2. Avoid touching your face.
  3. Use a flexed elbow or tissue when coughing or sneezing. Dispose of tissue in the trash afterward.
  4. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; especially after going to the bathroom, eating, blowing your nose, sneezing, or coughing.
  5. If a handwashing station isn’t readily available use an alcohol-based sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  6. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces by using a household cleaning spray or wipe.

The disease is thought to spread from person-to-person contact. Touching surfaces that have been used by those with the disease is not considered to be the main way the virus spreads, but health experts are still investigating this disease and how it spreads.

The best known preventive action is to not be in contact with someone who has the disease.

Stay up-to-date

To stay up-to-date on this disease, continue to monitor the CDC website and the WHO websites. These sites will have updated information on travel, what to do if you get the coronavirus and best practices for prevention.

You should also check with your company’s Human Resources department to see if they have any updated guidelines or procedures in dealing with the coronavirus especially if you plan on traveling out of the country.

 

Wellness |

Wellness Journey – Eating Clean for National Nutrition Month®

2 minute read

March is National Nutrition Month®. So as you get ready to do a little spring cleaning around the house, let’s do the same thing for your diet.

Of course there’s no “one-size-fits-all” diet, and the changes you want/need to make should be specific to your body and what makes you feel your best. So whether it’s going vegan, keto, or low carb, this month-long “eating clean” initiative has one aim:

[…to educate on] the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits,” according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

National Nutrition Month® Tips

Eat Right, Bite by Bite

The theme for 2020 is Eat Right, Bite by Bite.

That slogan is a good reminder that you don’t have to make huge changes overnight, or become consumed with restrictive eating plans that fill you with shame or regret over any misstep or misbite. Making small changes and setting attainable goals can lead you down a healthier path, bite by bite.

Simple Diet Changes = Long-Lasting Results

Add variety to your diet

  • Eat a diverse menu of nutritious foods every day
  • Include selections from all the food groups, focusing on natural, unprocessed foods
  • Try one new food every week
  • Drink plenty of water – anywhere from half a gallon to a gallon depending on your individual needs

Plan your meals

  • Prepare healthy meals/snacks for home, work, school, etc.
  • Make a calendar or schedule for your meals
  • Use a grocery list while shopping to stay on track and minimize temptations
  • Make healthy choices when dining out

Cook and Prep

  • Learn a new style of cooking/take a cooking class
  • Incorporate different flavors and foods than you’re used to
  • Keep your fridge and pantry stocked with healthful choices
  • Don’t keep unhealthy foods or treats on hand

Visit a Registered Dietitian

  • Schedule a consult with an RDN (registered dietitian nutritionist) for personalized nutrition advice to help you meet all your goals
  • Get tested for any food allergies/sensitivities

Further Exploration

Check out the National Nutrition Month® Toolkit for planning materials, games, and activities.

Wellness |

Breathing Exercises to Ease Stress

2 minute read

How do you beat stress?

There are lots of stress-management tools out there, some of them complicated or ineffective. It’s easy to forget that one of the best ways to ease stress and anxiety is through something that’s available to us every single day – breathing.

Left untreated, stress can lead to overwhelming feelings in the moment, and result in health consequences down the road.

So let’s talk about breathing exercises.

Benefits of Breathing Exercises

Here’s why breathing exercises are one of the best short-term strategies for stress relief:

  • You can perform them by yourself, anywhere, anytime. And, if it matters, it’s likely no one will even know you’re doing it.
  • They are free and don’t require any tools or equipment.
  • There are a variety of exercises to choose from and they take very little practice to perfect.
  • Got a few minutes? That’s all the breathing you need for almost immediate relief.

Breathing Exercises to Try Today

While there are many forms of controlled breathing, here are a few of the simplest ones to get you started:

  1. Equal Breaths
    The saying, “what goes in must come out” is quite literal when it comes to this technique. Breathing through your nose, you are going to inhale for four seconds and then exhale for four. You can then increase to a 6- or 8-second count once you’ve gotten the basic rhythm down.
  2. Relaxing Breath
    This exercise is also known as the 4-7-8 technique and focuses on the following breathing pattern that you can repeat up to four times:

    1. Place the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth behind your teeth
    2. Empty your lungs of any air
    3. Inhale for four seconds through your nose
    4. Hold the breath for seven seconds
    5. Forcefully exhale through the mouth for eight seconds

(Note: While the 4-7-8 ratio is very important to the exercise, you can count as quickly or as slowly as you need to during the cycle.)

  1. Visualization Breath
    This one takes a bit of imagination. You can use whatever mental picture you want, but the idea is that as you breathe in through your nose, you will imagine that you’re inhaling peaceful, calming air. Visualize the air filling your entire body, and pushing out all the stress and tension as you exhale. Slowly repeat that cycle until you feel your stress subside.

Breathing Quality Air

With all of this deep breathing, Aprilaire wants to make sure you’re taking in healthy air. That’s our job, after all!

Check out the Healthy Home blueprint. It includes tips and easy changes that can improve the air quality of your home, making it even simpler to deal with stress in a clean, healthy environment.

 

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.

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