Stress Awareness Month

AA Homepage Articles | Wellness |

4 Strategies for Stress Awareness Month

2 minute read

April is Stress Awareness Month. As we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s going to look a little different than previous years as the United States and the world deal with the stress and uncertainty.

In recent weeks, you may have found yourself asking: How can I protect my family? Will I lose my job? When will my kids get to go back to school? Will I be able to feed my family? Will I be able to get treatment if I get sick? When will we be able to socialize with friends and family again? When will this all end? How can I help?

These times are stressful, there’s no way around it. And while it’s natural to feel that stress, it’s also important to find a healthy, manageable way to approach your anxiety and uncertainty.

For Stress Awareness Month, we’ve put together a few methods for combating stress and focusing on the things that truly matter.

4 Ways To Manage Stress

1. Stay active. You may think that with gyms closing and orders to stay home you have the perfect excuse to binge-watch Netflix shows for the next month. And while there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, you could get a huge benefit from trading an hour or two on the couch for some physical activity.

Exercise is one of the best ways to get endorphins pumping through your brain, which helps relieve all the stress that’s piling up. And, thanks to fitness experts who know the importance of staying active, here is a list of several services offering free workouts during this time of isolation.

2. This will look different for everyone, but learning to incorporate some relaxation techniques into your daily rhythm can go a long way in reducing stress hormones.

Here are some ideas:

  • Meditate – There are lots of free resources online, or you can try an app like Calm or Headspace
  • Create – Draw, bake, start a DIY project
  • Diffuse some essential oils – Take the time to slow down and breathe deeply with essential oils like lavender or bergamot
  • Put your phone down/turn off all devices for an hour to quiet outside noise and the stress of the 24/7 news cycle

3. There are very few silver linings to what is happening around the world at this time. But if we can take a moment to find a bright side, it would be the age of connectivity that we’re living in. With Zoom meetings, Google Hangouts, FaceTime, Snapchat, Instagram, etc, there are lot of ways to connect with family and friends.

Try scheduling a family Hangout/Zoom every week to check in with each other; let your kids teach you a new TikTok dance; call an old friend that you’ve been meaning to catch up with. The point is, we as humans are made for relationships, and this time of social distancing doesn’t mean we have to be lonely.

4. That’s right. Just breathe. It’s easy to forget how important this is when you’re stressed out, but it’s the perfect, free way to take a break from the world.

At Aprilaire, we’ve identified decreased stress levels as one of the benefits of having healthy air in your home. This is more critical than ever, given the “safer at home” orders asking us to leave the house as little as possible. So when you make healthy air a priority at home, you can enjoy: better health for your family, better sleeping environments, increased energy efficiency, and less need for dusting and cleaning.

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    delta variant

    Aprilaire Partners Logged In Homepages | Wellness |

    Fact vs. Fiction: Breaking Down the Delta Variant

    3 minute read

    Click play to listen to the Fact vs. Fiction: Breaking Down the Delta Variant article. 

    The 7-day average of COVID-19 infections declined to around 10,600 in early July, leading many to believe the United States was on the homestretch of defeating the pandemic. But since that time, the emergence of the Delta variant has caused infections to rapidly increase.

    The 7-day average in early August is around 80,000, representing a 148% rise in new coronavirus infections.

    An internal document from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) was recently made public by The New York Times, and it contains important details about the Delta variant.

    Here is what we know as of early August 2021.

    Transmissibility

    Part of the reason the original strain of COVID-19 (Alpha strain) was considered so dangerous is that it is easily transmissible from person to person.

    With the new Delta variant, the CDC found that it’s even more contagious than the Alpha strain and it appears to be responsible for most new infections. In fact, the CDC recently found that more than 80% of new cases in the U.S. were caused by the Delta variant.

    The CDC’s report compared the level of contagiousness to chickenpox, a disease that used to be very common in the United States. Thanks to the chickenpox vaccine, more than 3.5 million cases of chickenpox, 9,000 hospitalizations, and 100 deaths are prevented in the U.S. each year.

    Delta Symptoms

    The symptoms associated with the Delta variant appear to be the same as with the original Alpha strain. These include: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, and new loss of taste or smell, among others.

    But more importantly, research found that the Delta variant grows more rapidly and to higher levels in the respiratory tract, making severe symptoms more likely for unvaccinated people. While vaccinated people will likely be asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms from the Delta variant, it is also possible for them to spread the disease.

    Vaccination Rates

    The CDC has consistently said that widespread vaccinations are the key to ending the pandemic. As of early August, about 67% of the U.S. population aged 12 and older had at least one dose of a vaccine. These rates vary significantly between states, with the highest being Vermont at nearly 87%, and the lowest being Mississippi at 50%.

    With the Delta variant spreading rapidly, more people are choosing to be vaccinated. For example, in Mississippi, the 7-day average of people receiving a first dose was 5,203 on July 27th, more than triple the average from July 1st.

    Breakthrough Infections

    The term “breakthrough infection” indicates the rare occurrence of a vaccinated person becoming infected with the Delta variant. At present, approximately 0.04% of vaccinated people tested positive for COVID-19.

    When a vaccinated person tests positive, most either have no symptoms or have very mild symptoms. Their symptoms are more like those of a common cold, such as cough, fever, headache, and the addition of significant loss of smell.

    It’s important to note that the vaccines are highly effective in preventing serious illness, hospitalization, and death.

    Masking

    With the Delta variant surging, the CDC’s data suggest that all people with weak immune systems should wear masks. They recommend the same for vaccinated Americans who are in contact with young children, older adults, or otherwise vulnerable people.

    The CDC recommends that masks be worn indoors in areas where virus transmission is high, even for those who are fully vaccinated.

    Some businesses have returned to mask recommendations for indoor settings, and a few states have reinstated mask mandates.

    Lockdowns

    Despite the surge in new infections, widespread lockdowns are unlikely according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert.

    Dr. Fauci says the large numbers of vaccinated people can help prevent the level of hospitalizations we saw last winter. He also cites continued vaccinations as essential for preventing further infections, variants, and lockdowns.

    Ventilation

    For information on how mechanical ventilation impacts the spread of COVID-19, check out this recent article on the Aprilaire blog.

    Wisconsin Fight For Air Climb

    AA Homepage Articles | Wellness |

    Experiencing the Wisconsin Fight For Air Climb

    2 minute read

    Aprilaire employees and their families participated for the second consecutive year in the American Lung Association’s annual Wisconsin Fight For Air Climb. Aprilaire is a proud sponsor of the 2021 Wisconsin Fight For Air Climb.

    Wisconsin Fight For Air Climb Adds Virtual Option, New Venue

    Because of COVID-19, this year’s climb had an in-person and virtual option, and a switch in venue to American Family Field, home of the Milwaukee Brewers.

    Charity, Competition, and Core Values

    Community, competition, and Aprilaire core values like “Being a Good Neighbor” were some of the reasons people climbed.

    “I am excited to give back to our community and support our Good Neighbor Core Value,” said Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Jimmy Pendley. “I am looking forward to helping make a difference in the lives of those struggling with lung disease.”

    Climbing for a Great Cause

    The mission and research of the American Lung Association was another draw for participants.

    “I have been very blessed to have a healthy family, but I know so many friends who struggle with asthma and having healthy, clean air is a big part of controlling this condition,” said Vice President of Human Resources, Jennifer Pagels.

    While some climbers knew someone personally affected with lung disease, others, like Director of Procurement, Brad Moore, were hoping to raise support and awareness for “kids battling asthma who find themselves unexpectedly on the sidelines catching their breath from time to time through no fault of their own.”

    This year’s course, as in year’s past simulated the daily struggle people living with respiratory diseases face.

    Many racers got off to a quick start as they serpentined the aisles and stairs of American Family Field, but through the last stretch climbers slowed their gait, nursed their sore muscles, and fought to catch their breath.

    Looking Forward to the 2022  climb

    Although some Aprilaire employees opted for the virtual climb, Senior Recruiter Claudine Baccheschi is optimistically looking forward to being in-person for the 2022 Wisconsin Fight For Air Climb.

    “I am hoping that next year things could be a little different and I can climb with my department and coworkers.”

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    American Lung Association

    Aprilaire Partners Logged In Homepages | News |

    Breathing Healthy Air: Interview with the American Lung Association

    4 minute read

    At Aprilaire, we encourage breathing Healthy Air because we know it benefits your overall health. The American Lung Association knows it too. That’s why Aprilaire air filters are the National Proud Partner of the American Lung Association*, playing a key role in the fight to improve lung health and prevent lung disease.

    We got to interview National Senior Vice President of Development Sally Draper about the importance of Healthy Air and how both Aprilaire and the American Lung Association are working together to help you Breathe the Fullness of Life.

    Could you introduce yourself for the readers and tell us about why you chose a career with the American Lung Association?

    “I joined the Lung Association in 2014 because I was attracted to its comprehensive mission—to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. Every day we help Americans breathe easier through our efforts to fund innovative research, advocate for policies that protect our lungs, and educate patients, caregivers, providers, and the public with science-backed information. We were founded more than 115 years ago, and the needs are greater today than ever before, including the youth vaping epidemic, climate change, and COVID-19!”

    Can you tell us about the American Lung Association’s mission?

    “The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. Our work is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; champion clean air for all; improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and create a tobacco-free future. Whether it’s searching for cures to lung diseases, keeping kids off tobacco, or advocating for laws that protect the air we breathe, the work of the American Lung Association helps to save lives every day.”

    How did Aprilaire and the American Lung Association come to work together in the first place? What does that relationship look like presently?

    “Aprilaire and the American Lung Association forged a new relationship in 2018. We quickly realized how much we had in common. Our partnership was developed as we saw an opportunity to educate and help more consumers improve the air in their homes to create a healthier environment.

    Since 2020, Aprilaire has been a Proud Partner of the Lung Association with its 4” residential air filters. Additionally, Aprilaire joined the Lung Association as our FY20 National Fight For Air Climb Partner For Healthy Air. The company has also supported the Lung Association’s “Stand Up For Clean Air” campaign. As part of this initiative, we are driving conversations around air quality, climate, and health. The Lung Association invited people to share their #MyCleanAirStory—knowing that when people realize climate and air quality are impacting the health of their neighbors, friends, and loved ones—they are more willing to act. Aprilaire provided prizes for the #MyCleanAirStory contest, including one grand prize of a whole-home Indoor Air Quality upgrade (the Aprilaire Healthy Air System™) and nine Aprilaire Room Air Purifiers. This year, the company stepped up once again to sponsor the Wisconsin Fight For Air Climb in Milwaukee. Also in 2021, the Lung Association welcomed Dale Philippi, President and CEO of Research Products Corporation, Aprilaire’s parent company, to the Lung Association’s Wisconsin Leadership Board of Directors.”

    Tell us about the Fight For Air Climb.

    “The American Lung Association’s Fight For Air Climb is the nation’s premier stair climbing challenge. At 38 events nationwide, children and adults of all ages participate in this celebratory stair-climbing adventure. Pre-pandemic, the Fight For Air Climb was held in several of our country’s most iconic skyscrapers. This year, the Lung Association invited participants outdoors for a one-of-a-kind adventure to support healthy lungs and clean air. In fact, Dale was among the company’s team of more than 50 employees that climbed the stairs at Milwaukee’s American Family Field on May 22nd, proving he puts his feet, time, and talent behind causes he supports.

    Aprilaire has been a stalwart partner in the Fight For Air Climb, promoting the event to employees, customers, trade partners, family, and friends. Through this unique vehicle, the company is engaging individuals of all ages to understand and celebrate the importance of Healthy Air.”

    Aprilaire’s air filters are a National Proud Partner of the American Lung Association. How do you feel our mission aligns with yours?

    “Our CEO, Harold Wimmer, has said, ‘Breathing should not be an uphill battle, but for many it is… no one should have to fight for air on a daily basis.’ Similarly, Dale has declared, ‘We believe everyone deserves to breathe Healthy Air.’ As a National Proud Partner, Aprilaire’s mission to enhance everyone’s health by improving the air in their homes aligns very closely with that of the American Lung Association, champion of clean air for all.”

    What are the benefits of breathing Healthy Air and what are everyday things that people can do to Breathe the Fullness of Life?

    “Clean air is essential for healthy lungs. The American Lung Association works to ensure that the air we breathe is clean and safe from harmful pollution. In fact, every year we publish our State of the Air Report, which looks at two of the most widespread and dangerous air pollutants, ozone and fine particulate matter. Our 2021 State of the Air Report found that more than 4 in 10 Americans—over 135 million people—are living in places with unhealthy levels of ozone or particle pollution.

    One of the most important things you can do to Breathe the Fullness of Life is to keep sources of pollution out of your home. Check out these commonsense tips on Lung.org. Additionally, ventilation helps reduce indoor air pollution, but it works best if paired with keeping known sources of air pollution out of the building. For tips on how to use ventilation to protect your lung health, check out our section on Ventilation: How Buildings Breathe.”

    Fight for Healthy Air

    At Aprilaire, we believe everyone deserves to Breathe the Fullness of Life, and we’re not the only ones that feel this way. Through our Proud Partnership with the American Lung Association, we aim to fill every home with Healthy Air. Both Aprilaire and the Lung Association believe that breathing Healthy Air should be available to everyone, and maintaining healthy Indoor Air Quality is an important step for your lung health. Read more about our partnership and the efforts of the American Lung Association on their website.

    *Disclaimer: The American Lung Association does not endorse any product, device, or service.

    St. Vincent de Paul

    AA Homepage Articles | News |

    2021: Aprilaire’s Good Neighbor Values

    2 minute read

    Click the play button to listen to the post

    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.

    flights

    AA Homepage Articles | News |

    Experts Say Flights Can Resume, But Bring Increased Risks

    2 minute read

    Air quality experts say that it is safe to resume flying, but travelers must take advanced precautions before traveling like taking shorter flights when possible, wearing masks, and social distancing. 

    In an opinion piece for The Washington Post, Joseph Allen, an assistant professor of exposure assessment science at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, makes the case that airplanes do not make you sick. In fact, airplanes have comparable levels of air filtration and fresh air ventilation to a health care facility

    Flights May Be Less Comfortable With Recommendations

    He argues that airlines should continue disinfecting high-touch areas such as armrests and tray tables, stop in-flight food service, mandate mask-wearing, and ask patrons to keep their above ventilation fan on throughout the flight. While these adjustments make flying less enjoyable, they can help reduce in-flight virus transmission. Masks are currently required on public transportation. 

    Allen is not the only one saying it is safe to resume flying. 

    ‘Safer Than Eating At A Restaurant’

    Linsey Marr, an engineering professor at Virginia Tech, in a CNN article writes, “When HEPA ventilation systems are running on a plane and everyone is masked, the risk of Covid-19 is greatly reduced and makes air travel on a big jet safer than eating at a restaurant.”

    Activities Create Biggest Risks

    She and Allen argue that the biggest risks in airline travel stem from activities like the pre-flight boarding process or when a flight is delayed and people are stuck on the plane. Marr, who has been wearing an air quality monitor when she travels, said CO2 levels are elevated during these aforementioned activities and are indicative of a lack of fresh air ventilation. 

    Marr told CNN that “A CO2 (carbon dioxide) level of 3,000 ppm means that for every breath I take in, about 7% of the air is other people’s exhaled breath…like drinking someone else’s backwash!”

    The airport also presents other problems for travelers.

    Allen suggests airports create more touchless experiences, upgrade their HVAC system, and require masks. Some updates have already been implemented in some airports or will be implemented in the future. 

    Other experts suggest carrying your own personal hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and sticking to shorter flights

    Even though there are risks to flying, Marr and Allen say you are clear for takeoff this summer