green space

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Dining Out: Cities Expand Green Space During COVID-19

4 minute read

During the lockdown, some of us have had to confront our demons. Well, at least our cooking ones. Some of us have used this time to up our cooking skills and make our friends jealous on Instagram. Others have eaten a rotation of ramen, delivery, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. For those in the latter, I have good news for you. Cities across the country are reopening. As they start opening, restaurants and cities are finding creative ways – including expanding green space – to help you dine in while also dining out.

Cities Use Green Space to Expand Dining Space

Many cities are shutting down streets to increase the green space and expand dining spaces across the country. Restaurants, unfortunately, lend themselves to coronavirus transmission. Dining rooms can be filled to the brim with patrons looking for a relaxing experience. These close quarters is exactly what coronavirus feasts on. Aerosols from sneezing, talking, and coughing can spread beyond the social distancing limits when these aerosols are caught up in the air stream of a restaurant’s air conditioner.

COVID-19 Spread Through Aerosols

This type of situation is exactly what happened in a Wuhan restaurant. One infected diner spread the disease to people at different tables. A University of Oregon study did a 3-D model of this scenario. They then added ventilation to the scenario to show just how different the situation could have been if just a bit of fresh air was added to the equation. The droplets fell to surfaces much quicker and the infected air was diluted, reducing transmission.

Restaurants Use Multiple Methods to Combat COVID-19

The reason so many cities and restaurants are focusing on increasing outdoor dining are that the chance of viral transmission outdoors is more limited. Researchers are still studying COVID-19 so the data is still presenting itself but as the United States pushes through the first wave, researchers are finding evidence that being outdoors is an effective strategy against COVID-19.

Other restaurant owners have turned to more unique options to combat COVID-19. A restaurant owner in the Wisconsin Dells area has turned to technology that uses a combined attack of UV light and anti-microbial spray. Another restaurant owner has turned to shower curtains to help stop the spread. To fully prevent the spread, different sanitation techniques, and a Healthy Air SystemTM – comprised of ventilation, humidity control, and air filtration –  present the best options. Currently, though, restaurants and shop owners are eager to get back to business and will happily try different options to make sure customers both feel and are safer.

The new normal of COVID-19 is presenting itself in these restaurants, dining out to dine in looks like it might be enough to squelch the hunger of so many of us who want the taste of a great meal outside of our homes. Or even a respite from the old PB&J routine.

Outdoor Air Quality Increased from Limited Travel

The bigger question though is how long these fixes might last and how many of them become permanent fixtures. The New York Times released an interactive article detailing the reduction in air pollution from people not traveling to work every day. Some companies are choosing to keep their employees at home indefinitely or until a vaccine is released.

These reductions in travel will have an impact on the environment. As some cities close streets for larger outdoor dining spaces, people may eschew driving for public transportation or walking. As cities, businesses, and residents all walk the tight rope of deciding how to safely reopen, there’s no doubt that our climate is reaping benefits. Plenty of videos have circulated online of animals walking down the streets of once-bustling town’s main streets. As climate change becomes an even greater focus, these small changes could result in more permanent fixtures as people adjust to the unusual circumstances presented by a worldwide pandemic.

Cholera Resulted in Expansion of Green Space

This would not be the first time that a pandemic has resulted in more green space in cities worldwide. During the cholera outbreak of the mid -19th century, New York City was a breeding ground for disease.

“Nineteenth-century cities were crowded, filthy places that provided the perfect breeding ground for diseases such as cholera. While garbage, animal manure, and human waste flowed freely into drinking water sources, it was the pungent cocktail of odors they produced that many medical professionals blamed for spreading disease.”

Public health officials concluded that change was needed resulting in wider streets, pigs being expunged to rural areas, and clean water ducted in through pipes and aqueducts. Parks were built for fresh air and clean spaces so residents could relax and perform recreational activities.

Cholera also transformed Paris into a facsimile of beauty. Napoleon III saw the benefit of London’s efforts to clean up their city after their cholera outbreak. He admired the beauty too and ordered Paris to do the same.  Many of these plans helped provide a respite from cholera. It also provided a picturesque landscape amidst a sprawling scene of factories and homes.

The New Normal

Everyone is going to have to adjust their normal until an effective vaccine is released.  During these warmer months, we will likely enjoy most of our favorite activities in outdoor spaces.

During the fall and winter, customers will have to eat, drink, and shop inside. The health of a businesses’ indoor air is an important step that many companies will eventually have to take. The warmer temperatures do offer us some time until, but healthy indoor air is a year-round solution. Currently, the new normal makes sense, but ventilation is the key to suppressing airborne diseases.

spring allergy

AA Homepage Articles | Healthy Air |

Spring Allergy Season 2021: What’s in Store for Your Region?

2 minute read

Listen to the story by clicking the play button above

Spring is fast approaching, and according to our current weather trends, this spring allergy season could be a rough one for those who suffer from asthma and allergies. This is thanks, in part, to our rising temperatures and harsher weather, and their impact on pollen production.

Here’s what spring allergy sufferers should know for spring 2021:

The quantity and location of pollen in the air are largely determined by weather conditions, as well as the time of day and the season.

Allergy symptoms are at their worst in the morning hours, as well as on warm, dry, and windy days. On the contrary, cold and wet or windless days result in lower pollen counts and less symptomatic days.

Looking at allergy rates by region, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America found these cities to be the most challenging places to live for spring allergy sufferers:

  1. Richmond, Virginia
  2. Scranton, Pennsylvania
  3. Springfield, Massachusetts
  4. Hartford, Connecticut
  5. McAllen, Texas
  6. New Haven, Connecticut
  7. San Antonio, Texas
  8. Bridgeport, Connecticut
  9. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  10. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Allergies and COVID-19

As symptoms like congestion and runny nose pop up this spring, it’s important to understand the difference between allergies and COVID-19.

COVID-19 symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, and loss of taste or smell.

Allergies are different in some crucial ways, the main one being that they’re rarely associated with a fever. Instead, the most common allergy symptoms are nasal congestion, sneezing, dry cough, and itching.

Allergies and Masking

The CDC recommends everyone over the age of two, including allergy sufferers, wear a mask to slow the spread of COVID-19. The only exceptions are for individuals with breathing problems, or those who are unconscious or incapacitated and would need assistance removing a mask.

Masks can also offer mild protection against spring allergies by keeping larger particles from being inhaled. So, you may benefit from wearing a mask outdoors if you’re engaging in an activity that stirs up pollen.

Be sure to wash cloth masks after each use, especially when worn outside on a day with a high pollen count.

Managing Spring Allergies

Keep these factors in mind as you try to reduce spring allergy symptoms:

  • Monitor allergy and pollen levels
  • Stay indoors in a clean air environment on dry, windy days
  • Save outside activities for after a rainfall when the pollen will be cleared from the air
  • Ask friends or family members who don’t suffer from allergies to help out with lawn mowing, weed pulling, and other outdoor chores that can stir up allergens
  • Remove clothes worn outside, and shower to rinse your skin and hair
  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from pollen
  • Wash sheets in hot water to get rid of dust mites
  • Don’t dry laundry outside as pollen can stick to sheets and towels, and be carried into your home
  • To remove pollen, mold, and other particles from the air in your home, install an Aprilaire air filter in your HVAC system
  • Keep your indoor air humidity between 30-60% with a humidity control system from Aprilaire. This helps keep your lungs and nasal passages hydrated and can help filter out allergens from the air you breathe

Raise a Happy, Healthy Home
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flood

AA Homepage Articles | Healthy Humidity |

Resolving Flooded Homes from Winter Weather

2 minute read

Unusual winter weather stretched across much of the country in February 2021 leaving many without water or power for days. For some, burst pipes can lead to flooded homes. No matter the season, floods can cripple a home as the rushing water can destroy furnishings and damage the home’s foundation. Even after you’ve cleaned up your home from the resulting damage, lingering moisture inside your drywall or insulation can lead to major health problems primarily from mold and mildew outbreaks.

Health Risks Due to Flooded Homes

Sensitivity to these allergens varies from person to person, but for those with respiratory issues like Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) or asthma, a mold outbreak can lead to severely impacted breathing. For others with milder symptoms, you may experience wheezing, coughing, sneezing, and watery eyes. 

Excess moisture is also an invitation for pests and rodents due to newly formed cracks in your foundation. These critters are notorious for creating damage and are carriers of the disease. 

Airborne viruses, like COVID-19 and influenza, and bacteria also thrive in excess moisture leading to poor Indoor Air Quality inside your home. Air that is too moist can lead to higher transmission rates inside the home. 

Leftover excess moisture may be hard to spot. In fact, your first clue that something is wrong will be the smell. Musty odors are a typical sign that your home has excess moisture. 

How Aprilaire Can Help

Getting a Healthy Waterproofing expert into your home to check on damage is a must to make sure that any cracks in your foundation are sealed.

Secondly, an Aprilaire dehumidifier will help remove that excess moisture inside your home remedying any poor Indoor Air Quality issues resulting from flooding. Maintaining Healthy Humidity inside your home will help remove those airborne pollutants like mold, mildew, pests, and airborne viruses leading to Healthy Air throughout by helping you maintain humidity in the ideal range of 30-60%.

Healthy Humidity Plays a Key Role in Wellness
Breathe Healthy Air no matter when or where.

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Additionally, an Aprilaire fresh air ventilation system can also help dilute harmful airborne contaminants in your home’s air by bringing in fresh air from the outside. This system can also help with any excess moisture inside your home.

To make sure your home’s humidity is properly maintained and there are not any resulting humidity issues due to a burst pipe, find a local Aprilaire Healthy Waterproofing expert today. 

Healthy Air Is on the Way

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State of the Air

For more information on maintaining Healthy Air inside your home after a weather event, check out our State of the Air website

 

 

 

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.

It’s Time to Care About Healthy Air
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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.