reopening

AA Homepage Articles | Healthy Air |

Reopening Safely: How Healthy Air Can Help Everyone Breathe Easy

4 minute read

COVID-19 has come under scrutiny by health experts. The virus transmits from coughs, sneezes, and talking through projected aerosols. These projected aerosols enter air streams. This becomes especially problematic in tightly enclosed spaces where the air is recirculated without proper filtration, ventilation, and humidification, or a Healthy Air System™. This makes reopening problematic for many businesses across the country.

An associate professor of Biology at the University of Massachusetts – Dartmouth, Erin Bromage, Ph.D., found most transmission has occurred in tightly enclosed indoor spaces such as restaurants, funeral homes, churches, and nursing homes. Other scientists have found one of the first places of transmission was a restaurant in Wuhan, China.

CBS News recently released a report on restaurants and the way we can protect ourselves as we venture out of our homes and back into public dining spaces.

Protecting Yourself During the Reopening

While using facemasks can be used in certain places and can help reduce transmission, it is not the perfect solution. Masks cannot be worn while dining and it is not a good substitute for proper filtration, ventilation, and humidification. States and local officials, as well as business owners, continue to weigh the pros and cons of requiring masks.

Companies are looking at different ways to implement proper indoor air quality strategies as states are reopening across the country. Americans spend 90 percent of their time indoors whether inside their own home, work, restaurants, bars, malls, grocery stores, hardware stores, and/or churches.

Air Filtration

Without a vaccine, there is no proper way to fully protect yourself against COVID-19. Proper air filtration, humidification, and ventilation can help reduce the amount of harmful airborne particulates circulated throughout the air stream. By installing the right healthy air products, your own forced air HVAC system can help. Air filtration with a MERV 16 filter can be installed as part of a home’s HVAC system and can capture up to 96% of airborne contaminants that pass through its filter. This can be especially crucial in situations where people are placed in situations where social distancing is not possible and the air is being recirculated among a large group of people. Scientists are still trying to calculate the amount of time these aerosols stay in the air.

Ventilation

Ventilation helps further dilute contaminants by bringing in fresh air from the outside. There are several ways of providing filtered air through either natural ventilation, supply ventilation, or mixed-mode ventilation. Air that passes naturally through windows, doors, or cracks in the foundation is natural ventilation. There is no filtration process with this air. It is the same air that is outside and serves to help dilute the stale air of indoor spaces. If you’re near a factory or a highway, the outside air is polluted. Some cities are experimenting with increasing the outdoor dining spaces of restaurants since it is clear that COVID-19 is far less transmittable in outside air than it is indoor air.

Supply ventilation uses a fan to bring in air from the outside. This air is properly filtered and humidified. The poor indoor air is also pushed out and replaced by the outside air.

Mixed-mode ventilation uses both natural and supply ventilation to treat stale indoor air. Ventilated air also forces droplets to land on surfaces more quickly and pushes air into the HVAC system’s return air ducts to reduce airborne virus transmission.

Proper Humidification

Thirdly, proper humidification is an important step in treating indoor air. The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommends keeping your humidity between 30-60 percent. Anything lower than that results in dried out nasal passages, dry skin, scratchy throat, and a weakened immune system making it easier for airborne viruses to get into your body. Evidence suggests that viruses last longer on surfaces and are transmitted easier in overly dry air conditions. Anything above that 30-60% range results in the perfect breeding ground for airborne viruses, pests, and mold/mildew.

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How Reopening Businesses with a Healthy Air System Affects Employees

Another factor to consider for reopening business owners is that healthy air is not just to the benefit of the consumer, but also for the employees. Harvard’s Building Science Program has found that a healthy workplace fosters better workers and a better company. Productivity and creativity increases and blood pressure lowers. Better employee wellness is a major recruiting pitch to prospective employees. Extended breaks, snacks, and healthy indoor air are all important benefits and pitches for your employees.

Indoor Air Quality Is A Long-Term Investment

Outside of the purview of the COVID-19 pandemic, indoor air quality is still important. It does help to reduce airborne viruses such as the flu or common cold, mold and mildew, dust, and other allergens. Cooking and other interior spaces release Volatile Organic Compounds. These VOCs contain toxic gases.

A Healthy Air System reduces odors making it harder for guests to decipher if you live with a pet or last night’s dinner.

The air inside our homes continues to be much worse than the air outside our homes. The EPA estimates the air inside to be 5 to 10 times worse than the air outside.  To make matters worse, we are spending more time inside and our homes are being more tightly-built. This makes it harder for fresh air to get in the home without the use of a supply ventilation system. Polluted air can lead to major health problems such as cardiovascular issues, cancer, respiratory infections, and cognitive impairments.  Air pollution is one of the burgeoning health concerns.

Indoor Air Quality Adds Wellness to Your Life

Just as we seek wellness in all parts of our life from eating well, exercising, meditation, indoor air is an important part of this procedure. Just like in all of those other fields, data plays an important role in this field. Aprilaire’s IAQ systems allow you to monitor your home’s IAQ to adjust your temperature, relative humidity, and fresh air ventilation systems. Panasonic has released a system that can help monitor your home’s indoor air in real-time. Although the data may be helpful in determining a problem, it has little relevant value if you do not have a system set-up to tackle those problems.

To completely protect yourself, make sure you continue to sanitize high-traffic areas in your homes and businesses. Also continue to wash your hands and avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes.

As states and more business are reopening, COVID-19 will continue to be scrutinized by governments, businesses, and the general population. It’s hard to determine what normal will look like and what happens if there is another jump in cases. It is possible restaurants and other public spaces may have to advertise the health of their indoor air. One thing is certain though, it’s that Healthy air is crucial for everyone to live a happy and healthy life.

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

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uv light

AA Homepage Articles | Healthy Air |

UV Light Can Be Harmful Tool In Fighting COVID-19

2 minute read

During a crisis, gimmicks can replace tried and true methods. As businesses and the general population look to remedy the health and safety issues of COVID-19, many have turned to ultraviolet (UV) light to help inactivate the airborne viruses.

UV Light Is ‘Potentially Hazardous’

While UV light is used as a disinfectant in hospital’s non-occupied spaces, it is not a credible solution to fight airborne viruses like COVID-19 in populated indoor spaces. UV light is harmful and increased exposure can cause health issues. In addition, any use of ultraviolet light in populated spaces should pass the burden of proof provided by the National Toxicology Program’s 14th Report on Carcinogens.

This is the primary reason that UV light should not be used as a primary tool to fight COVID-19 and other airborne viruses.

Despite the best intentions of businesses to keep patrons safe, using a quick scan of UV lights as patrons enter their business to inactivate COVID-19 aerosols does little to reduce the risk and could be harmful. In these short bursts, users would have to be exposed to high levels of UV light that would likely be harmful in order to be effective.

“However, UV portals that are meant to disinfect people as they enter indoor spaces are likely ineffective and potentially hazardous,” said Dr. Karl Linden, Ph.D., University of Colorado Boulder.

Adding UV light onto your ducts is proven to inactivate airborne viruses that flow through the ducts, but these add-ons are expensive and less beneficial than a MERV 16 or HEPA filter.

Alternatively, an Aprilaire Healthy Air System TM, a three-part, award-winning suite of whole-home Indoor Air Quality products, do not add any ozone or other harmful radiation levels into the air. It can be used in populated indoor spaces to help fight COVID-19 without any increased risk to the population.

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By leveraging the power of humidity control, fresh air ventilation, and air filtration, you can help reduce the transmission rate of airborne viruses like COVID-19.

Humidity control allows you to keep your home between 30-60 percent relative humidity. This is the optimal range where viruses remain less viable and your body’s natural defenses and immune response are most viable.

Fresh air ventilation dilutes the home of particles and germs and fills your home with fresh, breathable air while maintaining airflow. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information of the National Institutes of Health, ventilation is an important tool in reducing airborne pollutants in indoor air.

Air filtration captures particles that flow through the home and the filter. An Aprilaire MERV 16 filter captures up to 96% of airborne virus-sized particles passing through the filtering system.

To get the Aprilaire Healthy Air SystemTM installed in your house so you and your family can breathe easier with effective virus protection, contact a local Healthy Air Pro.

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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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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.