black mold

AA Homepage Articles | Family |

The Dangers of Black Mold

3 minute read

We all love a good spooky story, right?

Well, as long as it’s not too scary.

And if we’ve got a calming cup of hot cocoa close by.

It also helps if the story is completely made up…

This fall, Aprilaire presents a series of bone-chilling tales of a mysterious creature that you just might find lurking in your very own home.

This is:

The Case Of The Black Mold

Tale #1 – Symptoms

Ahhh, fall has arrived. You take a step outside to greet the new day and you’re met with crisp air and a warming sun on your face. The dewy grass adds a shimmering comfort to the shifting of seasons, as the colorful leaves drift down onto your lawn.

You’re ready for a break from the summer heat. Calming visions dance through your head: hot apple cider, comfy scarves, afternoons of football, and weekends at pumpkin patches. Everything is exactly how it should be. You head back inside to continue your delightful day.

But then something changes. Something disrupts that new-season-sensation and a different, darker feeling starts to set in.

You can’t see anything that’s changed. You don’t hear anything strange. But you feel it. Deep down you know it’s there.

The feeling crawls slowly up the back of your neck. You close your eyes as you feel it get closer and closer, you know you can’t avoid whatever it is that’s ruining your perfect morning.

You sneeze. It’s a big one. You probably woke up the kids.

But what caused it? Simple fall allergies?

Or something much, much darker?

Tale #2 – Seeking Out

The kids straggle out of bed, earlier than normal on a Saturday morning. (Probably because of that echoing sneeze.)

After a quick hug and covering weekend plans, you notice little Billy is rubbing his eyes. It’d be normal to work a little tiredness out of your eyes first thing in the morning, but it only seems to be getting worse for Billy.

He just can’t stop itching his eyes.

Your mind goes into investigation mode. First the sneeze…and now the itchy eyes.

Something is in your house.

While the kids finish up their eggs and bacon, you head out on a mission, of sorts. You’re no home expert, but you know a thing or two.

You check the bedrooms…nothing. Well, the kids’ rooms desperately need cleaning, but a few piles of dirty clothes aren’t ruining your fall.

You take a peek in the attic. Probably a bat or two flying around up there, which gets you even more in the fall spirit. They can stay for now.

Nothing in the living room. Nothing in the kitchen. The bathrooms seem to be normal.

Now you know what you have to do. You have to go into the deepest, darkest place of your home. The spot where unneeded blankets go to waste away. Where half-started projects rest, frozen in time.

This thing…whatever it is, must be in the basement.

Tale #3 – Vanquishing

You didn’t think fall would start like this.

Here you are, slowly descending the steps into your cold, dark basement. On edge. Uncertain of what you’ll find.

But you know you have to go there.

You can sense this is where all the problems are coming from. The sneezing. Billy’s itchy eyes. That feeling of discomfort that’s slowly pervading your home, your sanctuary.

You reach the bottom of the steps and flip on the lights. You’re greeted by the familiar faces of stacked storage containers and that extra sofa for when Billy goes off to college.

But there’s another thing. Something in the air. A smell that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up. And, you guessed it, this thing makes you sneeze yet again.

You walk toward it, knowing you need to take it on directly if you’re ever going to be free of the hideous stranglehold it has on your family and your home.

Then, as the smell gets stronger and stronger, you see it. You’re face to face with this horrible creature, and it’s just too much to bear.

The Black Mold seems to be dragging itself out of your crawl space, creeping closer and closer until you feel like you have to scream.

It’s just another sneeze.

But you’ve had enough. You can’t live like this.

You’re calling in backup.

You go to Aprilaire’s Find A Pro database to seek out professional help for this monster that has infiltrated your home.

Healthy Air Is on the Way

Find an Aprilaire professional near you.

You talk it out with a knowledgeable indoor air quality professional, who gives you the resources you need to rip the monstrous Black Mold out of its stronghold and return your home to a place of peace.

It’s your favorite time of year, after all. You deserve to enjoy it in a healthy, happy, unhaunted home.

household infections

Family |

Household Infections Could Rise With Holiday Travelers

2 minute read

Household Infections and Upcoming Holidays

The holiday season is upon us! Families across the country are deciding who to invite, where to sit, what to have, and what are the risks of having a gathering amidst a pandemic. Usually, most of us would be booking flights and arranging travel plans, but this year is a little different. As cases surge across the country, some families are opting to forgo holiday celebrations while others are trying to reduce the risks and celebrate safely. Upgrading your home’s air system can help reduce the risk of airborne virus transmission.

The COVID-19 virus spreads in the same way that any other airborne virus does. It transmits when an infected person’s aerosols get into a healthy person’s body. It is highly contagious so once someone in the house gets sick, most likely everyone in the house gets sick.

There is no specific data to point out the rate of household infections, but when you’re congregating with people and breathing the same air and touching the same surfaces, it’s likely for an infection to occur, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Mayor of Madison, WI Satya Rhodes-Conway said in a recent statement that in gatherings of 10 people, there is a 32 percent chance someone has the virus. The Hartford Courant also did a study in conjunction with the state’s Department of Health. It found household infections to be the 3rd-largest driver of infection behind workplaces and restaurants.

College Students to Start Heading Home

One specific population group that is causing concern is college students. Many universities are shutting down in-person classes after Thanksgiving break. Although students can remain on campus, if they go home or leave campus for out of town travel, they are unable to return until the start of the spring semester.

This group is problematic for a number of reasons.

Students are younger so they may not present symptoms or know they are sick. In addition, they are living together in cramped indoor spaces, going to class, less risk-averse, and socializing with diverse groups that make contact-tracing difficult.

In lieu of these risk factors, some universities are offering exit tests. All health professionals are also urging students to limit contact to their bubble for the next several weeks to reduce the risk of spread or wear masks in the home until you can be sure that everyone is negative.

Being Safe During The Holidays

To remedy these risks some families are rethinking their holiday celebrations.

Utilizing fresh air ventilation, air filtration, and humidity control with an Aprilaire Healthy Air SystemTM will help provide healthy air in your home.

For smaller gatherings, an Aprilaire portable room air purifier can also help filter the air for airborne viruses, among other airborne particulates like pet dander and other allergens, depending on the size of the room and number of guests.

Despite the inherent benefits of celebrating together as a family, especially this year, it may be beneficial to do a small get-together with those inside your bubble. For the most comprehensive information, stay up-to-date with your home state and traveling state’s guidelines. You can also view the current risk assessment factor in each county to keep your family happy and healthy this holiday season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Halloween

Aprilaire Partners Logged In Homepages | Family |

Trick Or Treat Or… Alternate Ways to Celebrate Halloween in 2020

3 minute read

While Halloween should look different this year in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, this fun and beloved holiday doesn’t need to be cancelled altogether.

Here are some safer alternatives to traditional celebrations, so you can have your candy and eat it too.

LOWEST RISK

Most traditional activities can be safely done within your household with just a little tweaking:

  • Pumpkin carving – Take a blind vote to declare a winner (and not hurt any feelings) and display your creations outside for everyone to see.
  • Haunted House – Pick a room or even just a hallway to transform your house into a night of fright, or take a virtual walk through a haunted house.
  • Scavenger Hunts – This can be done inside your home, in your own yard, or around the neighborhood at a safe distance.
  • Backyard Piñata – The best part is you can control what kind of candy your kids get, so they don’t end up with a bucket full of Dots or Almond Joys.
  • Spooky Movie Night – Make some festive treats, dim the lights, and get ready for the screams.
  • Costume Contest – You could do this virtually among friends or family and have the adults do the judging, or pick a theme as a family and all dress up together.

MODERATE RISK

With social distancing guidelines still in place, trick-or-treating may be halted this year. Have no fear, here are other ways you can celebrate Halloween in your community while practicing social distancing and mask-wearing!

  • Look for houses that are participating in one-way trick-or-treating where individually wrapped goodie bags are lined up or a bowl is placed in the driveway for walk-by pickups.
  • If your family wants to give away candy, be sure to wash hands properly before preparing any candy bowls or treat bags. You can also use a six-foot table if you want to be outside and see the costumes as kids come through.
  • Hold a small neighborhood or extended family costume parade as long as it’s outdoors, open-air, and distanced at least six feet apart.
  • Same goes for a local outdoor Halloween movie night. Make sure everyone is spaced at least six feet apart from people outside their household.
  • Find an open-air, one-way walk through a haunted forest or corn maze where mask use is being enforced and people are able to remain more than six feet apart.
  • Many pumpkin patches and apple orchards are still open, but be selective with the safety measures put in place before taking your family to one. Hand sanitizer should be available, mask-wearing enforced, and social distancing possible.

HIGH RISK – AVOID

The following activities should be avoided this year to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

  • Traditional door to door trick-or-treating where treats are being handed directly to children.
  • Trunk-or-treat events where treats are being handed out in crowded parking lots.
  • Any indoor costume party or haunted house with people outside your household.
  • Hayrides or tractor rides with people outside your household.

It’s important to note that the CDC has made specific recommendations about costume masks and the increased risks involved with Halloween celebrations:

A costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth mask. A costume mask should not be used unless it is made of two or more layers of breathable fabric that covers the mouth and nose and doesn’t leave gaps around the face.

Do not wear a costume mask over a protective cloth mask because it can be dangerous if the costume mask makes it hard to breathe, instead, consider using a Halloween-themed cloth mask.

If screaming will likely occur, greater distancing is advised. The greater the distance, the lower the risk of spreading a respiratory virus.

experiments

AA Homepage Articles | Family |

Family Learning: Child Friendly Experiments For Staying Healthy

2 minute read

There has never been a more critical time to teach children the importance of keeping their germs to themselves. But more than simply telling children they need to wash their hands and wear a mask, you can have a real impact by showing them in enjoyable experiments what germs are and how they spread.

Staying Healthy Experiments For Kids

Glitter, Glitter, Everywhere

In this experiment, glitter is used to represent our germs and how they spread from one thing to another throughout our day if we don’t wash our hands.

Most parents already know that glitter is difficult to get off, which reinforces the importance of washing hands for at least 20 seconds to thoroughly remove harmful germs.

Make A Wish

Typically you want to blow out all the candles on your birthday cake or it means your wish won’t come true. But with this experiment, the more candles left burning, the better!

Everyone’s favorite science guy, Bill Nye, showed how this experiment works in a short video. By trying to blow out the candles through various types of materials, kids can see how some are more effective than others. And it serves as a reminder that masks are an important part of reducing the spread of germs when we cough, sneeze, spit or breathe too close to someone else.

Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are

It can be a hard concept for young children to understand: There are things in the air that we can’t see that can make us sneeze, cause food to go bad, or make us very sick.

With a few simple household items in this experiment, you can help shed some light on the mystery and reinforce the lessons you’re trying to teach kids about staying healthy. This particular experiment focuses on air quality, which is important to keep in mind at home, in school, and wherever kids venture off to.

Goals For Kids

All these experiments share common learning objectives.

The goals are for kids to:

  • Understand what germs are
  • Know that germs are everywhere (the air, our hands, surfaces we touch), but are too small to see with our eyes
  • Understand that everyone has germs and some germs make people sick
  • Understand that washing hands, wearing masks, and keeping our hands out of our mouths, eyes, and noses will help reduce the spread of germs

 

 

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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