AA Homepage Articles | Healthy Air |

CDC Recommendations & Government Stimulus Push Ventilation Upgrades Inside Schools

2 minute read

Fresh Air Ventilation Added to CDC’s Recommendations

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently added a new caveat to their guidelines for reopening schools. The organization added fresh air ventilation as a recommendation and key component of maintaining a healthy indoor environment.

The organization’s website states:

“Good ventilation is another step that can reduce the number of virus particles in the air. Along with other preventive actions, ventilation can reduce the likelihood of spreading disease. Below are ways you can improve ventilation in your school or childcare program, whether in a large building or in a home.”

Reducing the proliferation of airborne contaminants like viruses and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) can provide benefits after the pandemic like reducing absences and improving productivity. Just like getting enough sleep and eating the proper foods impact us, breathing in Healthy Air also impacts how we feel. 

Some Schools Do Not Track Ventilation

As schools prepare to reopen, some in Kansas are starting from the very beginning. The Topeka Capital-Journal writes, “no one tracks ventilation in Kansas schools, let alone whether the buildings make changes to hit targets set by engineers and public health experts for pandemic safety.” 

At the beginning of the pandemic, the newspaper says districts poured money into cleaning supplies. Now they have a wealth of ionizers and other surface cleaners, and a dearth of Healthy Air products like fresh air ventilation systems. Some are unable to even open their windows. 

The Kansas Board of Education, according to the Capital-Journal, does suggest that schools target HVAC upgrades to improve the air quality inside schools, but it does not require schools to follow its suggestions. Like many other schools throughout the country, Kansas schools are also spending money to help get students caught up academically through summer school programs and help them deal and help them deal with the emotional, mental, and social burden of the pandemic by beefing up counseling services. 

“Don’t spend your first dollar upgrading your HVAC,” Director of School Finance for the Kansas State Department of Education Craig Neuenswander, recommends. “Let’s look at some of the needs that your students are going to have coming out of the pandemic, and address those first.”

Schools Balance HVAC Upgrades with Other Needs

To help balance their budget with those immediate student needs and HVAC upgrades, some schools are using money from the American Rescue Plan stimulus signed into law by President Joe Biden. 

According to the Daily Democrat, Woodland School District Superintendent Tom Pritchard said the district ordered air purifiers, upgraded air filters to MERV 13, and opened up vents in some district campuses with their stimulus money. 

For students in Pennsylvania’s Bethlehem Area School District, the school is spending close to $50 million to upgrade its HVAC units throughout several schools. According to this Lehigh Valley Live article, District Chief Financial Officer Stacy M. Gober said the administration identified the HVAC replacements as perfect one-time expenses that directly benefit students. Since ventilation plays a crucial role in the spread of the coronavirus, the upgrades are eligible expenses.

Fresh Air Ventilation is Needed for Schools

Fresh air ventilation and other Indoor Air Quality products are essential in getting students back into the classroom, along with academic resources. 

For more information on the ongoing air quality crisis facing schools, continue to follow the Aprilaire blog.

 

variants

AA Homepage Articles | Healthy Air |

Mechanical Ventilation and Vaccinations Recommended Against Variants

2 minute read

While it may feel to some like the war against COVID-19 is over, the Delta variant is spreading through both vaccinated and unvaccinated populations. Subsequently, there are other variants being monitored by the World Health Organization. As pharmaceutical companies and health officials try to stay ahead of these variants, mechanical ventilation can serve as a trusted and effective solution since we spend 90% of our lives indoors. 

Ventilation Emerges As A Solution Against Variants

Throughout the last one and a half years, the HVAC industry has continued to work in tandem with major health organizations and prominent health scientists to showcase the benefits of Indoor Air Quality. COVID-19 made the invisible visible and accelerated the need for more research and data about the benefits of better indoor air especially as it relates to our workspaces, schools, homes, and the symphony

Prestigious Organizations Recommend Ventilation and Vaccinations

Several engineers and health scientists make the case for ventilation and air filtration in this Scientific American article

According to a recent Nature article, bringing up ventilation levels to the recommended amount “had the same mitigating effect as a vaccination coverage of 50% to 60%.”

Ventilation and vaccinations are also recommended by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to reduce the risk factor of airborne viruses

How Mechanical Ventilation Works

Mechanical ventilation works by pulling in freshly filtered air from the outside while moving stagnant indoor air out. It filters the outdoor air, balances its humidity, and dilutes indoor air of other contaminants like dust, seasonal allergies, mold, volatile organic compounds, and odor. These contaminants can leave you and your family feeling ill and fatigued, and contribute to sleep issues. 

Aprilaire Healthy Air System™

For effective year-round virus protection, the Aprilaire Healthy Air System™ combines fresh air ventilation, air filtration, and humidity control. This award-winning, whole-home system captures, dilutes, and rids the air of airborne viruses, variants included, to keep you and your family safe. Our American-made system comes equipped with a 5-year warranty to keep your all-purpose investment protected. 

Additionally, the Aprilaire Healthy Air System™ can help protect your home from pests, wood warping and rotting, and wasted energy. If left unaddressed, these could lead to high energy bills, expensive repairs to your HVAC system, and even replacements.

Invest in greater health, virus protection, fewer allergens, more productivity, and better sleep.

Learn More

Breathe The Fullness of Life with Aprilaire Healthy Air Pros

To Breathe the Fullness of Life with Aprilaire and get Aprilaire Indoor Air Quality solutions inside your home, contact a local Healthy Air Pro.

Healthy Air Is on the Way

Find an Aprilaire professional near you.

Note: Aprilaire products are not intended to cure or treat any known airborne diseases. They can help in the reduction of airborne virus particles indoors. Continue to follow guidance from local public health officials, the CDC, and the World Health Organization about indoor and outdoor public gatherings. 

asthma

Environment | Healthy Air |

Expert Guidance on Dealing with Asthma

2 minute read

Click to play to listen to the Expert Guidance on Dealing with Asthma article

Being outside during the hot summer months can expose you to asthma triggers like air pollution, excessively humid air, and allergens like pollen.

But with the right plan in place, you and your children won’t have to let asthma concerns prevent you from enjoying time in the sun.

Asthma Guidance Updates

The National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP) regularly analyzes the best available scientific evidence, and then offers guidelines for treating and living with asthma.

In general, the NAEPP recommends that people with asthma should work with their health care providers to develop a comprehensive prevention and treatment plan that includes:

  • Taking prescribed medications
  • Addressing environmental factors that may worsen symptoms
  • Learning how to better manage their asthma
  • Monitoring and adjusting care as needed

In early 2021, the NAEPP released updated guidelines, with a focus on the varying types of medication available to treat asthma in different age groups. You can find more details here, and always make sure to discuss any medication changes with your doctor.

Indoor Allergen Reduction

The panel also recommended strategies for preventing exposure to asthma triggers, with a particular focus on using multiple methods of protection in your indoor environment. They found that singular prevention strategies do not significantly improve asthma outcomes.

For instance, those who are sensitive to dust mites should reduce the allergen by using pillow and mattress covers and vacuuming with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration.

Aprilaire Healthy Air System

Combining multiple protection methods to create an overall Healthy Home environment is at the heart of the Aprilaire Healthy Air System.

It ensures Healthy Air by addressing fresh air ventilation, air filtration, and humidity control.

Fresh air ventilation allows your home to inhale fresh outdoor air, and exhale stagnant, polluted indoor air. This helps dilute and remove asthma triggers, especially when you’re cleaning, cooking, and doing any home renovation.

Air filtration makes sure the fresh air that comes into your home is free of allergens and other contaminants that can linger in outdoor air. Invest in Aprilaire MERV 16 air filters for maximum protection.

Humidity control keeps your home between 40-60% to prevent pests, mold, and dried out sinuses that can exacerbate asthma symptoms. Plus, an Aprilaire dehumidifier can help you feel more comfortable during summer heat waves.

When choosing strategies for your home, consider some of the unexpected asthma triggers that may linger in your air. Then talk with an Aprilaire Pro and use these Healthy Air tips to turn your home into a sanctuary for you and your family.

It’s Time to Care About Healthy Air
Breathe a sigh of relief.

Learn More
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.

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.

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