healthy gardening tips

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Healthy Gardening Tips for Spring 2021

2 minute read

Listen to the article by clicking the play button above. 

Did you pick up a new gardening habit in 2020? You’re not alone. Better Homes & Gardens estimates that more than 20 million Americans started planting for the first time last year.

With a new spring underway, we want to keep you on the right gardening path so you can enjoy all the beautiful colors, sights, and smells of fresh produce and blooming flowers. But keep in mind that all those plants can bring unwanted pests and increased pollen.

Read below to discover some natural and preventative ways of repelling pests, and see how to enjoy a garden without a high pollen count.

Preventing Garden Pests

  • Start with healthy soil for healthy plants that are more resilient against pests
  • Choose resistant varieties that naturally repel pests
  • Attract insects and birds that will benefit your garden and prey on the pests by planting flowers that will meet their needs
  • Planting aromatic herbs like garlic, mint, coriander, yarrow, or lemongrass among or near plants can deter pests. Some of them also help attract the predators that control your pest population
  • Confuse pests by interplanting, or alternating specific crops, herbs, and flowers
  • Floating row covers can keep pests away from young plants until they’re established while still allowing water and light to reach them
  • Don’t scare away ALL the pests. Having a few pests can actually benefit your garden by keeping those beneficial insects and birds around
  • If your “few pests” turns into an outbreak, resist the urge to use pesticides, no matter how organic. Instead, remove the infested plant to stop any spreading

Managing Pollen Counts

  • Choose the right plants if you’re looking to add to your landscape:
    • Flowering plants are typically pollinated by insects instead of wind, so pick plants with bright, fragrant flowers whose pollen is too big to get in the air
    • Native plants are easier to grow compared to non-native plants that are more likely to struggle and therefore release more pollen under distress
    • Go for female trees—often labeled seedless or fruitless—because most pollen comes from male trees
    • Safe choices of trees include apple, dogwood, pear, plum, or magnolia. Safe shrubs include hydrangea, azalea, rhododendron, or boxwood. Safe flowers include daffodils, sunflowers, roses, daisies, or tulips
  • If your yard already contains high-pollen plants or trees, consider having them removed entirely or relocated away from any doors or windows to prevent the pollen from getting inside your home
  • Timing is everything when it comes to pollen counts. Early morning and evening hours are most suitable for gardening when you suffer from allergies
  • Weather also plays a key role. Pollen counts are lower on cool, cloudy, or damp days so check the forecast before heading outside
  • Trim your lawn often to keep it around two inches, which will inhibit seeds. Depending on how sensitive you are to pollen, you might need to ask a friend or family member to mow for you
  • Wear lightweight clothing to keep your arms and legs covered, and wear pollen masks, gardening gloves, and a hat and sunglasses to protect yourself from flying pollen
  • After completing your yard work for the day, leave any shoes or gloves outside and shower as soon as possible since your clothing and hair can all carry allergens into your home
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

breathing exercises

AA Homepage Articles | Healthy Air |

2021 Stress Awareness Month – Breathing Exercises You Can Do Anytime

2 minute read

Listen to the article by clicking the play button above.

Feeling more stressed than usual?

According to the American Psychological Association, nearly 70% of Americans have reported feeling increased stress over the course of the pandemic. With uncertainties over health, finances, and the future, it’s no surprise that these anxieties have compounded for most people in the past year.

Because of that, we could all use a little (or a lot of) relaxation. One place to start? Breathing exercises. They’re an effective, convenient, and versatile way to relieve stress and reduce the ill effects of chronic stress.

April is Stress Awareness Month, and we wanted to highlight some new techniques that can be used in addition to the previous breathing tips we’ve shared.

First, let’s review why deep breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress in your body and mind.

Your whole body is affected by the way you breathe. When your breath is controlled and deep, it sends your brain a message to calm down and relax. That message also gets sent to the rest of your body, allowing it to regulate your heart rate, steady your breathing, and lower your blood pressure.

The ease and convenience of breathing exercises take down the barriers of incorporating them into your life. And they don’t require any special equipment or tools–just time and consistency.

Breathing Exercises to Try Today

1. Box Breathing

All you need for this technique is a comfortable chair that allows your feet to be flat on the floor. Then, closing your eyes, breathe in through your nose while slowly counting to four. Experience the feeling of the air entering your lungs and then hold that breath inside while slowly counting to four again. Make sure to keep your posture relaxed while holding the breath; don’t forcefully clamp your mouth or nose shut. Then, begin to slowly exhale for four seconds. Repeat those steps (inhale, hold, exhale, hold) at least three times, and if possible, continue for four minutes or until your body and mind are calm.

2. Tactical Breathing

This technique is best used when your fight-or-flight response is kicking in. Breathe in through your nose, counting 1,2,3,4. Stop and hold your breath, counting 1,2,3,4. Exhale, pulling your belly button toward your spine, counting 1,2,3,4. Practice this until you are comfortable with a full, deep breath and then repeat it making the exhale twice the length of the inhale this time.

3. Lion Breathing

This exercise has you imagine you’re a lion, which is a very powerful image for times when you’re feeling powerless or overwhelmed. Sit in a comfortable position in a chair or on the floor, if you prefer. Breathe in through your nose, filling your belly all the way up with air. When you can’t inhale any more, open your mouth as wide as you can, like a lion. Breathe out with a “HA” sound. Repeat as many times as necessary.

Breathing Quality Air

With all of this deep breathing, you want to be sure you’re taking in Healthy Air. That’s where Aprilaire can help.

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

Learn More

Check out our blueprints for a Healthy Home. They include tips and easy changes that can improve the air quality of your home, making it even simpler to deal with stress in a clean, healthy environment.

Raise a Happy, Healthy Home
Breathe easy with the blueprints to a Healthy Home.

Learn More

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
Breathe a sigh of relief.

Learn More

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.