mental health & poor indoor air quality

AA Homepage Articles | Wellness |

Mental Health & Poor Indoor Air Quality – Tips To Stay Healthy

3 minute read

We know that the air we breathe has an impact on the health of our lungs, but what about its effect on other areas of mental health? A 2017 study from the University of Washington found an association between mental health & poor Indoor Air Quality. Researchers found this to be true across socioeconomic and demographic lines, which can vary greatly in cities where the air is most often polluted. (Here’s a list of the most polluted cities in the U.S.)

When you add in the stress of staying safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, (in which the common advice is to spend more time outdoors), it can be tough to feel at ease anywhere. And in areas with increasingly extreme wildfire seasons, the problem is compounded even more.

We know that poor air quality can lead to mental health issues, so what are some solutions that work towards better air quality and less stress?

How To Improve Air Quality Where You Live

Many cities in the western part of the United States are experiencing one of the worst wildfire seasons on record, with weeks of smoke-filled skies that can feel inescapable. And some factors indicate that the problem will only get worse in the years to come.

Poor air quality is also a common problem in places that experience smog, traffic fumes, and dust storms.

Whether you live in a house or apartment, here are some ways to improve the quality of the air inside despite what’s going on outside.

Keep The Windows Closed
This can be difficult to do as the temperatures go up, but keeping the windows closed is one of the best ones to avoid exposure to outdoor air. Most modern constructions are sealed well enough to let very little outdoor air inside, and even older builds will offer good protection.

Avoid Cooking And Cleaning
Try not to add more heat and particulates to the air in your space. Cooking and cleaning introduce humidity and VOCs, and when you can’t open the windows it can be difficult to ventilate properly during these activities. Go with takeout or delivery meals if those are options in your area, or try a recipe that doesn’t require an oven.

Use An Air Purifier
If you live in an area with recurring poor air quality, consider an AprilAire whole-home purifier that actively filters the air in your home throughout the year. For occasional poor air quality, you can try out an AprilAire portable air purifier that you can move to whatever area of your home you’re spending time in.

Reduce Mental Health & Poor Indoor Air Quality Issues

Poor air quality often makes it unsafe to leave your home. Add to that the continued threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, and staying inside day after day can be a stressful experience.

Here are some tips for relieving stress and anxiety and improving your mental health at home:

Accept that your environment is more stressful than usual and that it’s alright to not feel at your best or most productive.

Set boundaries between your work, play, and home activities. When all the areas are mixed into one, it can be difficult to ever truly “turn off” or concentrate on what’s in front of you.

If you’re in a stretch of poor air quality, take it easy until it’s safe to resume exercise and other outdoor activities. Here’s a chart showing the impact of exercising in wildfire smoke. Have a list of things you can do to pass the time safely indoors like reading, playing a game, or listening to music.

Create a routine that you can comfortably accomplish each day. This can involve wakeup time, meals, exercise (if it can be safely done), and reading or watching a favorite show.

Reach out to others for mutual support. It’s likely that your friends and family are feeling some of the same anxieties, and knowing that you’re not alone can help center your mindset.

Healthy-Exercise-Space-at-Home

AA Homepage Articles | Wellness |

How to Create a Healthy Exercise Space at Home

2 minute read

Click play to listen to How to Create Healthy Exercise Space at Home article. 

Summertime offers endless opportunities to get active in the great outdoors. But sometimes things like extreme heat and high allergen levels will keep you indoors. On those days, you may not be able to run through a park or jump in the water, but you can still get the benefits of exercise with an indoor workout. Let’s make sure your home environment is optimized for safe and healthy indoor exercise.

Healthy Home Gym

Whether you’ve converted your entire garage into a gym or have just enough space for a stationary bike in the corner of your home office, a few key measures will ensure you’re getting the most out of your workout space.

Regular Cleaning

Don’t forget about your workout space when dusting, mopping, and vacuuming around the home. Keeping dust and grime at bay will help with odors and make it easier for you to breathe fresh air for all your workouts.

Start a habit of wiping down your equipment with a wet cloth and disinfectant spray after each exercise session. If you sweat onto a yoga mat or exercise pad, wipe them down and let them air out before rolling them up.

Air Purification

While regular cleaning is an essential step, it can also add chemicals to your space and kick dust up into the air. Air purification systems can remove those pollutants and work around the clock to make sure you and your family are breathing clean air.

An AprilAire whole-house air purifier works all through the home to remove pollutants and return fresh air.

If you want a boost to air quality in your exercise space, try out an AprilAire room air purifier, which uses a 4-stage filtration system to remove pollutants, allergens, and odors.

Balanced Humidity

Breathing and sweating add moisture to the air, which can exacerbate the high humidity levels of the summer months and increase the chances of mold and mildew growth.

An AprilAire whole-house dehumidifier delivers humidity control to your workout area and throughout your home, keeping moisture levels at a safe and comfortable level. Humidity between 40–60% is ideal for overall health and wellness.

Plus, a dehumidifier can reduce the burden on your air conditioning system, saving you money on energy and maintenance costs.

Deodorizing

Some gyms are easy to locate by smell—don’t let yours be one of them.

The battle against odors starts with fresh air ventilation, and because opening a window isn’t a great option in the summer, mechanical ventilation is a must-have in your space.

AprilAire whole-house fresh air ventilators remove stagnant air and bring in fresh, purified air. They reduce the concentration of indoor pollutants, and help kick out lingering smells. You can also use products that naturally absorb odors without disrupting your air quality, like baking soda or activated charcoal.

stay-healthy-during-summer-fun

AprilAire Partners Logged In Homepages | Wellness |

Stay Healthy During Summer Fun

3 minute read

Click play to listen to the Stay Healthy During Summer Fun article. 

Longer days, warmer weather, outdoor festivals, beach time, barbecues, and so much more. Sounds like our kind of summer! All of it can’t come soon enough, and we want to make sure you’re prepared to enjoy a summer full of your favorite activities while staying healthy and active. Keep these tips in mind, and have your best summer yet.

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

One of the quickest ways to feel ill or burned out during the summer (or any time of year!) is through dehydration. Long hours in the sun paired with a high level of activity and sweating can dry you out quickly. On a related note, keep in mind that things like alcohol and caffeine dehydrate you. So enjoy them in moderation during the summer, and try to balance out your drinking by keeping a bottle of water close by.

Eat with the Season

The summer harvest brings fresh fruits and vegetables to many areas of the country, and we all have our regional favorites. But summer also offers plenty of opportunities to indulge at barbecues, ball games, and ice cream trucks. Of course, it’s ok to enjoy your favorite foods, but stay aware of how often you’re eating things like fried foods and fatty meats, and balance them out with lighter fare. Another benefit of fruits and veggies is that they contain a lot of water, so they can help to keep you hydrated during the summer.

Watch the Heat Index

After being inside for the winter, we’re all ready to get out and about as much as possible. When you have a day of outdoor activities planned, keep an eye on the heat index in your area to avoid the risk of heat exhaustion. And remember that the morning and evening offer some reprieve from the intense heat. When exercising, stick to shaded areas when possible or find a gym or other air-conditioned building where you can walk around or climb stairs when it’s dangerously hot outside.

Know Your Sun Exposure

There are few better feelings than the summer sun on your skin. But, like everything, it’s best in moderation.

Wear sunscreen when you go outside, and make sure to reapply more often if you’re sweating or out in the water. Other sun tips include wearing breathable clothing that keeps you cool while blocking excess sunlight, and being extra careful around bodies of water, which reflect and enhance UV rays.

And don’t forget about your eyes. Keep sunglasses handy whenever you’re outside or driving on a sunny day.

Stay Active!

While limiting heat and sun exposure are crucial to staying healthy, it’s just as important to get outside and move your body this summer. Exercise is good for your mental and physical health, and it will help balance out those barbecues and ice cream treats. Find an activity you enjoy, like running, biking, or swimming, and make a plan to do it with friends or family. That will keep you accountable and provide the added benefit of social connection.

Should You Wear a Mask?

Most sporting events and large music festivals are fully back after a couple years of postponement due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many areas have relaxed masking and distancing requirements, and the hospitalization rate for those infected has steadily dropped since January 2022. Yet, some experts are concerned about the potential for new variants of the virus and the stalled rate of vaccinations in the United States.

For you and your family, decide what you’re comfortable with and go from there. The summer will offer plenty of opportunities for events and travel, so plan ahead and understand the risks before you go.

 

Interview with the American Lung Association

AprilAire Partners Logged In Homepages |

Breathing Healthy Air: Interview with the American Lung Association

4 minute read

At AprilAire, we encourage breathing Healthy Air because we know it benefits your overall health. The American Lung Association knows it too. That’s why AprilAire air filters are the National Proud Partner of the American Lung Association*, playing a key role in the fight to improve lung health and prevent lung disease.

We got to interview National Senior Vice President of Development Sally Draper about the importance of Healthy Air and how both AprilAire and the American Lung Association are working together to help you Breathe the Fullness of Life.

Could you introduce yourself for the readers and tell us about why you chose a career with the American Lung Association?

“I joined the Lung Association in 2014 because I was attracted to its comprehensive mission—to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. Every day we help Americans breathe easier through our efforts to fund innovative research, advocate for policies that protect our lungs, and educate patients, caregivers, providers, and the public with science-backed information. We were founded more than 115 years ago, and the needs are greater today than ever before, including the youth vaping epidemic, climate change, and COVID-19!”

Can you tell us about the American Lung Association’s mission?

“The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. Our work is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; champion clean air for all; improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and create a tobacco-free future. Whether it’s searching for cures to lung diseases, keeping kids off tobacco, or advocating for laws that protect the air we breathe, the work of the American Lung Association helps to save lives every day.”

How did AprilAire and the American Lung Association come to work together in the first place? What does that relationship look like presently?

“AprilAire and the American Lung Association forged a new relationship in 2018. We quickly realized how much we had in common. Our partnership was developed as we saw an opportunity to educate and help more consumers improve the air in their homes to create a healthier environment.

Since 2020, AprilAire has been a Proud Partner of the Lung Association with its 4” residential air filters. Additionally, AprilAire joined the Lung Association as our FY20 National Fight For Air Climb Partner For Healthy Air. The company has also supported the Lung Association’s “Stand Up For Clean Air” campaign. As part of this initiative, we are driving conversations around air quality, climate, and health. The Lung Association invited people to share their #MyCleanAirStory—knowing that when people realize climate and air quality are impacting the health of their neighbors, friends, and loved ones—they are more willing to act. AprilAire provided prizes for the #MyCleanAirStory contest, including one grand prize of a whole-home Indoor Air Quality upgrade (the AprilAire Healthy Air System™) and nine AprilAire Room Air Purifiers. This year, the company stepped up once again to sponsor the Wisconsin Fight For Air Climb in Milwaukee. Also in 2021, the Lung Association welcomed Dale Philippi, President and CEO of Research Products Corporation, AprilAire’s parent company, to the Lung Association’s Wisconsin Leadership Board of Directors.”

Tell us about the Fight For Air Climb.

“The American Lung Association’s Fight For Air Climb is the nation’s premier stair climbing challenge. At 38 events nationwide, children and adults of all ages participate in this celebratory stair-climbing adventure. Pre-pandemic, the Fight For Air Climb was held in several of our country’s most iconic skyscrapers. This year, the Lung Association invited participants outdoors for a one-of-a-kind adventure to support healthy lungs and clean air. In fact, Dale was among the company’s team of more than 50 employees that climbed the stairs at Milwaukee’s American Family Field on May 22nd, proving he puts his feet, time, and talent behind causes he supports.

AprilAire has been a stalwart partner in the Fight For Air Climb, promoting the event to employees, customers, trade partners, family, and friends. Through this unique vehicle, the company is engaging individuals of all ages to understand and celebrate the importance of Healthy Air.”

AprilAire’s air filters are a National Proud Partner of the American Lung Association. How do you feel our mission aligns with yours?

“Our CEO, Harold Wimmer, has said, ‘Breathing should not be an uphill battle, but for many it is… no one should have to fight for air on a daily basis.’ Similarly, Dale has declared, ‘We believe everyone deserves to breathe Healthy Air.’ As a National Proud Partner, AprilAire’s mission to enhance everyone’s health by improving the air in their homes aligns very closely with that of the American Lung Association, champion of clean air for all.”

What are the benefits of breathing Healthy Air and what are everyday things that people can do to Breathe the Fullness of Life?

“Clean air is essential for healthy lungs. The American Lung Association works to ensure that the air we breathe is clean and safe from harmful pollution. In fact, every year we publish our State of the Air Report, which looks at two of the most widespread and dangerous air pollutants, ozone and fine particulate matter. Our 2021 State of the Air Report found that more than 4 in 10 Americans—over 135 million people—are living in places with unhealthy levels of ozone or particle pollution.

One of the most important things you can do to Breathe the Fullness of Life is to keep sources of pollution out of your home. Check out these commonsense tips on Lung.org. Additionally, ventilation helps reduce indoor air pollution, but it works best if paired with keeping known sources of air pollution out of the building. For tips on how to use ventilation to protect your lung health, check out our section on Ventilation: How Buildings Breathe.”

Fight for Healthy Air

At AprilAire, we believe everyone deserves to Breathe the Fullness of Life, and we’re not the only ones that feel this way. Through our Proud Partnership with the American Lung Association, we aim to fill every home with Healthy Air. Both AprilAire and the Lung Association believe that breathing Healthy Air should be available to everyone, and maintaining healthy Indoor Air Quality is an important step for your lung health. Read more about our partnership and the efforts of the American Lung Association on their website.

*Disclaimer: The American Lung Association does not endorse any product, device, or service.

St. Vincent de Paul

AA Homepage Articles |

2021: AprilAire’s Good Neighbor Values

2 minute read

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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.

get-kids-active-this-summer

AA Homepage Articles | Family |

How to Get Kids Active This Summer

2 minute read

Click play to listen to How to Get Kids Active This Summer article. 

School is out for many children across the United States, leaving families with more quality time together and a lot more energy to expend. Travel plans will make for great experiences and memories. But don’t leave all the fun for the road! Let’s see some great ways you can keep the whole family engaged and entertained at home and in nearby areas.

Parks and Beaches

Can you name all the public parks and beaches near your hometown? Use the summertime to explore everything in your area, and keep a checklist to make sure you hit every one you’re interested in. Then you can narrow them down to your favorites, and visit those again and again! Use this handy park finder tool to get started.

Indoor Adventures

On days that are too hot and humid or when allergen levels are high, find indoor spaces with air conditioning and activities for everyone in the family. Museums and aquariums offer great learning opportunities, or you can visit a movie theater to check out the latest family-friendly summer blockbuster.

Staycation

Many families made upgrades to their home during the pandemic, making them more comfortable and full of entertainment options. So if you’ve got a new home theater setup or enough space for a blanket fort, don’t be afraid to spend some quality time right at home.

Plus, simple activities like a board game or putting together a puzzle offer great, low-cost opportunities to slow down and enjoy each other’s company.

To make sure you stay comfortable for at-home activities all summer long, make sure your air conditioner is cleaned up and properly maintained.

Home Cooking

The best way to wrap up a day of activities is with a nourishing homemade meal. If you want to avoid turning on the stove or oven on hot days, try cooking with an air fryer or slow cooker. To get fresh ingredients, take your family to a local farmers market and pick out local items to take back home and prepare.

And of course, the grill master in the family will take any excuse to fire up some outdoor cooking. In addition to proteins, add some fresh, seasonal veggies to the grill for an all-around satisfying meal.

Indoor Exercise

With all the different activities at your fingertips during the summer, it’s easy to forget about fitness and exercise. But on days with summer storms or extreme heat, getting the whole family moving indoors is a great way to burn off some energy and to create stronger bonds.

Start with creating a healthy exercise space, then let each member of the family choose simple indoor exercises that everyone can take part in. Even if the workout lasts for only 10 minutes, it’s worthwhile and you’ll be glad you did it.

If you want to get more creative, create a game or contest out of household chores. This gets the entire family involved in home responsibilities and creates a tidier, more peaceful space to enjoy.