staying safe against the omicron variant

Wellness |

Everything You Need to Know about The Omicron Variant

2 minute read

The world continues to learn more about the latest strain of the COVID-19 virus, known as the Omicron variant. It was first detected in Botswana and South Africa in mid-November 2021, and since has been found around the world, including nearly every corner of the United States.

While many current infections and illnesses are likely attributable to the Delta variant, scientists are concerned about the added threat and rapid spread of the Omicron variant in the weeks and months to come. We continue to learn more each day, and here’s what we know so far.

Transmissibility

Early signs show that the Omicron variant likely spreads more easily than any of the previous strains of COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that the virus can spread even to those who are vaccinated, though with lesser severity of symptoms than for those who are unvaccinated.

Omicron Symptoms and Severity

The symptoms of Omicron infection appear to be similar to those of previous COVID-19 strains.

We don’t yet have a full picture of the severity of illness associated with Omicron. Its impact will likely be determined both by the characteristics of the variant and by the health and biology of each person who is infected.

Even if mild symptoms are common, the rapid spread of the Omicron variant could lead to overcrowding in hospitals and shortages in treatment supplies.

Vaccination

Several studies indicate that full vaccination plus a booster shot provides strong protection against Omicron infection. But without a booster, vaccines seem to provide much less protection against this variant compared to others.

Still, vaccinations protect against severe symptoms and illness because they both produce antibodies and stimulate the growth of T cells that help fight a particular disease.

Masking and Testing

As colder winter weather in the United States leads more people to gather indoors, two key steps can help avoid further spread of the Omicron variant—masking and testing.

The CDC continues to recommend masking in crowded indoor environments, especially in areas with high transmission rates.

Consider using rapid tests to see if you or anyone you plan to host is currently infected with COVID-19 (regardless of symptoms). If a self-test comes back positive, the infected person should stay home or isolate, wear a mask when in contact with others, and call their healthcare provider if symptoms appear and/or worsen.

Ventilation

For information on how mechanical ventilation and Indoor Air Quality can impact the spread of airborne viruses like the Omicron variant, check out this article on the AprilAire blog.

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signs to look for dehydration and heat exhaustion

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Dehydration and Heat Exhaustion: Signs to Look For

2 minute read

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Stay in the game for all your summer adventures using smart strategies to avoid dehydration and heat exhaustion. It’s important to note that there are many potential causes of dehydration that you should be aware of, but today we’re focused on heat-related dehydration during the summer and how to prevent it.

Warning Signs of Heat-Related Illnesses

  • Extreme thirst. We don’t always get thirsty as our body loses hydration, but a sudden feeling of extreme thirst is a sure sign that you’re dehydrated and should rest immediately
  • Less frequent urination. This is a warning sign for people of all ages, so it’s crucial to check on kids in diapers as well
  • Dizziness or confusion. When exercising alone outdoors, it can be even more difficult to tell when you’re feeling the mental signs of dehydration
  • Fatigue or irritability, especially in young children and older adults
  • For infants: lack of tears when crying, sunken eyes or cheeks, dry mouth, and sunken soft spot on the top of the head
  • The quality of the air you’re breathing can compound the impacts of dehydration. Stay aware of adverse weather events in the surrounding area that can make the air outside unsafe to breathe, and consider ways to ensure Healthy Air in your indoor spaces throughout the summer

How to Avoid Dehydration and Heat Exhaustion

In addition to watching for warning signs of dehydration and heat exhaustion, keep in mind these tips for staying safe in the summer heat.

  • Don’t wait until you’re thirsty, stay hydrated throughout the day by consistently drinking moderate amounts of water or other hydrating liquids
  • Avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol, which increase dehydration
  • Take frequent breaks in the shade or indoors in an air-conditioned room. Start with 5–10 minutes of “cool time” every hour
  • Wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing
  • Avoid intense outdoor activity between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., the hottest part of the day
  • Take cold showers or baths to cool off quickly
  • Be extra careful when traveling far from home, as the distance can make it difficult to pack along the right clothes and proper hydration. Make extra stops along the way while traveling, and keep a cooler packed with ice in the car
  • In some areas of the country, air conditioning isn’t standard in every home and apartment. Try strategies to beat the heat with circulation fans and by avoiding heated cooking
  • Check-in often with young children and older adults, who are more susceptible to heat-related illnesses

Plan with Your Doctor

Dehydration can have short- and long-term impacts, so talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns for yourself or your family.

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AA Homepage Articles | Wellness |

Healthy Recipes for No-Cook Summer Meals

< 1 minute read

Click play to listen to the Healthy Recipes for No-Cook Summer Meals article. 

Fuel your summertime adventures with these no-cook, delicious meals and snacks! Keeping the oven and stove off during the hot, humid summer months helps cut down on energy costs and prevents the buildup of harmful substances in your indoor air.

There are so many ways to get creative with fresh, seasonal ingredients this summer. And to get you started, we’ve got five easy recipes that can satisfy everyone’s appetites without heating up the house.

Caprese Salad

Fresh, simple, and incredibly tasty. This salad works as an appetizer, snack, or one piece of a tapas-style dinner.

Chicken Salad Sandwich

Pick up a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store to get a head start on this filling sandwich option.

Air Fryer Radishes

Cooking with an air fryer is a great way to enjoy a hot meal or snack without adding unnecessary heat to your home. These radishes transform from fresh out of the garden into a crispy, flavorful side dish or salad topper.

Cowboy Caviar

This dip can easily turn into a main course because of how hard it is to stop eating! The perfect combination of hearty and spicy, all this crowd pleaser needs is a bag of tortilla chips.

Watermelon Sorbet

Chill out with this quick and easy dessert using a classic summertime fruit and your freezer. (We won’t blame you if you linger in the cool freezer air while making this one.)

Interview with the American Lung Association

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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.

2021 Good Neighbor Values

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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.

AprilAire Partners Logged In Homepages | Healthy Home |

What Causes Static Shocks in the Winter?

2 minute read

 

As soon as the temperatures drop, the snow starts falling, and the furnace kicks in, you may start noticing a lot more static shocks as you move around your home. Why are static shocks so common in the wintertime?

Let’s review some common sources of static shocks this time of year, and find out how to avoid them.

Dry Air

Humidity level is the biggest factor when it comes to static shocks. Dry air is a conduit for those painful zaps because it doesn’t allow electric charges to dissipate and find balance in the same way moist air does. This causes some items to gain a positive charge, leading to a sudden transfer when they come into contact with negatively charged items.

To offset the prevalence of static shocks during dry, cold weather, you can maintain a balanced humidity level in your home between 40–60%. This will allow electrons to harmlessly move to the moisture in the air, rather than sit on surfaces, waiting to shock you when they transfer rapidly.

As a bonus, balanced humidity can also reduce your energy costs in the winter by making your home feel warmer at lower temperatures.

Clothing Materials

Certain fabrics are more likely to have a negative charge and lead to static shocks. Wool, nylon, and polyester clothing are the most susceptible. For instance, you may notice a static shock when putting on a wool winter hat.

Additionally, rubber-soled shoes will contribute to the buildup of electricity as you move across things like carpeting. This is less of a problem with leather-soled shoes.

Clothes Dryer

Dryer sheets have anti-static properties that reduce the likelihood of clothes sticking together in the dryer, and of clothes creating a static shock when you touch and wear them. You can also rub dryer sheets on areas where you often feel a static shock, like door handles or the metal parts of your vehicle.

Around Gas Pumps

In general, static shocks aren’t dangerous even though they’re uncomfortable. The only sites where they could pose a serious problem are at the gas pump or near other flammable areas. Because of this, the American Petroleum Institute recommends touching your metal door to release any static charge before touching the gas nozzle.