unexpected asthma triggers

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Five Unexpected Asthma Triggers & How To Avoid Them

2 minute read

Nearly 8% of all adults in the U.S. currently have asthma, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Of those approximately 20 million people, many are unaware of how to avoid asthma triggers. While most asthma sufferers can feel when they’re having an asthma attack– characterized by wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath–the CDC reports that many of them are unaware of how to avoid what’s causing the attack.

Common triggers include things like tobacco smoke, mold, outdoor air pollution, and colds and flu. But even when minimizing contact with those common irritants, asthma sufferers may find that their symptoms persist at odd times and in unexpected places.

Awareness is crucial in preventing asthma attacks, so let’s look at some unexpected triggers to keep an eye on. For any questions on your asthma diagnosis and general health, be sure to consult your doctor.

5 Unexpected Asthma Triggers

1. Acid Reflux and GERD

Research has revealed that GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) is more common in people with asthma than in the general population. This could be for a couple of reasons:

  • Acid reflux damages the esophagus, causing heartburn and general pain in the chest area. This can potentially lead to or exacerbate asthma attacks.
  • Conversely, asthma attacks can lead to GERD because the motion and force of severe coughing and wheezing may cause stomach acid to enter the esophagus.

In either case, if you have asthma, be aware of GERD and heartburn. Treating acid reflux can lead to increased general well-being and help lessen the severity of asthma attacks.

2. Food Additives

Common food additives and preservatives may irritate your immune system and airways. Sulfites are a preservative often added to things like wine, dried fruit, baked goods, and other processed foods. If you notice a certain type of food irritates your asthma, look at the ingredients list to see if anything raises a red flag. There are typically alternatives you can eat that don’t include additives.

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3. Food Allergies

Beyond the additives mentioned above, whole foods can irritate asthma if you have an unknown allergy or intolerance. Food allergies don’t always present as a closed airway or hives. Sometimes symptoms can be as simple as an upset stomach or fatigue. To see if any common foods are causing allergy symptoms, you can talk to your doctor about trying an elimination diet.

4. Air Fresheners and Scented Candles

It’s tempting to mask household odors with air fresheners or scented candles. But be aware that these often introduce harmful VOCs (volatile organic compounds) to your home. Added fragrances or the smoke from candles can cause allergy symptoms that lead to asthma attacks. Try to increase the ventilation to your living space for better odor control and to prevent contaminated air.

5. Aspirin

In the medical field, there’s a well-known correlation between asthma attacks and aspirin or other pain relievers known as NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). But if you’re unaware of your asthma or the severity of the symptoms, you may want to be mindful of how often you’re taking common pain relievers. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions.

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    Total Home Performance Consultation

    AA Homepage Articles |

    Total Home Performance Provides Solutions Based on Building Science

    2 minute read

    Total Home Performance, located on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, utilizes a science-based, top-down approach in creating healthy homes for its clients. They see their customers as their neighbors, utilizing a no-pressure sales technique to provide the best solution, not just the one that’s going to make the biggest impact on the bottom line. They provide an informative and visual-based process that walks the homeowner through any issues they’ve spotted and how they can be addressed based on the latest building science principles.

    Total Home Performance Grows Steadily

    Over the last 13 years, Total Home has steadily grown from an energy audit service to a full-service home performance contractor. While its growth has led to expanded expertise, more employees, and more infrastructure, the company has remained true to its humble roots to make a positive impact on the lives of homeowners they service. Many of the company’s employees have been with them since the beginning, creating a unique family atmosphere that leaves owner Matthew Hargrove proud.

    “We are a true family here. We have committed our lives to this business…We feel very fortunate and proud to not only be supporting this amount of people but providing this type of work that is of such great benefit to our customers.”

    Like many other home performance contractors, Total Home Performance has seen increased demand for its services since the COVID-19 pandemic. More homeowners are concerned about their home’s indoor air quality and if their home is making them sick.

    Healthy Home Assessments Help Homeowners

    As a result, Total Home Performance began offering healthy home assessments to evaluate the health and safety issues that could be negatively impacting homeowners. This begins with a visual inspection of the property to identify things like moisture, mold, pest intrusion, or other potential contaminants. Based on this inspection, they can perform specific tests for things like volatile organic compounds (VOCs), mold, and moisture to pinpoint the root cause and lay out a plan to eradicate these issues.

    Humidity control is especially vital for many homeowners along the eastern shore since they butt up against the Chesapeake Bay and other inlets leaving them vulnerable to the impacts of excess humidity like mold, mildew, discomfort, and structural damage.

    The Big Three

    The Total Home team also shores up any poorly insulated areas ensuring the home is energy-efficient and protected from whatever mother nature may throw its way. Sealing up the house also helps create a perfect structure for Total Home Performance to apply, what Hargrove calls “The Big Three”—ventilation, filtration, and moisture management strategy—which helps eliminate household viruses, VOCs, and other health issues within the home.

    Contact Total Home Performance

    If you want to feel the difference in your home, see an improvement in your health and save on your energy bills, contact Total Home Performance today.

    impact of wildfires

    AA Homepage Articles | Environment |

    Reversing the Impact of Wildfires

    2 minute read

    Click play to listen to Reversing the Impact of Wildfires

    Wildfires can quickly and drastically change the landscape for wide swaths of land. So far in 2022, the United States has seen around 5.7 million acres of land impacted by wildfires, which is two million more than the 20-year average. And in years to come, experts say the wildfire forecast could become increasingly dire.

    Worsening matters, the widespread deforestation caused by wildfires further contributes to climate change because the trees aren’t around to absorb carbon from the atmosphere.

    The situation calls for action, and the U.S. Forest Service recently announced added resources for reforesting areas impacted by wildfires.

    Forests are a powerful tool in the fight against climate change. Nurturing their natural regeneration and planting in areas with the most need is critical to mitigating the worst effects of climate change while also making those forests more resilient to the threats they face from catastrophic wildfire, historic drought, disease outbreaks and pest infestation.

    – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, in a July 2022 Statement

    The government’s plan is to plant more than one billion trees over the next 10 years, in an effort to improve carbon capture and reduce the likelihood of landslides and flooding in areas deforested by wildfires.

    Air Quality and Wildfires

    Of course, the land is not the only thing affected by wildfires. Air quality is severely reduced during and after the burning, with smoke and particulate matter sometimes lingering for days and traveling hundreds of miles.

    To protect your air from the impact of wildfires, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest sealing up windows, and using a portable air purifier or installing high-efficiency air filters.

    Since homes are not completely sealed from the outdoor environment, using an AprilAire whole-house air purifier is a powerful way to protect your indoor air environment during adverse weather events.

    When going outside while smoke lingers or cleaning up ash from surfaces, protect your airways with a mask and take regular breaks in a healthy indoor air environment. And to know when it’s safe to go outside as normal, reference the Environmental Protection Agency’s AirNow tools, and follow the organization’s guidance to protect yourself and your family.

    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.

    2021 Good Neighbor Values

    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.

    AprilAire Partners Logged In Homepages |

    How Smart Thermostats Create a Healthy Home Environment

    2 minute read

     

    Creating a Healthy Air environment in your home is great for your family, and can save you money on energy costs over time. One way to make the process even more beneficial is to automate the systems that control your temperature, humidity level, and air quality.

    AprilAire Wi-Fi thermostats are designed with your health and convenience in mind, pairing with your AprilAire whole-house solutions and the AprilAire Healthy Air App to deliver simple, round-the-clock control of your home’s air.

    Smart Thermostat Benefits

    Control from Anywhere

    No more wasting electricity while your home is empty. AprilAire Wi-Fi thermostats and the Healthy Air App give you consistent control over your heating and cooling systems, and all of your AprilAire whole-house solutions from anywhere you have a mobile connection.

    The connected thermostat even lets you create temperature schedules, so you can turn down the heat at night to create an environment that’s more conducive to restful sleep.

    Balanced Humidity

    Humidity levels fluctuate throughout the seasons and during large weather events. It’s crucial to ensure a balanced humidity level between 40–60% in your home, with benefits for your health, finances, and property values.

    AprilAire Wi-Fi thermostats let you set up your preferred humidity levels and automatically maintain those levels through every season.

    Fresh Air Ventilation

    Working with your AprilAire fresh air ventilation system, AprilAire Wi-Fi thermostats offer total control of the fresh air intake for your home. Whether you do it manually or set up an automatic schedule, the system will let you know when fresh air is pumped into your home, giving you peace of mind that your family is breathing Healthy Air.

    Air Purification

    Certain events can make the air in your home less than fresh. When doing things like cooking, using your fireplace, or kicking up dust while cleaning, you can protect your air with Event-Based™Air Cleaning. When paired with an AprilAire whole-house air purifier, this feature gives you a simple way to scrub pollutants and irritants from your home’s air.

    It’s also a huge benefit for allergy and asthma sufferers. On days with a high pollen or other allergen count, you can schedule a cleaning cycle and enjoy Healthy Air indoors throughout the allergy season.

    Check out all the options available for AprilAire thermostats, and see what will best fit your home and lifestyle.