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Why Everyone Needs a Flu Shot in 2014

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It’s easy to make excuses for not getting a flu shot. Most people don’t want to subject themselves to a needle stick when they feel healthy. A number of myths about the safety and effectiveness have also made it easy to make excuses for not getting protected. However, the CDC recommends that everyone – with very few exceptions – get a flu shot. Vaccination is an important step in the prevention of flu this winter.

5 Flu Shot Myths Busted

While a fear of needles probably plays the largest role in avoiding the flu shot, there are plenty of unwarranted reasons people have for avoiding what could be a health-saving vaccine.

  1. The flu shot makes you sick. While some may have a sore shoulder or a stuffy nose, the flu shot cannot infect someone with influenza or the cold.
  2. The flu is not dangerous. While it’s true that most cases of influenza aren’t life-threatening, people still miss work and school. The elderly and those with compromised immune systems can face numerous other more serious complications. And most importantly – influenza can be very dangerous. The 1918 outbreak of Spanish Flu killed 675,000 Americans in one year, according to Flu.gov.
  3. The vaccine’s side effects can be deadly. The flu shot produces few if any side effects and they are usually mild. However, patients should talk to their doctors if they have certain food or medicine allergies or other concerns about the shot.
  4. I had a flu shot last year. Strains of influenza change each year and immunity declines over time. For the best protection, an annual immunization is needed.
  5. The flu shot hurts. For those afraid of the needle, most have the option of a nasal spray or an intradermal trivalent shot, which uses a much smaller needle. For those who don’t qualify for other methods – tough it out. The pain from even a traditional shot is minimal and well worth the protection.

Add to Your Arsenal of Flu Defense This Winter

In addition to getting a flu shot, there are some things that can be done to reduce virus transmission even more. A whole-home air purifier can help trap airborne virus particles in the house when they travel through duct work.

A whole-home humidifier can also help reduce flu infection in the winter in two unique ways. According to The American Academy of Otolaryngology, dry air makes people more susceptible to illness because the nose becomes less effective at filtering the air. The viruses that cause colds and flus also thrive in dry environments. The process of heating a house in the winter reduces the indoor relative humidity, causing health and comfort issues.

According to a report on the role of RH in the aerosol transmission of influenza, researchers concluded that “maintaining indoor relative humidity of greater than 40 percent will significantly reduce the infectivity of aerosolized [influenza].”

Must-Do Fall Home Maintenance Tips for 2014

Fall is a great time of year to complete home maintenance projects that ensure a house is ready for the winter months.

Fall is a great time of year to complete home maintenance projects that ensure a house is ready for the winter months.

Fall is a great time of year to perform important home maintenance. Autumn creates plenty of predictable yard work, such as raking leaves and cleaning gutters. However, there are a number of chores that are less obvious but just as important in order to get a house in tip-top shape before winter.

5 Outdoor Projects for Home Maintenance Tips

When the gardening season draws to a close this fall, it’s time to begin working on projects outside of the house. Forbes’ magazine suggests adding these home improvements to this year’s list:

  1. Additional lighting – As the days get shorter, sprucing up walkways with ground lighting adds ambience as well as an added level of safety. Inexpensive solar lights have improved in quality and can be installed without running wire.
  2. Walk and caulk – Reducing energy bills, preventing drafts and keeping critters out of the house in the winter starts with a fresh bead of caulk around windows, siding and joints. Before it gets too cold, stroll around the entire exterior of the home and seal any potential air leaks.
  3. Bring in lawn furniture – If there’s room, it’s best to bring patio tables and chairs into the basement or garage for the winter. It’s also a good time of year to add a fresh coat of paint if the items are looking worn.
  4. Mulch garden beds – Adding fresh mulch around landscaping can help protect perennial plants from cold temperatures and keep weeds down next spring. It’s a fall home maintenance project that can also reduce work next summer.
  5. Wash your home – Many homeowners don’t realize how dirty their house can get. Even the best siding won’t shed all the dust, dirt and rain that a house is constantly exposed to. While some synthetic sidings don’t hold paint, they can be given a face lift with a power washer.

3 Indoor Home Maintenance Tips

Of course, no fall home maintenance checklist is complete without ensuring the inside of a home is warm and cozy on cool fall nights. Here are some tasks to complete indoors each fall:

  1. Clean the fireplace – For homeowners that utilize their fireplace or wood-burning stove during winter, this is one of the most important items. Hiring a professional to clean and inspect a chimney can improve efficiency and reduce the risk of fire and CO poisoning. In other words, this tip can save lives.
  2. Check your humidifier – Ensure whole-home humidifiers have a clean water panel and are working properly. Homeowners who aren’t protecting their properties with a whole-house humidifier should visit com. Proper humidification protects wood floors, instruments, art and furniture from dry air.
  3. Improve air purification – When fall begins, it’s also a good reminder that it’s time to replace air cleaner filters. A whole-home air purifier can also trap fall allergens, bacteria and viruses, helping to keep families healthy all year round.

Home maintenance in fall is essential to keeping family members safe and comfortable during the winter. Aprilaire has products specifically designed to improve comfort and protect investments from seasonal changes in humidity. To learn more, visit Aprilaire.com

A is for Allergies as Students Head Back to School

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As students head back to class, ragweed allergies are expected to flare. Hay fever symptoms, such as itchy skin, watery eyes, sneezing and coughing can make it hard for a student to concentrate on class work. Unfortunately, it can also be difficult for parents to determine if a child has an allergy or picked up a viral infection after going back to school.

Is it Allergies or a Cold? Here Are Some Key Differences:

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), there are some clear signs that signal a child is having an allergic reaction and not suffering from a cold.

  1. While symptoms may be similar to colds, seasonal allergies usually last longer than two weeks and tend to occur at the same time each year.
  2. Dry, itchy skin or a rash is a common symptom with some allergens.
  3. If a child presents with a cough at night or when exercising, he or she may also be suffering from asthma.
  4. An allergy to food often presents with an itching or tingling in the mouth, throat or ears. Parents should make sure school nurses and teachers are informed if a child must avoid certain foods before they go back to school this year. AAP recommends staying up-to-date on lunch room menus and packing a kid’s meal when necessary.

Study-up on Ragweed Allergy Treatments before Sending Kids Back to School

If a student shows signs of asthma or allergies around the same time he or she heads back to school, it’s possible that ragweed is the culprit. However, AAP recommends that parents visit an allergist to identify exactly what it is their future honor student is allergic to. The organization explains that an important step in reducing symptoms is simply avoiding the trigger. However, it’s very hard to avoid ragweed because it grows throughout the country and easily makes its way indoors.

For children with an allergy to pollen, dust or other airborne particles, keeping irritants out of the house is essential. Whole-house air purifiers can trap pollen in a home’s indoor air, so kids can breathe easier while studying. Also trapped are viruses and bacteria, which kids are sure to bring into the house more often after they go back to school.

Honey Cures Ragweed Allergy – Is it Too Tasty to be True?

Honey Cures Ragweed Allergy – Is it Too Tasty to be True?

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In 2014, many allergy sufferers will try and meet the longer ragweed season with a new arsenal of products to relieve their sneezing, itching and coughing. And one of these wonder products won’t come from the pharmacy but the farmers market, as people turn to locally produced honey for a cure.

However, according to Web MD, the theory that a spoonful of honey this summer will keep allergies at bay in the fall is mostly a myth. The notion of vaccinating against allergies by ingesting small amounts of pollen deposited in honey by bees has some scientific backing – but studies have shown little or no correlation to reduced allergy symptoms. The most obvious reason for honey’s lack of effectiveness is that it doesn’t possess the quantities or types of pollen required to immunize against common allergies.

What’s the Buzz About This Year’s Ragweed Season?

With or without a sweet tooth for honey, those with allergies will be looking for relief as summer 2014 draws to a close and hay fever symptoms begin. Known medically as allergic rhinitis, hay fever is primarily caused by an allergic reaction to ragweed plants. The plant is found in great quantities across the U.S. and experiences significant growth in the month of August, which is why many Americans find their symptoms at their worst this time of year.

Unfortunately for victims of ragweed allergies, 2014 could continue a trend of increasingly agonizing symptoms. According to U.S. News and World Reports, some asthma and allergy experts say that global climate change could be increasing the ragweed season, meaning the plant will have more time to release pollen grains, which carry for hundreds of miles in the wind. The small pollen also easily makes its way into homes through open windows, on clothes and on family pets.

For those suffering from hay fever, reports that their allergy symptoms could be lasting longer is certainly unwelcome news. It could mean more medicine – some of which has undesired side effects – or continued discomfort inside and outside of the house

Top 3 Natural Ways to Fight Back Against Ragweed Allergies

While the cure for ragweed allergy may not be sitting in the pantry, there are other remedies that can at least reduce the severity of symptoms this August without a trip to the pharmacy.

  1. Essential Oils in the Shower: One relaxing way to feel better is a hot shower with a few drops of eucalyptus oil in the bottom of the tub. The water will wash off pollen that has collected on the body during the day while the steam and eucalyptus open up sinuses and moisturize dry nasal passages.
  1. Stinging Nettle: While scientific evidence is inconclusive, Web MD reports that taking supplements of stinging nettle at the start of ragweed season appears to help ease the severity of symptoms with fewer side effects than antihistamine drugs.
  1. A Whole-Home Air Purifier: An excellent addition to allergy and asthma relief, an air purifier installed in an existing HVAC system reduces the amount of allergens that are in the air. Because allergies are a direct reaction to pollen and other particulates, purifying the air should improve comfort in the house.

For more information on whole-home air purification, total control of IAQ and available options for removing ragweed allergens form the home, visit Aprilaire.com. Also, find us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Aprilaire.

You Can Feel It in the Air

You may not realize it, but your body is pretty good at measuring humidity, according to The Weather Channel. When you’re outside, humidity levels can create a sticky, sweaty feeling. Inside, a poor balance of moisture in the air leads to coughing, sneezing or itching. In the basements of the Northern United States, increased humidity also creates the perfect environment for mold and mildew growth. Your nose will let you know about increased basement humidity when you’re hit with that musty smell.
Read the entire article to learn more about how the relative humidity of your indoor air impacts your comfort and health.
http://www.weather.com/activities/health/allergies/indoorhumidity.html

There are many different causes for a wet basement, but they all have the same result – costly repairs and damage.

There are many different causes for a wet basement, but they all have the same result – costly repairs and damage. While snow melt and rain storms are two culprits, another big contributor to a wet basement is humidity. Read this article from This Old House to learn more about leaky foundations. Visit Aprilaire.com to learn more about humidity control. http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/article/0,,220912,00.html

Can Ohio Couple Save Basement With Dehumidifier After Flood?

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Without the proper humidity control, basements become susceptible to mold, mildew and the odors that accompany them. The excess moisture also damages tools, furniture, electronics and the other investments that make a basement a family's unique territory. It takes a short time for moisture buildup in a basement to noticeably impact air quality throughout the house, creating that "basement smell" and aggravating health conditions.  The recent severe weather in the Midwest flooded the basement of Bill and Marilyn Johnson, a couple living in Ohio. With so much moisture left in their basement, they weren't sure how to dry it out. 

Following Flood, Johnsons Give Dehumidifier a Try

The Johnsons discovered the benefits of a dehumidifier after their local HVAC dealer installed one to help mitigate the flood damage.

"A serviceman came out the next day and we discussed the storm," Marilyn said. "He suggested that we might look at an Aprilaire dehumidifier. In a short period of time we noticed a big difference in the air quality and it dried out the basement."

The Johnsons have continued to notice an improvement in their indoor-air quality as a result of using of a high-capacity dehumidifier. Marilyn said that controlling their basement humidity has reduced her asthma symptoms and visitors to their home are impressed by how fresh the air is.

"Also, the air conditioner is not running much at all," she said. "Our home is at 75 degrees with no humidity."

Couple is Proud to Own an American-Made Dehumidifier That's Built to Last

As the Johnsons discovered, a high-capacity dehumidifier is an investment that pays for itself as homeowners reap the rewards of improved efficiency, capacity and protection.

  • Low-cost operation – High-capacity units are able to run much more efficiently, and that saves money on the utility bill! In testing, it cost as little as $.27 per day to run an Aprilaire dehumidifier versus retail models that were tested, which cost from $.85 to $1.27 per day to operate.  This lead to a seasonal savings of $177.60! 
  • Improved comfort – With proper humidification, homeowners are less likely to over-cool their homes and can set the thermostat at a higher and more comfortable temperature.
  • Energy efficiency – High-capacity units are more efficient than the leading portable units.

"The best thing about Aprilaire dehumidifiers is that they are built in the U.S.A.!" said Marilyn.

For more information on a whole-home dehumidifier and how you can control basement humidity like the Johnsons did, visit http://www.aprilaire.com. Also, find us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Aprilaire.

About Aprilaire: We have been a brand leader in indoor air quality for more than 60 years, delivering a wide range of whole-home systems that improve comfort, health and energy efficiency .Our brand products are sold through and installed by HVAC contractors across the United States and Canada. Visit Aprilaire.com to learn more about whole-home air cleaners and total comfort solutions to air purity, humidity, freshness and temperature.

Megan Leick
608-310-6167

Photo – http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140625/121732