Combatting Spring Allergies
Watching the trees and flowers bloom can be a beautiful sight, but it also means that spring allergy season is underway. For many people, allergies are an annoyance, but for seniors, they can become a health risk. Complications can arise when allergies mix with weakened immune systems or pre-existing respiratory or cardiovascular problems. Being proactive about allergies can help reduce symptoms and provide relief.
Pay attention for symptoms: Depending on where you live, allergy season may start at different times and allergens themselves may vary. Symptoms can also be similar to those of a cold or other illness. Look for signs such as red, itchy, or watery eyes, a runny nose, an itchy throat, or wheezing when breathing. The doctor may be able to help determine which allergens your loved one is particularly sensitive to.
Ask about medications: Before you give your elderly parent an over-the-counter antihistamine, talk to their doctor first. These drugs may have harmful interactions with other medications they are already on, or make them less effective. Side effects such as dizziness, confusion, or drowsiness may also be dangerous, especially if your loved one lives alone. Saline spray may be a helpful alternative.
Get an air purifier: Consider setting up an air purifier in their home to help clear away some of the allergens and clean the air. Keep the windows closed when allergen levels are high, and make sure to wash sheets and blankets often to remove dust and pollen. It is also a good idea to regularly vacuum, dust, and wipe down surfaces where allergens may collect.
Stay inside: Along the same lines, watch the news and follow air quality levels. Stay indoors on days when allergens are particularly high, or at least limit time spent outdoors. If they do go outside, suit up with a pair of sunglasses and a brimmed hat to help keep pollen out of their face.
Wash off: Washing your hands and face throughout the day can be helpful too. Do this when coming inside from being outdoors, when it feels like allergies are starting to act up, or after touching objects where dust and allergens gather. After being outside, leave shoes at the front door and consider changing into a clean pair of clothes and throwing the others in the wash. This can help reduce the spread of pollen.
Staying on top of cleaning and paying attention to the weather are great ways to be proactive when it comes to keeping allergies in check. While there really isn’t a way to completely prevent them, you can help your senior minimize the effects. An in-home caregiver can help with light cleaning around the home and laundry, and remind your loved one to cover up when going outside or help them check the weather for air quality. Always Best Care is committed to supporting seniors as they age in place and providing a variety of services to assist them along the way. Call (805) 470-2273 for a free consultation or to get started with setting up senior services for your loved one.