As Springtime approaches, the change in weather and presence of pollen can cause seasonal allergies to affect much of the population. Allergies can develop at any age, and the presence of adult-onset allergies in the United States is increasing. Therefore, you cannot assume you are immune to seasonal allergies, even if you’ve never experienced them before.
Here are some ways that your senior loved one can manage their allergies this Spring:
- Monitor for signs of seasonal allergies. For the senior population, it is especially important to monitor for signs and symptoms of seasonal allergies. These can include runny nose, congestion, sneezing, and itchy and/or watery eyes. If you or your caregiver notice any of these symptoms call your doctor right away, as seasonal allergies can cause larger problems for seniors suffering from chronic issues such as heart disease or respiratory issues.
- Avoid antihistamines. Antihistamines can be dangerous to take for older adults due to their side effects which include dry mouth, dizziness, confusion, and urinary retention. This can ultimately lead to dehydration and increased risk of falls. Antihistamines also interact adversely with a number of other medications, such as antihypertensive medications. It’s therefore important to go to your doctor for recommended medications to help with seasonal allergies.
- Create a pollen-free environment. While it may be tempting to open the windows in the warmer weather, an open window can allow pollen into your home which will exacerbate your allergies. Opt for air-conditioning instead. Also, wash your hands and shower often, especially after coming inside to avoid the spread of pollen in your home. Try to change your clothes soon after being outdoors to minimize the circulation of pollen.
- Eat immune-boosting foods. Incorporate foods such as apples, strawberries, fatty fish, and yogurt into your diet. These foods help to boost your immune system and may help combat seasonal allergy symptoms.