Spring is a beautiful time of year. Millions of Americans suffer from allergies this time of year, and the Elderly are not exempt from the stuffy noses and watery eyes that accompany allergies. But, unlike most of those millions, Seniors often have complicating factors such as chronic diseases that can make it difficult to deal with their allergies. Allergy season also presents other unique challenges, because the anti-histamines most of us use to help minimize the effects of allergies are not recommended for a large number of Seniors. This is because those medications can increase blood pressure, as well as interact with other medications they may be taking. There are ways, however, that you can help the Senior in your life safely survive allergy season.
There are ways, however, that you can help the Senior in your life safely survive allergy season.
- Get allergy tests. If you think that your loved one might be allergic to something in the environment, take him or her to the doctor to get an allergy scratch test. It’s a good idea to make a list of potential culprits, just in case the doctor doesn’t test for them. Once you’ve identified which allergens cause a reaction in your loved ones, take care to remove them from the home. This might include switching laundry detergents, finding a new home for a pet or doing a thorough cleaning to eliminate pollen and dust mites.
- Keep pollen and molds from entering the home as much as possible. Invest in an air conditioner and a dehumidifier to clean the air, and be sure to keep windows closed at night. It is sometimes difficult to convince a senior who may not be hot to use air conditioning. But keeping the windows closed helps to prevent pollens and molds from entering the house.
- Switch out furniture, carpets and bedding. If you suspect that these plush items are to blame, it’s a good idea to switch them out for newer versions with hypoallergenic materials.
- Take care of personal hygiene. Ensure that your loves ones wear sunglasses or glasses when outside to prevent allergens from entering their eyes. Showering and washing their hair before bed can also remove any allergens that have collected there throughout the day.
- Clean smarter. Get rid of toxic chemical cleaners with strong fumes in favor of greener options, and consider investing in a vacuum with the filtration necessary to remove allergens from multiple surfaces throughout the home.
- Keep track of pollen conditions. Most areas have a local pollen count to help those with allergies determine whether going outside is worth the risk. Keep your loved ones at home on these days and shut the windows.
- Use a clothes dryer when drying clothing. If you line dry your laundry, they can collect pollen, ragweed and other flying allergens.
- Wash your hands after being outdoors. And make sure to shower as soon as you come in from working or spending any significant amount of time outside. Throw the clothes you were wearing in to the laundry. That can help prevent pollen from being spread around your house.
- Many nutritionists believe that foods that help fight inflammation can help relieve some of the symptoms of allergies. Those include apples, walnuts, flax seed, ginger, leafy green vegetables and foods rich in vitamin C.
- Consider installing a Personal Emergency Response System in the home of your elderly loved one. This way if they do have an emergency, or trouble breathing, help is just a push of a button away.