The days are warmer, flowers are blooming, and birds are everywhere – those are some of the signs that spring is underway. Most of us are glad it’s here, but for the approximately 40-million people who suffer from seasonal allergies, spring can bring a lot of headaches. And watery eyes. And stuffy noses.
Like many millions of Americans, the elderly are not exempt from seasonal allergies. Allergies can impact an older person more severely since they may also be dealing with a chronic illness. Allergy medications and certain chronic conditions don’t mix.
For example, antihistamines, which many people take to minimize the effects of allergies, can increase blood pressure. Cardiac and pulmonary conditions can also be aggravated by pollen. Knowing the triggers and a few simple tricks can help seniors survive allergy season.
Keep track of the pollen count; it is often included in the television weather reports. Stay indoors when it is high. On other days, plan activities for the afternoon when pollen counts are lower.
Other steps to keep pollen at bay:
Close doors and windows.
Check the filters on the air conditioner.
Keep the grass cut short.
Wear a surgical mask when working in the yard.
Brush the pollen off clothes, or change when coming inside.
Shower right after outdoor activities.
Mold also triggers allergies. It’s both outside on rotting logs and wet leaves, and inside in damp places like the shower or basement, and in the soil of houseplants. To help keep it from forming, use a dehumidifier in the house and be sure to run the fan after taking a shower.
Dust and pet dander are other common allergens. Frequent house cleanings will help reduce the problem, as will having someone wash and brush your pet.
If your older loved one’s allergies are particularly bad talk, talk with their doctor. They can recommend the right course of action to help control their symptoms and allow them to enjoy the beautiful spring weather.