Spring is a beautiful time of the year, unfortunately, the flowers and trees aren’t the only things blooming. Pollen producing plants, including ragweed are also making a return in the spring. For most people, spring allergies usually mean a runny nose, itchy eyes and scratchy throat, but for the elderly, especially those with a weak immune system or other health problems, allergies can be extremely serious. For example, the over-the-counter anti-histamines that many people commonly use to relieve their allergy symptoms can be dangerous for the elderly, because they may interact with other medications, aggravate existing health problems, such as pulmonary conditions and increase blood pressure. Here are a few tips to help keep elderly allergies under control this spring.
One of the most important ways to protect the elderly from seasonal allergies is to limit their exposure to pollen. Keep in mind that pollen can attach itself to anything, so make sure the inside of the house is frequently cleaned, air filters should be frequently changed, wash cloths and linens after use, especially after wearing clothes outside and be sure to vacuum the interior of vehicles frequently.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Research has shown that eating foods that are known to help inflammation may decrease the risk of some allergy symptoms. Some of the foods that should be encouraged include leafy greens, apples, oranges, walnuts, ginger, flax seed and any fruit and vegetable that is high in vitamin C and natural antibiotics.
Protect Skin & Eyes
When outside, make sure to wear sunglasses which can prevent allergens and irritants from getting in your eyes. If the pollen count is high, it’s best to avoid going outdoors, but if you must be outside, consider wearing a mask to prevent inhalation of allergens. Always wash your hands when coming in from outdoors and shower as soon as possible after being outdoors for long periods of time.
Know the Signs
It is important for individuals as well as elderly caregivers to be on the lookout for the common signs of allergies, such as itchy eyes, coughing, sneezing and a runny nose. Make sure their doctor is aware of the fact that you have allergies; caregivers should be made aware of all allergies their client has as well as what symptoms are typically experienced.
Elderly people should be treated as quick as possible when suffering with the symptoms of allergies, because of the larger impact the allergies can have on their health. Allergy symptoms can be dangerous for the elderly, especially those who have been diagnosed with existing health conditions, such as cardiovascular problems. It is important to avoid taking traditional antihistamines, especially if the elderly person is home alone and/or taking other medications.