Millions of Americans, including the elderly suffer with allergies but the seniors often have complicating factors that make it even harder to deal with. There are ways that senior care can help to make allergy season bearable.
An allergen is anything that causes an allergic reaction. There are dozens of allergens, pollen, molds, dust, pets, and cigarette smoke to name a few. Allergens cause a release of histamine. This release dilates the blood vessels in and around the nose speeding up the arrival of germ-fighting cells to areas that are infected.
Some people falsely assume that the elderly do not get affected by seasonal allergies. However, they are troublesome for seniors just as with anyone else. With spring in bloom and pollen filling the air, senior care services should be on the lookout for the traditional signs of allergies that include sneezing, a runny nose, and itchy eyes.
Inform the doctor if you suspect seasonal allergies of playing a part in aggravating a senior’s condition. Doctors are usually focusing on larger health issues in the elderly. Due to multiple chronic health problems, it is more difficult for doctors to separate allergies from an ongoing disease. Therefore, it is important for the caregiver to contact the doctor with any concerns.
The most common type of drug used to treat allergies is antihistamines but this can be dangerous to seniors. Side effects of these drugs include drowsiness, dry mouth, dizziness, confusion, and urinary retention. Changes in mood or behavior could result from using antihistamines to treat allergies in the elderly. Instead, doctors will usually prescribe a nasal steroid or topical medication for treatment.
Some other senior care tips to consider when caring for an elder with allergies:
- When going for walks as part of an exercise routine, consider going to the mall instead of walking outdoors.
- Be aware of the pollen count and avoid outdoor activities on days when it is high.
- Avoid grassy areas, especially those that were just freshly cut.
- Keep windows closed at night to prevent pollens or molds from coming into your home.
- When traveling by car, keep the windows up.
- Pollen counts are much lower at the beach versus the mountains.
- Pollen and mold can attach itself to articles drying on the clothesline. Use the dryer.
Senior care for a loved one with allergies is going to require making some adjustments to daily routines and activities. Consult the doctor for the best way to combat allergies with medication.
For more information about senior care in University City MO, contact Senior Services Unlimited. We are an elder care agency providing affordable and respectful home care to couples, veterans, and the disabled. call (314) 646-8131.
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