How to help with seasonal allergies and limited exposure for the elderly
At DayBreak Adult Care Services, our goal is to improve the quality of life for our clients by providing compassionate, dependable and reliable assistance, especially through in-home care. We take senior citizen health seriously, which is why we help our clients deal with season allergies.
This time of year (late spring into summer), insect bites and stings, pollen and outdoor allergens such as grass are the main triggers of season allergies. Although allergies usually are a minor annoyance for most people, cured with allergy pills or shots, seniors are likely to experience a change in the way their bodies handle allergens. Elderly immune systems mean increased susceptibility to infection and a reduced response to vaccinations. A senior’s body is at a disadvantage in protecting itself against allergens such as pollen, insect stings and grass.
It is very important to diagnose allergies in the elderly, because overlooking the signs can heighten the risk of stroke. There are several symptoms associated with affliction by seasonal allergies, including:
- Itchy sinuses, throat or ear canals
- Stuffy or postnasal drainage
- Watery eyes
- Aches and pain
- Sleep disturbance
- Fatigue and weakness
- Dark circles under your eyes
As caregivers, we can prevent symptoms of season allergies, especially since some symptoms can lead to more serious illnesses, including ear infections, upper respiratory infections and sinus infections.
It is important to note that seniors should avoid traditional antihistamines. Antihistamines commonly prescribed to treat allergies can be dangerous to senior citizen health. Potential side effects include urinary retention, drowsiness, confusion, dizziness and dry mouth and eyes.
The following tips can help get you through allergy season:
Keep an eye on pollen levels. Check Pollen.com, the Weather Channel and other sources to plan outings for days when pollen counts are projected to be lowest.
Nutrition. Some foods are known to fight inflammation, which can reduce some allergy symptoms. Try: ginger, leafy greens, walnuts, apples and anything high in Vitamin C.
Protective clothing. Sunglasses and hats when you are outside can prevent pollen and other seasonal irritants from getting into your eyes and hair.
Use air conditioning. Keeping the windows closed help prevent pollens and molds from entering the house.
Take a hot shower. This can open up the nasal passage, which help you breathe more comfortably. Adding effervescent vapor tablets to the shower often help.
Wash your hands after being outdoors. Caregivers and seniors should wash hands and shower immediately after spending time outside.
Know the triggers. Learn what triggers your senior’s allergies and avoid those triggers.
Use an air purifier. A high-quality air purifier can limit seniors’ exposure to allergens.
Dust and vacuum. Proper cleaning of the home is particularly important in terms of staving off allergies therefore dusting and vacuuming should be done daily and when your loved senior isn’t around to ensure they are not exposed to what is floating in the air.
Get a good night’s sleep. When your body is under attack, it needs all the recovery time it can get.
Decongestants. Decongestants are used to reduce nasal swelling, which in turn relieves congestion. The most commonly used agent is pseudoephedrine.
Seniors do not have to suffer with seasonal allergies. A family physician can treat infrequent allergies, but long-lasting, debilitating symptoms might require a trip to an allergy specialist.
The experienced, compassionate, DayBreak caregivers are highly trained and well equipped to help the seniors in their care deal with season allergies. Contact us today to find out more about how we can help improve the quality of life of seniors in their own homes.