Achoo, achoo is a sound many of us are hearing coming from every room in our houses at this time of year!
Spring is sprouting everywhere all around us! The trees and shrubs are in bloom, the bulbs are opening up to the sky and the grass is turning green (not to mention the weeds) giving us a beautiful show but one with some aggravation if you or your senior loved one has seasonal allergies.
Pollen is in the air and causing many to suffer from their seasonal allergies also known as hay fever to the tune of 40 million people and a cost of $1 billion in treatment.
Hay Fever or Seasonal Allergies Symptoms
Many of you already know what the symptoms are, unfortunately because you or your senior loved one (and maybe both?) are feeling them taking hold. If you see these signs in your senior loved ones, it should lead you to find an answer to help you decide if you should be looking for ways to decrease the causes of allergies instead of just treating the symptoms.
- Stuffy, runny nose
- Watery eyes
- Itchy eyes
- Sleeping trouble
- Dry cough
- Taste or smell changes
Strategies to Reduce the Effect of Seasonal Allergies
Once your senior loved one and their doctor determine they indeed are suffering from seasonal allergies and hay fever, there are some things that you can do to help them reduce the things that are triggering their symptoms and help them feel better throughout the coming spring!
- Visit an allergist recommended by the doctor for testing to determine what in the atmosphere is causing the allergic reactions. Is it grass, ragweed, pollen, mold, or pet dander? Knowing sensitivities will help determine appropriate actions.
- Be aware of the pollen count in your area. Looking at the weather reports, reading the newspaper or checking the internet page of a local TV station or the Weather Channel for available daily readings will help decide when it is better to stay indoors in a climate controlled environment. If counts are high, it is best to avoid going outside even to get the mail. Knowing the mold count is also key if this is what triggers your symptoms.
- If you do go outdoors on days when there is pollen or mold detectable, upon returning home take a shower and put on fresh clothes. Wear sunglasses when outside to help keep the pollen out of your eyes.
- Do not open windows on days when the pollen count is high. This only allows the pollen to float inside on the air and cause constant symptoms. Pollen can also hang on to window screens so be sure to clean them off when the pollen count begins to lessen so that the residual pollen will not blow in once you start opening the windows again.
- Use the air conditioner to help filter the air, keeping filters clean by changing them regularly. You may want to invest in a HEPA style filter for your air conditioner, which will catch more particles, it will likely be worth the additional cost.
- Avoid mowing the grass, raking the leaves or other yard work that could trigger symptoms. Get someone else to do these tasks if possible. If these jobs must be done, be sure to wear a mask when performing them.
- Take allergy medication as prescribed by the doctor. If there is no available prescribed medication, ask the doctor if there are any over-the-counter seasonal allergy aides that can help in coping with the nagging symptoms.
- Some foods can help reduce certain allergy symptoms, such as clear hot broths that can clear nasal passages. Foods that are good sources of antioxidants and other nutrients can boost the immune system to help fight the effects of pollen.
- Check with the allergist to see if there are any viable allergy vaccinations or immunotherapy that can offer relief to you or your senior loved one.
Sometimes it can be difficult to determine if our symptoms are originating from a cold or seasonal allergies. It is important to determine which it truly is so that you can treat it properly to feel better and be able to carry out your daily activities.
Being a caregiver means it is vital to feel your best to do everything that you need to do each day. There is no argument that if your senior is feeling well, your job is easier.
We can’t stop the flowers from growing — and I hope they don’t — but we can treat our nose to keep it from running!
Enjoy your spring!