After a long winter, most older adults are glad to see spring make its return. Warmer, sunnier days can boost the spirit and leave most people feeling a sense of renewal. Trees begin to turn green, tulips and daffodils make their return, and snow boots get packed away for next year.
Unfortunately, tulips and daffodils aren’t the only things that make their return in the spring. Pollen-producing plants also bloom. For seniors who have allergies, itchy eyes, a fever, and a stuffy nose often result. Cardiac and pulmonary conditions can also worsen as the pollen count rises.
Spring allergy season can be difficult for seniors to safely navigate. Physicians often discourage older adults from taking over-the-counter medications known to reduce the uncomfortable symptoms caused by allergies. That is because many of these medications increase blood pressure or interfere with prescription medications.
What can you do to help a senior loved one safely survive spring allergy season?
We have a few tips you might find helpful.
1) Monitor pollen count.
Encourage the older allergy sufferer in your life to stay indoors when the pollen count is high. In addition to your local news, The Weather Channel and Pollen.com are resources you can turn to for an accurate pollen forecast. Sign up to receive text alerts with local pollen counts.
2) Purchase an air purifier.
Investing in an air purification system for the senior’s home is another option. They help to eliminate dust, pollen, pet dander, and mold from the house.
3) Use air conditioning.
Budget-conscious seniors might not want to run their air conditioning very often. During peak allergy season, however, keeping windows closed and the air conditioning on is one of the best ways to prevent allergens and molds from entering the house.
4) Dry clothing and linens indoors.
While hanging clothing and linens outside to dry might leave them smelling fresh, it also allows pollen to accumulate. Use the dryer or hang things indoors to dry when allergy season is at its worst.
5) Cover up outdoors.
It may be tempting to wear short-sleeved tops and shorts when working in the garden, but it’s actually better for allergy sufferers to wear a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, sunglasses, and a hat. These all help keep you from getting pollen and mold in your eyes and on your hair and skin. Remove it all in the laundry room or garage before you enter the house. Leave it there until you are ready to do a load of laundry.
One final tip is to consult your primary care physician if allergy symptoms persist. They can explore other treatment options that might bring relief without elevating your blood pressure.