When spring hits, airborne pollen takes to the skies to cause watery eyes, dry throats, and general misery for people who are sensitive to allergens. But as irksome as allergy season is for people in the best of health, it can play an even more detrimental part in senior health. Seniors who suffer from allergies are just as affected by airborne dust, pollen, and other irritants that float freely during the spring. What’s more, many seniors aren’t able to get relief from traditional over-the-counter treatments, making it even more challenging to get the right help from their doctors or in-home care longwood nurses. That’s why it’s important for everyone to help out when it comes to protecting seniors from a bad attack of allergies. If you have a senior in your life who suffers from allergies or sensitivity to their environment, there’s a lot you can do to help protect your parent or elder stay out of harm’s way when allergy season hits. Here are just a few tips to help you keep your senior safe this spring.
1. Keep an Eye Out for Symptoms
The first step to fighting an allergic reaction is to pay attention to what’s triggering it. As seniors get older, they might not be able to tell common allergy symptoms from general aches, pains, dry mouths and runny eyes. While some signs of a reaction are clear and unmistakable, it can be difficult to actually figure out what’s causing what if you’re used to your body reacting in a painful way to different prescriptions, environments, and stimuli. That’s why it’s helpful for caretakers and children of senior parents to keep an eye out. Know what your senior looks like when everything is going okay, and how they act during an allergy attack. If you notice more sneezing or if they’re complaining of a dry throat, this should be a sign for you to take notice and get in touch with a medical professional so that the problem doesn’t get out of hand.
2. Tell a Doctor or Nurse
When it comes to seniors whose health is already fragile, even something as simple as a minor allergic reaction could have serious consequences. Don’t assume that a fit of sneezing will eventually pass or that allergies are going to simply come and go. Even if the symptoms you’re seeing aren’t related to an allergic reaction, they could still be a sign that something’s wrong. Informing a doctor, either someone working in a care facility or a live-in nurse is crucial for keeping on top of the problem and making sure it doesn’t develop into a more serious health hazard for your parent.
3. Don’t Reach for the Claritin
When we’re young and able-bodied, a fit of allergies might be tedious, but there’s nothing to stop us from reaching for the nearest antihistamine to calm down a bad reaction. Not so for seniors. Even during a violent attack, the effect of a traditional antihistamine like Benadryl or Claritin could end up being too abrasive for a senior’s system to handle. If your senior is already taking a cocktail of drugs daily, there’s also an increased chance of an over-the-counter medication clashing with a prescription drug to create a bad reaction. Even if this doesn’t happen, antihistamines come with a long list of side effects that can be worse than an allergic attack itself.
4. Don’t Waste Time
The phrase ‘see something, say something’ doesn’t just apply to the dangers of the outside world. When it comes to a senior in your life, sleeping on information can end up being fatal. As soon as you notice something ‘off’ about your aging parent’s behavior, it’s up to you to tell a doctor or to bring your parent to the ER. It doesn’t matter if it looks like a mild reaction or a simple cold symptom. For seniors with weakened immune systems, even a common cold can end up causing major complications. Besides that, you simply don’t want your parent to be in pain and suffering when there’s more you could do to get them help. If your senior is suffering, don’t take any chances.
5. Use Natural Remedies
While not everyone responds to certain natural or herbal remedies for allergies, it can still be a good idea to try out different supplements, herbs, and oils to lessen the pain of allergy symptoms. Even if they don’t work the way you expect them to, they won’t cause any harmful side effects like antihistamines, and they won’t interact with other drugs in a harmful way. Some good home remedies to try include diffused peppermint oil, tea with honey and lemon, and garlic supplements.