Spring is in the air – finally! But that also means allergy season is coming. As pollen fills the air, people afflicted by seasonal allergies are beginning to groan.
Like many millions of Americans, the elderly are not exempt from the stuffy noses and watery eyes that accompany allergies. However, seniors often have complicating factors such as chronic diseases that can make it even more difficult to deal with their allergies.
That said, here are a few tips on how family and caregivers can make allergy season bearable for their elderly loved ones.
Notice when allergies are there. Caregivers should be on the lookout for the traditional signs of allergies: sneezing, a runny nose, and itchy eyes. Allergies don’t discriminate between the young and the old. Many people falsely assume that the elderly do not get seasonal allergies, when, in fact, they are just as likely as anyone else to be affected when spring blooms begin to appear.
Work closely with a doctor. It can be difficult for a doctor to diagnose allergies in an older person, particularly when they’re focused on a senior’s larger health issues, but elderly people often have multiple chronic health problems, and it can be hard for a doctor to separate a potential allergy from an ongoing disease. Be sure to bring any concerns to your loved one’s doctor.
React quickly. Allergies in the elderly should be treated as rapidly and aggressively as possible because they can be extremely dangerous to a senior who has pre-existing cardiovascular problems.
Avoid traditional medications. Did you know that antihistamines, the class of drug most commonly prescribed to treat allergies, can be dangerous to seniors. The side effects of these medications include confusion, drowsiness, urinary retention, dry mouth, dizziness and so on. Antihistamines can also potentially cause changes in mood or behavior in the elderly and may lead to dangerous interactions with commonly prescribed medications. For the senior suffering from seasonal allergies, a doctor will likely prescribe a nasal steroid or some form of topical medication.
Discuss treatment options. There are several new treatments for allergies being developed specifically for the elderly. Ask your doctor for more information.
And always remember, Hopkinton Home Care is here to help.
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