The Challenges Posed to Seniors by Seasonal Allergies
Coping Tips from the Team at Our Skilled Nursing Facility
While dealing with other ailments or conditions, caregivers may sometimes fail to recognize symptoms of seasonal allergies in their elderly loved ones. The healthcare professionals at our skilled nursing facility in Rhode Island want you to be aware that allergies can develop at any age and have far reaching consequences for seniors. The effects of these allergies are especially visible in seniors who have respiratory conditions such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), as well as cardiovascular problems.
Incidence of allergies increases in spring and fall, as pollen production rises and is spread by the wind. The pollen which settles in a senior’s skin, nose and lungs can cause an allergic reaction. Allergies typically affect seniors more than others because reduced elasticity makes their nasal mucus membranes drier, thus increasing the risk of chronic nasal congestion. Other common nasal allergens include animal dander and dust mites.
Diagnosing seasonal allergies in seniors
- Look out for these symptoms: If your senior family member has the following symptoms, they may have a seasonal allergy:
- Stuffy or runny nose
- Watery or itchy eyes
- Dry cough
- Trouble sleeping
- Taste or smell changes
- Consult your doctor: It is important to bring these symptoms to the attention of your doctor. They may be difficult to diagnose if your senior is being treated for other ailments. Also, do not give your seniors any antihistamines, decongestants and nasal sprays without first checking with a doctor. Certain antihistamines have been known to trigger side effects in the elderly, including confusion, anxiety, dizziness, blurred vision, dry mouth and eyes, urinary retention, etc.
Tips to help your seniors cope with seasonal allergies
- Visit an allergist to determine the cause of the seasonal allergy as this will help with treatment.
- Take appropriate allergy medications recommended by a doctor or allergist.
- Take allergy shots if recommended by an allergist to slowly immunize yourself to allergies over time.
- Keep doors and windows closed (including in your car), and avoid taking them out when pollen counts are high.
- Stay away from areas with lots of grass, trees and foliage.
- Ensure they take a shower after coming in from outside and wash their hands after handling animals.
- Use a clothes dryer instead of an outdoor clothesline, as pollen tends to accumulate on damp clothes.
- Ensure they eat right. Foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids (such as almonds, fish and pumpkin) as well as probiotics found in many yogurts have been known to lower seasonal allergy symptoms.
Since 1973, The Holiday Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Manville, Rhode Island, has been caring for families like yours. Customized care plans ensure your elderly loved ones receive the attention they need. Well-planned dining menus and activities, constant supervision and the experienced care of our dedicated staff keep our residents healthy, happy and safe. You can trust our award-winning service to care for your loved ones like family.
Give us a call at 401-765-1440 for more information on how we deal with seasonal allergies at our skilled nursing facility and fill our online form to book a tour.