Spring allergies run rampant in the St. Louis area.
St. Louis has fallen from the #1 city in the U.S. for allergies and asthma to #35, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Yet, for those who suffer from spring allergies, St. Louis can be a tough place to live. Over 30% of adults in St. Louis suffer from spring allergies. And the elderly are not excluded from the stuffy noses and uncomfortable itchy eyes that allergies bring on. In addition, seniors often have additional issues that they are dealing with which can make it troublesome to diagnose and work with their allergies. Here are some suggestions from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Allergic Diseases:
- Be Aware. Caregivers should be looking for the typical signs of allergies in their seniors – runny nose, itchy/watery eyes and sneezing. Seniors are just as likely as the rest of the population to suffer from seasonal allergies.
- Be Overly Aggressive. Allergies can have a greater effect on the health of a senior as they often have pre-existing conditions which can make it more dangerous. If you notice allergy symptoms, don’t wait to seek treatment.
- Bring it Up to Your Seniors’ Doctor. Physicians who treat seniors are typically more focused on multiple chronic health issues that may exist in an elderly person – so he or she may not be focusing on a potential allergy. If you notice allergy symptoms, mention it to the doctor of your loved one.
- Seek Professional Help. While you may be tempted to treat a senior’s allergies with traditional antihistamines, these drugs can be dangerous to seniors. They may interact with other prescribed medications or may cause serious mood alterations. A doctor may prefer to treat a senior’s allergies with a topical medication or steroid.
There are also a host of small steps you can take to minimize suffering from spring allergies. Try to avoid open windows during high pollen count/allergy season, even if this means turning on the air conditioning more often. Encourage your senior to shower each night and to wash his/her hands more than usual. Have your senior wear sunglasses when outside, to minimize irritants from getting in his/her eyes. Finally, keep an eye on pollen levels and avoid outdoor activities when the pollen count is high.
Enjoy the spring!