Seniors are no more prone to suffering from seasonal allergies than other groups in the population. An aging immune system and other serious health problems that older adults may have can leave them more susceptible to complications during the active spring season. Identifying reactions and treating them aggressively is key to helping elderly individuals avoid serious problems and discomfort.
When seniors have major illnesses such as cardiovascular disease or diabetes, the symptoms of seasonal allergies may be easily missed. If you provide home care for an aging parent or loved one and suspect he or she has a reaction to pollen or other substances, schedule an appointment with his or her physician as soon as possible.
Younger adults often treat themselves for hay fever by self-medicating and using over-the-counter remedies from their local pharmacies. Seniors, especially those with pre-existing conditions, should not try to treat their symptoms on their own. Many older adults have untoward reactions to antihistamines that include:
- Urinary retention
- Unusual drowsiness
- Dry mucus membranes
Both traditional medications and herbal remedies should not be taken without a physician’s approval because they could seriously interfere with other drugs that a senior is taking. Accompany your loved one to his or her appointment or seek help from a professional caregiver to ensure that the proper symptoms are being shared for optimal treatment.
The potential for adverse drug interactions in older adults who need allergy medication is proportionate to the number of medications that they are taking. Avoiding antihistamines that cause drowsiness and treating symptoms with nasal steroids and topical creams are safer approaches to managing reactions.
Elderly individuals who have hay fever should monitor daily pollen counts and avoid going outdoors if at all possible on days when levels are high. Air conditioning should be used indoors and while traveling in the car, and central air filters will need to be changed frequently. Avoiding bananas and cruciferous vegetables such as melons and cucumbers can also help keep allergy symptoms at bay.
For more information about senior health or caring for an aging loved one, reach out to Home Care Assistance of Albuquerque today. Our experienced and compassionate caregivers are highly trained, allowing them to provide high quality live-in and hourly home care in Albuquerque and surrounding communities. Request your free, no-obligation consultation with a friendly Care Manager by calling us at 505-798-0800.