Karen McPhail, RN, MSN
Spring Allergies, Asthma, and Pollen
The temperatures are warmer, the flowers are popping up everywhere, and the sun is finally shining a little brighter! Truly terrific unless of course you have seasonal allergies!
Allergies and asthma can begin and develop into a problem at any age! Many of us suffer year after year, as I do! Proper management is truly important to avoid long term respiratory issues.
High pollen levels can negatively effect the respiratory system and are more likely to cause health issues for seniors. Allergies can be extremely dangerous for seniors, especially those with cardiovascular issues. It is best to contact your doctor immediately for treatment if allergy symptoms persist such as runny nose, itchy, swollen, or watery eyes, chronically needing to clear your throat, hoarseness, post nasal drip, cough, skin rashes, etc. Your physician can advise on treatments, sometimes other than antihistamines, as these may not be appropriate due to the potential side effects that may occur for older adults. Allergies need to controlled properly as left unattended they can lead to chronic pulmonary problems!
Enjoy the spring and summer in a safe way by following these simple tips:
1. Monitor the weather and stay inside on high pollen days! If allergic to grass and weeds avoid extensive exposure. Stay inside if the grass is being cut and arrange for assistance in the garden.
2. Keep your air conditioning on and doors and windows closed! If you do not have air conditioning seek it out during the day at the library, shopping malls, restaurants, etc!
3. Keep it clean! Clean your sheets, floors, furniture, and clothing often. Do not hang laundry outside to dry as this will collect pollen and other allergens! Shower at the end of each day to get any allergens off of your body before bed! Hand washing is important! Wash your hands and face often, especially after being outside.
4. Protect yourself while out and about! Remember that the highest levels of allergens are in the early am. Try to plan outings after 10 am when possible to avoid peak levels! Wear a dust and pollen mask and sunglasses if high pollen levels and needing to be outdoors. Keep your skin in good condition as excessive dryness can make allergies and rashes worse and even lead to infection.
Play it safe and stay healthy!!!