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Managing Allergies: How Seniors Can Manage Various Allergies and Stay Safe

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Managing Allergies: How Seniors Can Manage Various Allergies and Stay Safe

Spring is on the horizon, and hay fever can start early here in Kansas City, especially when the oak trees begin blooming. However, before we put the blame for our misery solely on the budding flowers and trees, there are many other factors we need to take into consideration.

Frequent rains raise mold counts, and dust and pet-dander allergies are year-round problems. Smoke from tobacco and fires, perfumes and chemicals often cause symptoms to flare up though they are officially classified as an irritant not an allergy.

While the list of problems may seem long, there are just as many simple steps seniors can take to manage various allergies and stay safe.

Air Purifiers

Though the available options for air purifiers can be overwhelming, a true HEPA-filter device can eliminate many of the airborne pollutants in your assisted living apartment. The most important things to consider when selecting a unit is that it's properly sized to the space and that it doesn't produce ozone emissions byproducts which worsen respiratory ailments.

A Clean Bed

The human body is designed to heal itself during sleep. This makes the choice of bedding one of the easiest and best ways to improve health. Combat morning sniffles by using the laundry services provided here in the Gardens at Barry Road to frequently wash bedding, and invest in pillow and mattress covers to ward off dust mites.

Soap and Water

Sunlight and fresh air provide a host of benefits for overall physical and emotional health, but venturing outside during pollen season means that allergens follow us back indoors. Reduce your long-term exposure by washing your face and hands, and consider changing clothes or adjusting bathing routines to before bed or after a daily walk.

Steam and Nasal Rinses

Breathing steam or applying warm compresses to your face can help relieve sinus pressure and pain. Nasal irrigation is another solution for reducing symptoms. This technique rinses away allergies and congestion and eases inflammation.

Over-the-Counter Medications

The pharmacy is the starting place for many people when it comes to allergies; however, it can be wiser for seniors to consider it last. Many antihistamines and decongestants can cause dangerous interactions with prescriptions or cause side effects such as drowsiness, confusion and dizziness which increase fall risks. If lifestyle changes aren't enough to relieve symptoms, consult your doctor about treatment options tailored to you.

Skin Allergies

Sneezing often takes center stage in discussions about allergies, but if skin irritation and rashes are causing discomfort, try making a few changes. Choose shampoos, soaps and lotions designed for sensitive skin, and consider switching to fragrance-free options because many skin allergies are triggered by perfumes.

If you develop a sudden rash, check for changes such as a new watch made of nickel or a different brand of sunscreen, and always talk with your doctor and caregivers about continuing symptoms.

Food Allergies

Food allergies can develop in adults as they age and their immune system wears down. Though severe reactions can be frightening, you aren't alone in managing them. Speak with your doctor if eating a specific food makes you feel unwell, and if you're diagnosed with an allergy, ask the dining staff and caregivers around Barry Road to help you avoid these foods in the future.

If memory issues make selecting meals and snacks difficult, carry a reference list of safe choices that you enjoy. Don't be afraid to ask for help reading labels, and be sure to check gifts from well-meaning friends and family who may not know or have forgotten about your allergies.

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