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Allergy Season Tips for Seniors

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We’ve all heard the saying “April showers bring May flowers” but what the fun phrase fails to mention is all of the allergies that those May flowers can bring! Keep reading to learn some great allergy season tips for seniors.

While seasonal allergies are considered par for many folks, seniors with allergies need to take them a bit more seriously. The reason for this is because there are seniors who take medications that can affect how environmental factors affect their health. To ensure our residents feel ready for spring, we’ve compiled our top tips to get through May sans the sniffles and itchy eyes allergies can bring.

Know what to avoid:

It is certainly possible to get through the spring and minimize exposure to allergens. For example, many of us enjoy bringing fresh, seasonal flowers into our homes this time of year. While they do look lovely, those flowers can potentially make seniors feel pretty crummy! Residents should avoid bringing in allergen-heavy florals such as daisies, baby’s breath, sunflowers, dahlias, and marigolds. However, the good news is many fan-favorites get the thumbs up as hypoallergenic, like tulips pansies, roses, daffodils, petunias, and lilies. Recommended in a former post, we provided guidelines that would be wise to keep in mind if you are planning to start a garden.

Set yourself up for success:

There are some great ways to prepare your living space for allergy season! Healthline suggests getting an air filter noting “High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters are one type of air filter to consider. By trapping airborne irritants such as pollen, dust, and pet dander, HEPA filters reduce allergens in your home.”

There are also a few essential oils Healthline recommends keeping on hand to fight off allergies. Peppermint Oil has been proven to have anti-inflammatory benefits when diffused into the air, or applied topically. Similarly, “Advocates of natural healing suggest using eucalyptus oil as an antimicrobial agent by adding it to each load of wash during allergy season.”

Not all treatments are created equal:

Many of us may blow off treating allergies when we start feeling a little under the weather, but seniors should do the opposite and seek more immediate treatment. Most common allergy-fighting medications utilize either of two active ingredients, Chlorpheniramine or Diphenhydramine, but unfortunately, according to experts like Professor Judith Beizer, PharmD neither is recommended for use by older folks. “Chlorpheniramine and diphenhydramine belong to a class of drugs called anticholinergics. They block the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which helps control learning, memory, and muscle contractions. As we age, our brain’s ability to use acetylcholine declines, so reducing it further with these drugs can cause trouble.” Beizer notes that our body’s ability to process and utilize acetylcholine declines as we age, so seniors need to be careful to choose the appropriate treatments or they may face additional unpleasant symptoms.

Many of our residents regard spring as their favorite season, and we can’t help but agree: the warmer days and blooming gardens put a smile on our faces as well. Now that you are equipped with these allergy season tips for seniors, we hope residents and friends alike feel ready to enjoy spring!