Spring brings a bounty of beauty, from green grass to flowering trees to beautiful blooms. With that beauty, however, comes misery for some people in the form of spring allergies.
For many seniors, the typical springtime remedy — some form of antihistamine — is not recommended due to health effects that can include medication interactions and increased blood pressure. But pollen and other spring allergens can negatively impact some existing medical conditions as well.
To stay healthy and comfortable as you enjoy the parade of alluring spring colors and delightful scents, here is important information about allergy season and steps for coping with the negative effects.
What Causes Spring Allergies?
If you find yourself suffering with itchy eyes, a runny nose, sneezing, coughing, headache and other unpleasant symptoms, you may wonder what exactly is causing your problems. Tiny, lightweight grains of pollen carried for 100 miles or more by the wind can stir up the most trouble for allergy sufferers.
Windy days typically are the worst for those who react to the spring pollen from grasses, trees and weeds. Some people with allergies react to only one type of pollen, while others may react to two or all three. Spring is one of the worst times for allergies since all three major types of pollen often coexist.
Steps for Tolerating Allergy Season
No matter how much spring pollen affects you, there are steps you can take to lessen your suffering and enjoy the season, experts say:
- Consider allergy testing. To effectively fight your allergies, you need to know exactly what is triggering you. If you believe you or your family member are reacting to some type of plant pollen or something else in your environment — like mold or dust — talk to your doctor about getting a referral to an allergist for testing.
- Once you know which allergens cause problems, you can take steps to avoid them and remove them from your home. If you’re reacting to pollen, you may need to limit access to your bedroom by pets — who bring pollen inside — remove clothing and shower when you enter your home, and clean your home more often to keep pollen at bay.
- Make sure you have good systems in place to keep the air clean. Air conditioning, dehumidifiers and air filtration systems can significantly reduce the pollen you breathe on a daily basis.
- Talk to your doctor before taking any antihistamines or other allergy medicines, which can cause serious side effects.
- If you experience severe allergic reactions, consider getting a medical alert system that you can use to summon help in an emergency.
Stay Well in the Spring
Some people incorrectly assume that only the young suffer from seasonal allergies and that most people “grow out” of them. However, spring pollen affects many seniors and can cause serious medical problems if not treated properly.
To deal with your spring allergies, try to reduce your exposure as much as possible, keep your environment clean, and work with your doctor to find a treatment that works for you.