As you walk around your independent living facility, enjoying the weather, watch out for allergens. Some people are affected by allergies worse than others, and those with a family history of allergies are at a higher risk of developing them. Allergies are a major concern in the senior health space, as symptoms can go from mild to life-threatening.
Our immune system reacts to an allergen by producing antibodies to attack it. Your body will respond with sneezing, itchy eyes, and runny nose. If you have these symptoms, see a doctor for treatment as quickly as possible. Your doctor will most likely prescribe allergy medication or a nasal spray. There are also allergy medications sold over the counter – however, please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist what other medication are you taking.
Allergies can affect anyone, regardless of age. It is quite common for someone who has never suffered from allergies before to start having allergies, or for allergies to recur after many years of remission. Hormones, stress, smoke, perfume or environmental irritants may also play a role in the development or severity of allergies
Ways to avoid or minimize allergies:
- Wear sunglasses every day, whether it is sunny or not, to prevent floating pollen from landing in your eyes. Sunglasses also minimize ultraviolet exposure.
- Wash your face as soon as you wake up, and wash your hands often.
- Manage your stress level. Stress lowers your immune system and makes you more susceptible to allergies. Try listening to relaxing music, stretching or meditating.
- Watch your weight. Being overweight makes breathing more difficult, and aggravates the situation during an allergy attack.
- Consider getting an air purifier, making sure that you change the filters regularly.
- Change the air conditioning filters every three months.
- Keep the windows and door closed to keep allergens out.
- Wash bedding in hot water once a week.
- Keep your pets out of the bedroom.
- Check the pollen count before going outside. If you must go outside on a day with high pollen count, consider wearing a mask, and wash your clothes as soon as you return home.
- Avoid clutter in your home – it attracts dust. Get rid of knick-knacks, old magazines or any other useless items and clean everything thoroughly.
- Install a fan in your bathroom to reduce moisture which can cause mold.