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Avoid sneezing through wonderful season

Senior Moments

POSTED: March 12, 2017 6:30 a.m.
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Rich DeLong is executive director of Station Exchange Senior Care.

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In the great 1960’s TV series "Batman," our star super-hero surprises the Joker and says, "No use, Joker! I knew you’d employ your sneezing powder, so I took an anti-allergy pill! Instead of a sneeze, I’ve caught you, cold!"

Even the Joker knew about the weaponization of pollen back then. Just a thought, but if we really want to get back at Russia we should just bottle all this yellow stuff up and ship it overseas. I can hear Robin now; "Holy gesundheit, Batman, what will you think of next?"

Yes, spring has sprung early this year and once again we are faced with the challenges of trying to breathe easy. While spring is great for enjoying warmer weather and watching the azaleas bloom, it’s not such a grand old time for seniors who have issues with allergies.

Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can help your loved ones cope with their symptoms and avoid making the problem worse. Here are a few suggestions for the "sneezin’ season."

Keep pollen and molds from entering the home as much as possible. Make sure your air conditioner has been serviced and the filter is clean. You can also purchase a dehumidifier to help clean the air; and be sure to keep your windows closed. The air might feel good but the pollen will sneak in too.

It may be difficult for doctors to diagnose allergies in an older person, particularly when they’re focused on a senior’s larger health issues. However, allergies do have a large impact on the lives and health of the elderly, so treatment should be rapid and as aggressive as possible.

Antihistamines, the class of drug most commonly prescribed to treat allergies, can have potential side effects which include: confusion, drowsiness, urinary retention, dry mouth and eyes, and dizziness. Interactions with commonly prescribed medications can also be a concern. For the senior suffering from seasonal allergies, a doctor is more likely to prescribe a nasal steroid or some form of topical medication.

If you can identify which allergens cause a reaction for your loved one, take care to remove them from the home. This might include switching laundry detergents, controlling pet dander and performing a thorough cleaning to eliminate pollen and dust mites.

That old chair that dad has might have to go. Switch out furniture, carpets and bedding if you suspect that these items might be a home to allergens. And the good news is many furniture goods are now made with hypoallergenic materials.

Wear sunglasses or glasses when outside to prevent allergens from entering the eyes. Showering and washing hair before bed can also remove any allergens that have collected on the body throughout the day.

When cleaning, use chemicals that are eco-friendly and have few fumes; and consider investing in a vacuum with a filtration system that removes allergens from multiple surfaces throughout the home.

Use a clothes dryer when drying clothing versus outside line-drying. And keep track of pollen conditions. Most areas have a local pollen count to help those with allergies determine whether going outside is worth the risk. Remember, you can always exercise indoors until the air becomes clearer.

The pollen forecast for the rest of this week is very high. You may want to plan a movie marathon for this weekend and for right now, stay inside my friends!

Contact him at 912-531-7867 or email him at: SeniorMomentsWithRich@gmail.com

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