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9 Ways to Combat Summer Allergies

Allergic Rhinitis is a chronic disorder caused by an allergic reaction to substances such as pollen, dust mites, and pet hair. Allergies like hay fever are often underestimated as their symptoms are similar to that of the common cold. Still, it profoundly affects the quality of life of those impacted. 

Some caregivers assume that seniors do not get seasonal allergies, but this is not true. People of all ages can experience seasonal allergies. Also, don't assume that because someone had never had seasonal allergies in the past that they won't get them. Adults can develop allergies even into their golden years. 

To help combat the symptoms of these allergies, try the following tips!

Beat Summer Allergies!

  1. Learn Allergy Symptoms 

    For some people, allergy symptoms improve or disappear as their bodies stop recognizing the pollen that enters their systems as a threat. For others, their allergy symptoms can remain unchanged or even worsen. 

    Learning what seasonal allergy symptoms look like is critical to managing them for yourself or your loved ones. The main symptoms include:

    • Sneezing

    • Runny nose

    • Red, watery, and itchy eyes

    • Headache

    • Coughing

    • Congestion

    These symptoms may seem harmless enough, but they can cause extreme discomfort and complicate the treatment of other conditions. Seniors living with dementia may be unable to communicate their discomfort, so you should always know the signs. 

  2. Take Your Doctor's Advice

    If you feel that allergy symptoms are becoming severe, do not hesitate to consult your doctor. The doctor should fully know the patient's medical history, other simultaneous conditions, and suitable treatments. Hay fever symptoms are harder to deal with at older ages as a sudden bout of coughing may cause difficulty breathing, for example. Therefore, always ask your doctor how to manage the problem. 

  3. Close the Windows

    After a winter of keeping windows shut against the cold, you might be tempted to open them and let the fresh air in. But, if you or your family suffered from allergies, resist that urge. Fresh air can activate allergies to pollen and other things that can get into the home. 

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  4. Use Air Conditioning

    Use an air conditioner instead of an open window to reduce pollen, mold, and allergens from coming in during warmer months. This is also applicable in the care. Air conditioning cools the air inside in a cycle, so it doesn't need to pull outside air in. 

  5. Wear the Right Clothes When You're Outside

    Sometimes, staying inside is a tall order when the weather is beautiful. Getting fresh air, sun, and exercise is a good idea for people of all ages. When you do go outside, be sure you're wearing clothing that can help you keep the pollen at bay. Sunglasses are a must to help prevent pollen from getting in your eyes and irritating them. A hat, headscarf, or bandana keeps irritants out of your hair that can fall into your eyes and nose later, and long sleeves and pants allow for easy cleaning when you return indoors.

    Even with proper attire, avoiding the outdoors during times when pollen levels are high is always going to be more effective than covering up. However, if you can't plan around it, be sure you're protecting yourself when you go outside. 

  6. Don't Delay Treatment

    Pollen allergy symptoms like nasal congestion and cough worsen in older adults who are already suffering from lung issues or cardiovascular diseases. So, look for a way to relieve the symptoms of allergies as early as possible.

    At-home relief methods include inhaling steam up to twice a day. Depending on the severity, you can try solutions like nasal sprays to help clear the nasal passage of allergens and improve breathing. A fexofenadine tablet may also help ease runny nose and sneezing symptoms. 

  7. Avoid High Pollen Days

    floating pollenThe amount of pollen in the air varies from day to day, and even hour to hour, so plan your time outdoors to avoid especially high pollen counts. Many weather services report on the pollen count during the weather forecast in spring. If it's not broadcast, you can always find it online.

    If you're not near a television, computer, or smartphone, there are some basic guidelines for how high you can expect the pollen count to be. Expect high pollen if the weather is warm and dry, or dry and windy. The pollen count is usually highest from 5 AM to 10 AM every day and then falls as the day goes on. The best time for people with spring allergies to be outside is after heavy rainfall when pollen is stuck to the ground by moisture. By staying indoors and minimizing your exposure to pollen, you can keep your symptoms manageable. 

  8. Eat Immune-Boosting Foods

    Foods that boost your immune system can help you manage your seasonal allergy symptoms. Still, none have been proven as a tried-and-true treatment for allergies. Try some of these foods in your diet and see what works for you:

    • Apples

      Apples, as well as berries, garlic, onions, cabbage, and cauliflower contain quercetin, a bioflavonoid that can help prevent your body's immune cells from releasing histamines, which causes allergy symptoms. 

    • Strawberries

      The Vitamin C combined with the quercetin in strawberries make these sweet fruits a powerful immune booster that also suppresses histamines. 

    • Fatty Fish

      Omega-3 fatty acids are a great way to reduce inflammation, and therefore help keep allergic reactions from causing too much damage. Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, trout, and mackerel are delicious sources of omega-3, which is also great for your heart health and memory

    • Yogurt

      Probiotics, such as the live bacteria found in yogurt, kefir, and fermented vegetables like sauerkraut and kimchi, are healthy for your digestive system and your immune system. Use caution, however, as dairy and the natural histamines in fermented foods could make your symptoms worse. 

  9. Keep Your Home Pollen-Free

    It's close to impossible to keep all allergens out of your home, especially if you're always coming and going, but there are several strategies to keep your home as pollen-free as possible. 

    First, avoid opening windows, even though it may be tempting. If you get too warm, use fans or ideally, your air conditioner, as it can help remove pollen that may have gotten into your home. Second, wash your hands and shower often, especially when you come inside after being exposed to high pollenlevels. Pollen on your skin and hair can easily fall off and circulate throughout your house. Third, after being outdoors, change your clothes immediately and put the clothes that have been exposed to pollen in the washing machine. This isolates all irritants, and the wash cycle will get rid of them so your clothes are ready for the next wear. 

Let us know in the comments below - how do you combat seasonal allergies? 
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