Allergy Proof Your Senior's Home

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We tend to think we are more susceptible to allergies outside, but in fact the EPA estimates that indoor air can be up to five times more polluted than what's outside, thanks to dust, cigarette smoke, pet dander and more. And it can contribute to all kinds of health troubles, such as a chronic stuffy nose, sore throat, and even heart disease and stroke – particularly for someone who may already have cardiovascular problems – according to the American Heart Association.

Below are some tips to help your senior loved one cope with allergies:

• Doctors who treat seniors tend to focus on their more pressing health problems so they might not diagnose allergies. Watch for the signs that your senior might have allergies and take immediate action to get the allergies diagnosed and treated.

• Most allergy treatments are antihistamines and they can be extremely dangerous for seniors, potentially causing confusion, drowsiness, urinary retention, dry mouth and eyes, dizziness, changes in behavior and harmful drug interaction with other medications. For seniors, doctors typically prescribe a nasal steroid or topical medication.

• Seniors who have been outside should bathe or be bathed afterward, and their clothes laundered, so they don’t transfer any pollen they’ve collected on their skin onto their bedding.

• Use a damp rag to capture dust rather than a dry rag which will spread it.

• Choose natural cleaning products to avoid chemicals that may cause or exacerbate allergy-like symptoms.

• Seniors suffering from allergies always should wear a mask when dusting or cleaning dusty places. Better yet, they should have someone dust for them.

• Seniors should live in a household with a high quality vacuum with a HEPA filter. Unlike regular vacuum cleaners, ones with HEPA filters trap dust and particles rather than redistribute them into the air.

• Pay particular attention to bedrooms where seniors spend a lot of their time. At least once a week, wipe down bed frames and headboards as well as any other furniture or knick knacks in the room with a damp cloth.

• Mattress and pillow encasements will help control dust mites but you should also launder bedding in hot water every week to kill the little critters.

• Stuffed animals, drapes and throw pillows are all major dust mite magnets, too. Wash pillows and stuffed animals (toss them in a pillow case and tie it closed) at least once a month and vacuum draperies weekly.

Please call 480-827-4343 for more information on helping seniors combat allergies.



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