Helping Your Parent Survive Allergy Season

Elder Care in Greece NY

Elder Care in Greece NYSeasonal allergies can be a real headache—literally and figuratively—for anyone who suffers from them. But they can be especially problematic for the elderly. Just how many of the nation’s senior citizens suffer from allergies? The U.S. Centers for Disease Control says that more than seven million Americans 65 years of age and older suffer with allergies—also known as hay fever or allergic rhinitis.

One of the biggest problems for seniors during allergy season is pollen. Not only does pollen cause itchy, scratchy eyes, coughing, sneezing and the sniffles for those affected, but for seniors with pulmonary conditions, like COPD, or the aged who have weakened immune systems, it can cause the lungs to become inflamed, leading to labored breathing and heavy coughing; more so than usual for someone with those chronic conditions.

If your aging parent has someone coming in who provides elder care in the home, you may want to make sure that the house is regularly cleaned, especially vacuumed and dusted to get pollen or other allergens out of the house. Windows should generally be kept closed, and you or someone else should make sure air filters in furnaces or air-conditioning units are changed often. To further aid in keeping indoor air clean and free of allergens, they should use a dehumidifier and air-conditioner whenever possible.

Another housekeeping task that should be done frequently is laundry. Regular laundering of clothing, bedding, towels, or other linens, will help ensure that they are as free as possible of allergens, dust and other allergens that can be irritating and bothersome to the elderly, especially if they already have breathing problems. And laundered items should be dried in a clothes dryer instead of on a line outside in order to keep the allergens from getting on the items just washed,

If this spring is especially difficult for your parent, you may want to purchase and suggest that when they go outside, they wear a surgical mask to cover their nose and mouth, especially when doing tasks like gardening or mowing the lawn.

Caregivers should watch for signs of red, itchy eyes, a runny nose or the sniffles, sneezing more frequently, or complaints of a dry, scratchy throat. Should these symptoms occur, your parent’s doctor may want to be consulted, especially before purchasing cold or allergy medications over the counter. Those type of products could negatively interact with prescribed medicines your parent is already taking, so consult with the doctor first. If the doctor is not available, your local pharmacist may be able to advise you.

Any signs of an allergy flare-up should be treated quickly and aggressively, say the experts. Getting appropriate treatment for your loved one quickly will make the spring and summer months more enjoyable for them.


If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care in Greece, NY, contact the caring staff at Caring Hearts of Rochester today! Serving Rochester, Pittsford, Greece, Webster, Canandaigua, Fairport, Perinton, Penfield, Brighton, Henrietta and surrounding communities. Call 585-245-0134.