Your Nose Knows:
A late spring quickly followed by summer in much of the country could mean a double whammy for those suffering from seasonal allergies, as both summer and spring pollen hit at the same time. Seniors may have a more difficult time than younger people for several reasons: Antihistamine medicine, which alleviates the effects of allergies can interfere with other drugs. Seniors often take multiple medications, and mixing them with antihistamines can cause potentially dangerous reactions, increase blood pressure and cause drowsiness and dizziness.
If over-the-counter remedies don’t help, your doctor may recommend a prescription medication:
• Corticosteroid nasal sprays
Causes of Allergies
Notorious pollen carriers include ragweed (which often shows up later in the summer), Russian thistle, sagebrush, Bermuda grass and blue grasses.
People with serious breathing disorders, such as asthma, may find it difficult to inhale because histamines can cause swelling in bronchial tubes. Summer air pollution, which irritates the respiratory tract, can make allergy symptoms worse for city dwellers. Ozone, created by mixing sunlight, nitrogen oxide and hydrocarbons from burning fuel, is often more prevalent in the summer due to stronger sunlight and calmer winds. Ozone and allergens combine to worsen breathing problems.
For those who want to avoid the sleepiness that comes with antihistamines, several herbs are being touted as alternatives, especially the European herb butterbur, a common weed in Europe used to wrap butter in the days before refrigeration. Two herbal supplements inhibit the body’s ability to produce histamines. Stinging nettle, a common weed that is painful to the touch, is best taken as a freeze-dried extract of the leaves and sold in capsules. Quercetin is a type of bioflavonoid, a natural plant-derived compound present in citrus fruits, onions, apples, parsley, tea, tomatoes, broccoli, lettuce and wine. In supplement form, this compound has a recommended dosage of 1,000 milligrams per day.
Eating the right foods (and avoiding others) can also help alleviate allergy symptoms. Hot, spicy food thins mucous secretions, which in turn clears nasal passages. Recommended spices include cayenne pepper, hot ginger and fenugreek, as well as onion and garlic. At the same time, you should avoid foods to which you are sensitive, as food intolerance can cripple your immune system and worsen seasonal allergies.
A German study, published in the journal Allergy, found that participants who ate foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids were less likely to suffer allergy symptoms than those who didn’t eat these foods regularly, according to Mother Earth News. Omega-3s, which help fight inflammation, can be found in cold-water fish, walnuts and flaxseed oil, as well as grass-fed meat and eggs. To relieve allergy symptoms, nutritionists also recommend apples, ginger, leafy green vegetables and foods rich in vitamin C.
A New York University allergist, Clifford Bassett, suggests avoiding melon, banana, cucumber, sunflower seeds, chamomile and any herbal supplements containing echinacea, all of which can intensify pollen allergy symptoms. Natural supplements can be toxic, especially when combined with traditional drugs, so experts recommend consulting your doctor prior to taking any herb.
Measures to Take During Allergy Season
To help reduce seasonal allergy symptoms:
• Avoid using window fans to cool rooms, because they can draw in pollen.
Reprinted by Always Best Care Senior Services with permission from
Senior Spirit, a publication of the Society of Certified Senior Advisors.
The Certified Senior Advisor (CSA) program provides the advanced knowledge and practical tools to serve seniors at the highest level possible while providing recipients a powerful credential that increases their competitive advantage over other professionals. The CSA works closely withAlways Best Care Senior Servicesto help ABC business owners understand how to build effective relationships with seniors based on a broad-based knowledge of the health, social and financial issues that are important to seniors, and the dynamics of how these factors work together in seniors’ lives. To be a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA) means one willingly accepts and vigilantly upholds the standards in the CSA Code of Professional Responsibility. These standards define the behavior that we owe to seniors, to ourselves, and to our fellow CSAs. The reputation built over the years by the hard work and high standards of CSAs flows to everyone who adds the designation to their name. .
# # #
Always Best Care Senior Services
Always Best Care Senior Services (www.alwaysbestcare.com) is based on the belief that having the right people for the right level of care means peace of mind for the client and family. Always Best Care Senior Services has assisted over 25,000 seniors, representing a wide range of illnesses and personal needs. This has established the company as one of the premier providers of in-home care, assisted living placement assistance, and skilled home health care in the United States.
To print this article CLICK HERE