Allergies could be a problem for your elderly family member all year long, even if she’s never really experienced problems with winter allergies in the past.
Winter allergens tend to fall more along the lines of specific chemicals, like cleaning products, or dust mites, which are ubiquitous all the time. Knowing what to look for can help you and your senior to experience a little less stress when she’s not feeling so great.
Get Some Information from Your Senior’s Doctor
The first step in solving any health mysteries for your senior is to talk to her doctor. Track the symptoms your aging family member is experiencing and take that information to her doctor. Do this before trying any over-the-counter allergy solutions, because some of those can be contraindicated for medications she may be taking. Your senior’s doctor can help you to spot what to be watchful for and if this actually isn’t allergies, can start treating your senior for what is really happening.
Be on the Lookout for Differences
Allergies and a cold look an awful lot alike, even when you think you know the difference. A cold is more likely to occur after being in contact with someone who has been sick. If your senior spends most of her time at home, this might be easy to narrow down. Winter allergies, on the other hand, are likely to include a lot of the same symptoms as spring or fall allergies, like runny eyes, nasal congestion, and itchy eyes. This is especially true if your elderly family member is allergic to things like dust mites or certain cleaning products.
Track What Works and What Doesn’t
Once you’ve got a plan, start tracking what helps and what doesn’t. If the allergies are environmental, such as dust mites, it might be a good idea to bring in a caregiver on a regular basis who can help your senior to keep up with regular cleaning tasks. Getting a solid handle on little things like that can make a big difference in how your elderly family member feels and you’ll be able to see that in the symptom logs she’s keeping.
It would be great if allergies followed a calendar, but they often don’t. That’s why it helps to be able to spot those subtle differences between allergies and something more serious. Whenever you’re unsure, though, talk to your senior’s doctor about what she’s experiencing to get an expert opinion.