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Asthma and allergies have become growing health problems for Americans of all ages, thanks in part to growing pollution over the past century. According to the CDC, almost 9% of adults aged 65-74 have asthma, and almost 10% have hay fever (almost 7% aged 75 and over). Meanwhile, 5% of seniors aged 65 and over suffer from chronic bronchitis. Asthma and allergies tend to be far more severe for people living in and around cities. So, how do you help your senior loved one in Washington, DC manage their allergies and asthma? 

Managing Seasonal Allergies

Seasonal allergies can be quite the headache – and the cause of headaches – for seniors in DC. Pollen is typically the culprit, with trees around cities producing more pollen than usual because of surface-level pollution from vehicle exhaust and other factors. 

Some things your senior can do to help minimize seasonal allergies include, 

  • Pay attention to daily pollen counts and avoid outdoor activity on high pollen days
  • Limit outdoor activity during the spring and fall seasons, when pollen is more prevalent
  • Shower or bathe after coming in from outdoors (and use a clean towel to dry off)
  • Keep windows closed to prevent pollen and mold from drifting indoors
  • Use an AC filter in the home rated for allergens
  • Use a dryer for drying clothes instead of an outdoor line
  • Eat foods with omega-3 fatty acids (such as fish)
  • Ensure good gut health (good for the immune system) by eating fruits, vegetables, and yogurt
Senior with Allergies

Managing Asthma in Seniors

Asthma is often thought of as a childhood disease, but more and more adults are diagnosed with it every year, especially in cities like Washington. Unfortunately, seniors often develop, even if they didn’t have it when they were younger, due to changes in their lungs. While asthma can be life-threatening for seniors, there are ways to manage asthma including, 

  • Keep up with scheduled doctor visits
  • Have a written plan for asthma prevention and treatment of an attack
  • Know their specific asthma triggers and avoid them
  • Know what medications can interfere with asthma
  • Make sure the home is dusted and vacuumed regularly to reduce dust buildup
  • Use an allergen-rated AC filter to reduce irritants in the air
  • When showering, leave the bathroom fan on for 15 minutes after the shower to help reduce mold and mildew 

Your in-home caregiver should have access to your senior’s written asthma prevention and treatment plan. If your senior is recently diagnosed with asthma, their home health aide can help them adjust the home to reduce asthma symptoms.

Medications for Managing Asthma and Allergies

Medications are often an important part of managing asthma and allergies but can present additional risks for seniors. Some allergy medications may cause anxiety or confusion. Some allergy and asthma medications may have adverse reactions to other medications seniors need. 

It’s important that your senior receives the care they need to live comfortably and safely. Their home health aide can help them with their diet, managing medications, and cleaning. Be sure your senior works with their doctor to manage needed medications and avoid interactions. 

Happy Senior and Caregiver

Are You Looking for in-home care in Washington DC? 

If you’re looking for someone to help with in-home care, contact us. We’ll be happy to review our services with you and help match your loved one to one of our expert caregivers. 

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