- Cameron Oglesby
Springtime robins aren’t all that’s in the air.
So are pollen, mold, dust, deer ticks, adenovirus, rhinovirus, and norovirus.
And after a long, cold winter, people are more apt to expose themselves to them all by spending more time outdoors to enjoy that balmy spring weather. And with its winds, barometric pressures, and temperatures, spring is more apt to bring them all to you, making you more vulnerable to all sorts of allergies and infections.
Pollen, fertilizers, insect repellants, and temperature changes in the outdoor air can trigger asthma attacks, as can dust, mold, and cleaning chemicals in the air indoors.
Rhinoviruses, which cause about half of all common colds, spread easily. So easily that spring’s the second-biggest time for them.
Deer ticks, which spread Lyme disease, become active in spring’s warmer, rainier weather.
Allergies, bacteria, and viruses can all bring conjunctivitis, AKA pink eye.
And adenovirus can make your throat sore, your nose runny, and your temperature feverish.
Here are some things you can do to minimize your exposure:
· Since you can’t stop breathing, you can’t avoid breathing pollens, molds, and other allergy or asthma triggers. But you can keep them at arm’s length by using your home’s and your car’s air conditioning. (And by starting off spring with a new, clean filter in your home air conditioner.)
· Before you exercise or do yardwork outside, consider doing it later in the day, when pollen counts are lower. And after you exercise or do yardwork outside, wash your clothes and hair to clear away pollens.
· Showering at night washes pollen and other allergens off your skin, so you won’t be breathing them in all night. And so they won’t stick to your sheets and pillows.
· Change those sheets at least once a week, and launder them in hot water.
· Vacuum frequently to suck up pollen, dust, and dander.
· Talk to your doctor about OTC and prescription meds that can bring allergy relief, particularly about their differences and side effects.
· If you have asthma, the American Lung Association recommends checking local air quality before you go out. (You can do this on your phone’s weather app.)
· Some 30,000 Americans get Lyme disease infections each year. Its symptoms can be anything from headache, fatigue or a “bull’s-eye rash” to serious nervous system and heart problems. Deer ticks love wooded areas like parks or forests, so give them a wide berth. Wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, a hat, and insect repellant when you go out. When you come back in, check your clothing and your body for ticks – and if you find one, remove it with tweezers.
· Adenoviruses can survive on skin and inanimate surfaces. So always wash your hands before eating and after being in public places. Keep your distance from anyone who’s coughing or sneezing. And if someone in your house is sick, clean common areas and avoid sharing food or drinks.
· If an allergen gets into your eye, it’ll become inflamed and irritated (hence the name “pink eye”). You may feel burning, swelling, weeping, or like there’s dirt in your eye. Rubbing your eye will make it worse, so try not to. There are OTC and prescription meds you can take for relief.
· If you know you have allergies, start taking your allergy medicine about two weeks before allergy season. And follow the pollen counts online, with an app like Allergy Alert, so you’ll know when to stay indoors..
· If you have asthma, keep your peak flow meter and rescue inhaler handy.
· Use a stand-alone air purifier with a high efficiency particulate (HEPA) filter in your bedroom. Don’t use an ionic electrostatic room cleaner, which will make pollen and other allergens stick to the walls and surfaces.
Finally, talk to your doctor before you automatically reach for the antihistamines, because what works in general may not work specifically for you. “A tailored treatment that’s individualized to your needs works best, and is the most cost effective,” says Dr. Clifford Basset, who’s an allergist and immunologist and medical director of Allergy and Asthma Care of New York.
That’s particularly good advice for senior care as well.
No two people are in the exact same physical condition, have the exact same cognitive abilities, are in the exact same emotional state, or have the exact same social relationships. Everyone has different preferences and priorities, different values, different likes and dislikes, different hobbies and interests.
At Senior Insights, we honor those differences. Instead of offering a one-size-fits-all menu of senior care services, we conduct a thorough three-part needs assessment, involving each prospective client and their families. Only after we review the results do we custom-design a holistic senor care management plan that’s good not just for the client’s health, but for the client as a unique individual.
Please contact us to learn more.