Seniors and Seasonal Allergies The weather may still be fluctuating here in Belton, MO, but we’re already starting to see some of the early signs of spring. With warmer days and nice breezes, many of us have already been out for walks or have headed down to the garden center looking for ways to spruce up our yards. And we’ve probably already noticed the sweet scent of tree, grass, and ragweed pollen in the air.

The arrival of spring also means the onset of allergy season. In fact, seasonal allergies have already begun to show up in the Kansas City area, and many of us are probably already stocking up on boxes of tissue in preparation. After all, nasal allergies affect more than 50 million Americans, accumulating medical bills and medication costs of more than $18 billion every year. Allergies are also the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the country.

Just because you haven’t had seasonal allergies in the past doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re immune, either. Seasonal allergies can appear at any age. Older adults who experience allergies for the first time often have more of a struggle to adapt to allergy season compared to people who have lived with allergies all their lives.

When it comes to seasonal allergies, Kansas City isn’t the worst place in America to live, but it also isn’t the best. In fact, Kansas City ranks around 50 out of the top 100 cities in the U.S. when it comes to seasonal allergies. That’s pretty high, when you think about it.

According to Children’s Mercy Hospital, the top tree pollens affecting the Kansas City area are elm, maple, juniper, and alder. If you’ve gone for a walk around your neighborhood, chances are you’ve seen at least one or two of those around, so that means you’re probably also breathing in pollen, whether you know it or not. What can you do to help cope with—or stave off—seasonal allergies this spring?

For starters, know the signs. Sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, and even a slight fever can all be symptoms of seasonal allergies. If you notice any of these symptoms, talk with your doctor about whether you should be taking an antihistamine. Don’t just grab one off the shelf, as that class of drug can have a number of side effects that may be dangerous, especially for older adults.

To keep your symptoms at a minimum, it’s a good idea to keep windows closed during allergy season and rely on the air conditioner to cool your house. You can also keep an eye on the local weather report, which will often monitor pollen levels, helping you to plan your outdoor activities around days and times when your allergic reactions will be less severe. Your typical habit of spring cleaning the house can also help take care of any allergens that might make it inside. And, believe it or not, many nutritionists have said that some foods known to fight inflammation can be helpful during allergy season, including nutritious and delicious foods such as apples, ginger, leafy greens, walnuts, and anything with a lot of vitamin C.

These tips for how to survive allergy season in KC are brought to you by your friends at the Lazy Acres senior living community in Belton, MO. Give us a call at (816) 331-4886 or fill out our online contact form anytime!