Springtime brings us so many good things–flowers, new life, baby animals, milder weather. But a change in seasons can also trigger health challenges for seniors, from arthritis to allergies. Here’s how to stay healthy in spring for seniors.
Seasonal allergies can develop at any age, so even if it’s not something you’ve had in the past, you may find yourself dealing with allergies this year. Common allergy symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, itchy, red, or watery eyes, and general congestion. These symptoms can mimic a common cold, but you’ll notice they are much worse if you spend time outside. Allergies can be dangerous for people with heart conditions, so an allergy attack is nothing to sneeze at. If you think you’re suffering from seasonal allergies, tell your primary care doctor. Allergies are very treatable, but some common over-the-counter treatments like antihistamines can have side effects that make them unsuitable for seniors.
Along with any treatments your doctor recommends, you can help manage seasonal allergies with minor lifestyle changes. Most weather forecasts and apps now include air quality and pollen level reports. Stay indoors if the air quality is poor or pollen counts are high. You should also change any air filters in your home, like those in your vacuum or on your furnace and air conditioner. Use filters that are meant for removing allergens from the air. Don’t open your car or home windows or dry your clothing outdoors.
Start Outdoor Activities
If you don’t suffer from seasonal allergies, getting outside is a great idea for your spring health. Being outside can alleviate symptoms of depression, loneliness, and isolation. It can also help you get more active as you start walking or gardening again. Exposure to sunlight will raise your Vitamin D levels, which is important for bone and immune health.
Eat Seasonal Fruits and Veggies
Now that fruit and vegetables are in season again, take advantage of fresh local produce. If you have a local farmer’s market, this can be a great place to get fresh produce and also socialize with others. In-season fruit and vegetables are higher in nutrients than canned, frozen, or processed ones. These nutrients will keep you feeling your best and support your overall health.
As you get older, you might notice you don’t feel thirst as often as you once did, but it’s more important now than ever. Make sure you are drinking enough water as you spend more time out in the sun. Seniors are at a higher risk for dehydration than other adults, and it can be more dangerous for older people.
More than half of all cases of skin cancer occur in people over the age of 65, and seniors make up more than 60% of deaths caused by skin cancer. These rates are only increasing as people live longer. Keep in mind that after age 65, you will likely live at least two more decades! It’s important to continue to protect your skin, even in your later years. If you’re going to be out in the sun a lot, make sure to wear sunscreen, SPF clothing, and a sun hat to protect yourself. Even if it doesn’t feel “hot” outside, the sun’s rays can still have damaging effects on your skin.
These tips on how to stay healthy in spring for seniors will help keep you in top shape, no matter the season!