How Allergies Can Affect Seniors
Chances are, if you battled allergies as an adolescent and adult, you’ll also have them as a senior. However, there are also instances where seniors develop new allergies which may be attributed to changes in their health and hormones. Scientists are not entirely sure what causes allergies to come and go, but they do know that they can strike at any age and to practically any substance. With the start of spring, flowers and trees begin blooming which can stir up seasonal allergies.
While children and young adults are often quick to bounce back from the annoyance of allergy symptoms, they can have a stronger effect on seniors and be more troublesome. For instance, allergies can make it harder to breathe which can exacerbate existing respiratory problems. If an individual has asthma on top of allergies, allergy season can mean more asthma issues. In addition, allergies can cause symptoms such as:
- Chest congestion
- Itchy or watery eyes
Doctors may overlook symptoms or misattribute them to other heath conditions or medication side effects. If you notice any changes or reactions in your loved one, make sure you speak up and let their physician know. This is something that they will want to pay attention to in order to help manage symptoms and reduce complications.
Use Caution with Medications
One of the go-to methods of dealing with seasonal allergies is often over-the-counter medications. Antihistamines are commonly used to control the effects of allergies, but for seniors, antihistamines can actually make symptoms worse, plus they can also lead to increased blood pressure. Your aging parent should talk to their doctor before using any medications to try to combat their allergies. Their doctor may recommend a saline nasal spray, topical ointment, or humidifier as alternative options.
It can also be a good idea to pay attention to when allergens are highest in the environment to limit outdoor time and keep windows closed in order to avoid excessive exposure. Changing clothes and washing your hands and face after coming inside can also help.
Allergies Can Change
Don’t forget that allergies can change depending on where you are. If your loved one likes to travel and you go on trips together, different environments can trigger allergies. Cities have different allergens and pollen levels. They may be exposed to an irritant that isn’t as prevalent where they normally live. Know the signs to look for so their reaction isn’t confused with another condition or overlooked.