Allergies are a common ailment that affects people of all ages. Research shows us that roughly 5-10% of patients above 65 years have allergies and that the condition “often persists into older age and can occasionally make its initial appearance in the elderly.”
Let’s take a closer look at how allergies can affect older adults as well as what can be done to manage allergy symptoms.
Allergies Can Happen at Any Age
Though most allergies develop in childhood, plenty of people experience allergy symptoms for the first time as an adult, even an older adult. On the flip side, it’s also possible that allergies you experienced when you were younger start to become less intense or even go away completely as you age.
Allergy Symptoms in Seniors
Allergy symptoms in seniors are similar to those experienced by people of all ages with allergies. They may include:
- Runny nose
- Nasal congestion
- Scratchy throat
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Postnasal drip
Since symptoms of seasonal allergies mimic so many other conditions, it’s important to see a doctor to rule out other possibilities. If it’s a cold, the flu, COVID-19, or even a chronic condition like COPD, it’s important to get the correct diagnosis and treatment so that your symptoms do not become more severe. If your doctor suspects that your symptoms are caused by allergies, they may refer you to an allergist for further evaluation.
The Importance of Treating Your Allergies
An allergist can perform allergy testing via blood or skin prick tests to help verify your specific triggers and come up with an effective treatment plan. Options include:
- Avoiding triggers. The easiest way to prevent allergy symptoms is by not coming in contact with your allergens. This may be easier to do with food allergies than allergies to pollen, dust mites or mold. However, you can still reduce exposure to those triggers by keeping your home clean, using an air purifier, and keeping the windows of your home and car closed.
- Medications. Antihistamines, decongestants and nasal sprays are all available options for helping to manage allergy symptoms. Your allergist may recommend an over-the-counter brand or prescribe stronger medications based on your medical history and the severity of your symptoms.
Even if your allergy symptoms are less severe and more of a nuisance, they can negatively affect your day-to-day life. They can make it harder to get a good night’s sleep or be able to fully enjoy working in your garden or playing chess at the South Salem Senior Center.
If you’re experiencing symptoms, call the expert allergists at Willamette ENT & Facial Plastic Surgery today to schedule an appointment.
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