Call Now to Speak with a Care Manager Speak with a Care Manager Now: (954) 909-0370

How to Address Allergies in Older Adults

By , 9:00 am on

Allergies are commonly associated with children. However, statistics indicate that more than 20 percent of the elderly population lives with some type of allergy. While some older adults have had allergies throughout their lifetime, others do not develop symptoms until their golden years. Here are a few ways to address allergies in seniors. 

Know the Symptoms

Common allergy symptoms include a runny nose, sneezing, coughing, and itchy, watery eyes. The danger with respiratory symptoms includes the possibility of having a life-threatening asthma attack. Some older adults may develop eczema or hives. Food allergies often cause gastric issues such as nausea, diarrhea, excessive gas, and irritation. 

If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of elder care Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

Seek Medical Help 

When older adults develop allergies, the effects can be potentially harmful to their health. Respiratory symptoms exacerbate cardiovascular issues. The possibility of going into anaphylactic shock is another concern. If you notice your elderly loved one developing symptoms, encourage him or her to seek medical intervention. 

Monitor Medication Side Effects

Common side effects of over-the-counter and prescription antihistamines include dry mouth, dry eyes, drowsiness, and dizziness. Antihistamines might also cause confusion, urinary retention, or mood changes in older adults. Some of these adverse symptoms pose a health risk to seniors.

Allergy medications might also interact with other prescription medications, making them less effective or enhancing the effects. Nasal steroid sprays and non-drowsiness formula antihistamines are often recommended for older adults. Decongestants are ill-advised for seniors with cardiovascular or thyroid conditions because they may raise blood pressure and pulse rates and cause fluid retention, confusion, and mood changes. 

Correct Nutrient Deficiencies

Seniors with insufficient levels of iron, vitamin D, or zinc in their system seem to be more prone to allergic reactions. Correcting deficiencies with supplementation may inhibit allergy symptoms. Zinc supplements have been shown to reduce topical allergy symptoms. 

Managing your loved one’s nutritional needs is one of the many ways to ensure he or she enjoys a high quality of life. Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional home care. Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Florida, Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life.

Prevent Food Allergies 

Seniors are not resistant to food allergies. Many develop them after the age of 65. Some of the most common culprits include tree nuts, dairy products, alcohol, and gluten. The only way to prevent symptoms of food allergies is to avoid the food causing the symptoms. However, seniors must also get in the habit of reading labels to determine if processed foods contain any potential hazards. 

Cross contamination is another concern. The equipment and locations food processing plants use may work with multiple foods. Some of these may include the food causing the allergy symptoms. Care must also be taken with food preparation in the home. Favorite recipes may need altering to substitute other ingredients for any that might cause a reaction. 

Treat Skin Disorders

Hives or eczema benefit from the cooling effects of menthol, which also decreases the irritation that causes itching. Topical anesthetic preparations containing benzocaine or lidocaine are also helpful for itching, redness, and swelling. Topical antihistamines are another option. Capsaicin ointments and creams desensitize nerve fibers, which also reduces symptoms.

Allergies are a common part of everyday life, but they can cause serious issues for older adults. Living with a serious health condition can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional 24-hour care. Galt Ocean Mile seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more. To schedule a free in-home consultation, give Home Care Assistance a call at (954) 909-0370 today.