A Survival Guide For Allergies and Aging 

The good news: As we celebrate more birthdays, our seasonal allergies generally become less severe. The bad news: This isn’t the case for everyone.

Surprising Causes of Allergy-Like Symptoms

If you’re experiencing what feels like allergy symptoms—itchy, watery eyes; sneezing and a runny nose; chest congestion; and difficulty breathing—or your symptoms seem to be getting worse, two eye-opening factors may be to blame.

  • Your Body

    Allergies and aging can be related, because we have less control over our organ symptoms as we age. An example? Our noses often run more the older we get.

  • Your Meds

    Certain prescriptions can exacerbate allergy symptoms in the elderly. For example, beta-blockers can worsen nasal stuffiness.

New Symptoms

If you’re experiencing allergy symptoms, you may have developed an entirely new allergy. New allergies can occasionally rear their heads in our later years, possibly because of genetics, illness, and changes in environment. It’s not uncommon for people in their 60s and 70s to experience allergy symptoms for the first time.

Fewer Antihistamines

A number of antihistamines that are often used to minimize the effects of allergies are not recommended for many seniors because they can increase blood pressure. Not only that, antihistamines can interact with other medications that you may be on, causing severe side effects such as dizziness, confusion, or drowsiness. Consult with your family physician before taking any medications to make sure you are properly diagnosed.

Difficulties with Diagnosis

Allergy symptoms in seniors are sometimes mistaken for signs of a more serious illness or confused with other coexisting conditions such as heart disease. In addition, your skin may be less reactive to the standard skin prick used to test allergies as it was when you were young—so even if you’re now sensitive to an allergen, you may not show signs of sensitivity when tested.

Seeking Treatment

Don’t suffer alone with allergies and aging. Your family physician can treat infrequent allergies. However, if you’re experiencing long-lasting, debilitating symptoms, seek relief by scheduling an appointment with a board-certified allergist. There are many new types of treatments for allergy symptoms in seniors that have been developed specifically for seniors.

Plus, if you’re living in an assisted living community, you can request assistance managing your medications to make allergy season a breeze. Contact Life Care Services for more information about the services available in our assisted living communities.