Tips for Handling Allergies in Elderly People

by | Nov 21, 2022 | Senior Health

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 lives, others don’t 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 associated 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 stomach 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 InCasa Home Care Services, a leading provider of home care 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 overall health. Respiratory symptoms exacerbate cardiovascular issues. The possibility of going into anaphylactic shock is another concern. If you notice your loved one developing symptoms, encourage him or her to seek medical attention. 

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. Some of these adverse symptoms pose a health risk to seniors. Allergy medications might also interact with other prescription medications, either making them less effective or enhancing their effects. 

Nasal steroid sprays and non-drowsy antihistamines are often recommended for older adults. Some decongestants are not advised for seniors with cardiovascular or thyroid conditions because they may raise blood pressure and pulse rate and cause fluid retention, confusion, and mood changes.

Correct Nutrient Deficiencies 

Seniors with insufficient levels of iron, vitamin D, or zinc in their systems 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.

Addressing 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 in-home care. Edmonton, AB, InCasa Home Care Services 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 aren’t immune 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 foods 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. Food processing plants may use the same equipment and locations to handle multiple foods. Some of these may include the food causing the allergy symptoms. 

Care must also be taken with food preparation in the home. Favourite recipes may need to be altered by substituting other ingredients for any that might cause a reaction.

Treat Skin Disorders 

Seniors with hives or eczema can 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 receptors, which also reduces symptoms. 

Allergies are a common part of everyday life, but they can cause serious issues for older adults. Living with serious health conditions can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional senior home care. Edmonton seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more. InCasa Home Care Services will work with you to customize a care plan that’s just right for your loved one’s needs. Call us today at 587-609-6854 to discuss how we can give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing your loved one is being cared for with professionalism and compassion.

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