Why Are Allergies More Dangerous for Seniors?

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How Health Complications Add to the Woe That Is Allergy Season

Spring is the prime time for pollinating plants and trees to trigger common allergy symptoms. But allergies can flare up year-round, especially for seniors with compromised immune systems, leading to health complications that can have serious effects. Discover more about why allergies are dangerous for older adults.

It Can Trigger Health Complications

The biggest concern for allergy sufferers is the complications that arise from an allergic reaction. When a bee stings, or an individual ingests food they are allergic to, the body instantly reacts by releasing an antibody called Immunoglobulin E. White blood cells go into full defense mode, triggering symptoms like:

  • Respiratory distress, including wheezing and coughing
  • Irritated, red, watery eyes
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  • Inflamed itchy skin called hives
  • Vomiting and lightheadedness

In older adults, an asthma attack can cause trouble breathing and lead to anaphylactic shock — which can be fatal without prompt medical attention.

May Interfere With Underlying Illness

According to Everyday Health, allergies are a major contributor to chronic illness and affect over 50 million people annually. Asthma, chronic sinusitis and dermatitis can be bothersome during an allergen attack, but when an underlying illness with the same symptoms is present, it can complicate matters. For example, if someone has severe psoriasis and then has an allergic response to an environmental element or food, skin irritation and breakdown can occur.

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Clean and Disinfect Often

Everyone loves a good spring cleaning, but for seniors with sensitive immune systems that react easily to allergens, a thorough cleaning is required. Some tips include:

  • Change furnace and AC filters every month if not more during spring months
  • Have home air ducts cleaned professionally and with an antibacterial solution
  • Disinfect the home top to bottom
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  • Clean all moldy and bacteria producing areas such as bathrooms and basements
  • Avoid pollen contamination by keeping windows and doors closed during windy, spring days

Frequent vacuuming and dusting is the best way to keep pollen, pet dander and other irritants at bay. This can reduce dangerous outcomes resulting from an allergy attack.

Talk to the Doc Frequently

For seniors, it’s a good idea to have an allergy check-up by an allergist at least once a year. This can help identify allergens that a person is sensitive to and test for new contaminants that may not have triggered an attack previously. This increases the likelihood of successful treatment and ensures they get on the right medication path. While some allergy medications can be expensive, asking for samples or signing up for a prescription savings card can help curb costs.

Allergies can affect daily life. It can be especially hard on seniors who may be immunocompromised or dealing with underlying health problems. Making lifestyle changes, avoiding the allergen and communicating with doctors is key to coping with the allergy issues.

~Here’s to Your Financial Health!