Do You Have Allergies? A Comprehensive Guide

Jun 10, 2016

Do You Have Allergies? A Comprehensive Guide

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We’ve all been there – going toe to toe with allergies. They’ll catch you with a quick one-two combo of itchy eyes and a stuffy nose, follow that up with inflamed sinuses and a sore throat, and finally put you down for the count with exhaustion. There are many medications and home remedies available to relieve these issues, but part of fighting off allergies is identifying the symptoms when they begin to crop up. Addressing these symptoms as they crop up can mean precious days or even weeks without suffering.

7 Symptoms of Allergies

1. Nasal Congestion

Usually caused by pollen irritation or dust particles, a stuffy nose can cause other problems like difficulty breathing. A buildup of mucus or swollen sinuses can create the “stuffy” feeling that plague many allergy victims.

2. Irritated Eyes

Itchy or watery eyes are another common symptom of allergies. Usually caused by pollen, dust or mold, the eyes are one of the most sensitive human organs, so it’s no wonder they tend to get red, dry, and itchy with even the smallest irritant. If you have trouble seeing or keeping your eyes moist, you might want to look into getting an eye-drop solution. 

3. Sinus Pressure 

Arguably one of the most uncomfortable symptoms, sinus pressure is very similar to nasal congestion. Your sinuses travel all the way up to your forehead, and many will feel heavy pressure in that area or even a headache. This can be relieved with a nasal spray or other forms of medicine.

4. Irritated Skin

Often caused by pollen or even fresh-cut grass, itchy, red, and irritated skin can become quite a nuisance if left untreated. Depending on the person, some people have more sensitive skin than others. Some may have a small itch similar to a mosquito bite, but others can even break out into a rash and even hives.

5. Itchy and Runny Nose

Coupled with a stuffy nose comes his buddies Itchy and Runny. Caused by irritation, pollen, and other allergens can irritate the inside of the nose, causing a buildup of mucus as well as an itchy nose.

6. Stomach Trouble

One of the lesser-known allergy symptoms, nausea, and digestive trouble is also a major symptom that many deal with every day. Whether it’s from food, pollen, or other allergens stomach trouble can cause major discomfort if not identified early.

7. Fatigue

Hard-hitting allergens can sometimes cause extreme exhaustion and fatigue. With your body fighting off a variety of systems, it’s no surprise that it might take a toll on your body. Rest and having enough Vitamin C and E will give a boost of energy to help fight off many of the symptoms.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Do allergies get worse with age?

Seasonal allergies do tend to get worse with age, mostly because of the fact that our immune systems tend to break down. This means that seniors are likely to experience a change in the way their bodies handle allergens. As you get older, it's harder for your body to protect itself from common allergens.

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How can allergies in seniors be treated?

You can treat allergies for seniors in different ways, however, the most common methods of treatment include:

Antihistamines: These are the mainstay in the treatment of allergies, especially for younger people. First-generation antihistamines like chlorpheniramine and diphenhydramine are generally effective in reducing sneezing, itching, and rhinorrhea. It may be necessary to avoid traditional antihistamines as well, given that they can cause confusion, drowsiness, urinary retention, dry mouth, and eyes, as well as dizziness.

Decongestants: These are used to reduce nasal swelling, which in turn relieves congestion. The most common used agent is pseudoephedrine, however, it does have the potential to stimulate the nervous system to produce side effects like anxiety, irritability, insomnia, and palpitations. It’s usually recommended that elderly patients, especially those with hypertension, coronary artery disease, cerebral vascular disease, or bladder conditions, avoid decongestants.

Anti-Inflammatory Nasal Sprays: Most of these medications are safe for older adults to use. For most people, these agents are effective in reducing sneezing, itching, congestion, and rhinorrhea with very minimal side effects.

Immunotherapy: Essentially, patients are injected with extremely small amounts of an allergen, eventually increasing the dosage to develop a resistance. These “allergy shots” are an effective long-term treatment that decreases the symptoms of rhinitis, asthma, conjunctivitis, or even insect stings.

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