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How do allergies express themselves in older adults?
Moderator SeniorCaring
1 answer
Moderator SeniorCaring

Seniors tend to show signs and symptoms of allergies similar to the general population. The main factors to consider for allergies in older adults is the complex process of immunosenescence. Essentially, this refers to the aging of the immune system, during which its innate and adaptive functions undergo changes that affect the way a body deals with combating disease and other foreign bacteria, viruses, or unwanted particulate matter.

When it comes to the common allergic exacerbations of pollen, mold, or pet dander, the elderly body is at a disadvantage in protecting itself against these substances.

Seniors are also prone to seasonal allergies due to other physical factors like nasal obstruction, postnasal drip, or coughs that may already be present due to degrading lung functions. Additionally, structural changes to the nose are not uncommon, resulting in a weakening of septal cartilage that causes a loss of nasal tip support. Overall this decreases the airflow to the nose that can make proper respiration difficult when paired with allergies.