Doctors to Help Older Patients Resolve Allergy-like Symptoms
"It’s easy to blame sniffling or sneezing on seasonal allergies. But such symptoms can also be caused by year-round triggers — such as mold, dust mites, or pet dander — rather than by seasonal pollens, (Allergies are the immune system’s reaction to something it mistakenly sees as dangerous.) says Consumer Reports. You may also be dealing with viral rhinitis (better known as a common cold) or another nonallergic form of rhinitis, which refers to inflammation and irritation of the nasal passages that typically results in runny nose and congestion."
"There’s evidence that allergies may decrease with age. But some older adults still have allergies. For instance, according to Swiss research cited by a 2017 review published in the journal Aging & Disease, 13% of men and 15% of women over 60 said they experienced allergy symptoms."
"Nonallergic rhinitis, meanwhile, may become more common with age ‑possibly because our nasal linings thin and our immune system becomes less robust. Some researchers have estimated that in people over 50, more than 60% of rhinitis is nonallergic."
"There are several types of nonallergic rhinitis, including vasomotor (chronic runny nose and congestion sometimes related to irritants like smoke, dust, pollution, or fragrance) and atrophic (nasal symptoms that result from mucous membranes thinning and drying out)."
"Because the symptoms are similar, it can be tricky to know which type of rhinitis you’re dealing with. If you suspect you have allergic rhinitis, your doctor can do blood or skin tests to determine which allergens are triggering your symptoms."
"Whatever the cause, a few items available in drugstores could help treat rhinitis symptoms (consult your doctor before starting any new medication):
- Over-the-counter steroid sprays, such as fluticasone (Flonase or generic) and triamcinolone (Nasacort or generic), can ease runny nose and congestion.
- Saline sprays and neti pots — teapot-shaped devices that clear the nasal passages using distilled or sterile water -“can effectively rinse out irritants, decrease inflammation in the nose, and aid in clearing mucus,” Purcell says.
- Prescription antihistamine sprays, such as azelastine (Astelin or generic), can help relieve symptoms like congestion and sneezing."
Doctors can warn Baby Boomers of the similarities of all of these illnesses through both digital and traditional advertisements. According to AudienceSCAN, 69.7% of Baby Boomers watch a minimum of three hours of TV every day. Last year, 49.8% were driven to action by TV commercials they saw.
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