Are Allergy Shots Safe for Senior Adults?

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Seasonal allergies can strike at any age and cause a wide range of symptoms that may include sneezing, wheezing and coughing. In very sensitive individuals, allergies can trigger asthma and other serious respiratory ailments. Fortunately, there are several options for relief from which a person can choose that may be found over-the-counter or at the doctor’s office.

Out of all the options available, the allergy shot is best known for providing long-term relief. However, if you provide home care for a senior adult or relative, it is important to understand the potential risks and benefits before providing an allergy shot to him or her.

How Allergy Shots Work

Allergy symptoms are simply an immune system response to foreign particles in the body. When an allergen is detected, the body tries to attack it by creating mucus. This increase in mucus is what creates problems in the eyes, nose and lungs. Immunotherapy, or allergy shot treatment, involves injecting a small amount of the allergen into your loved one’s body so the body can produce an antibody that will prevent symptoms from occurring every time he or she comes into contact with a specific allergen.

Who Can Benefit From Immunotherapy?

Those with severe allergies will get the most benefits from allergy shots. However, anyone who experiences allergic rhinitis, asthma triggered by allergens or eczema could benefit. Those with insect bite sensitivity are also potential candidates for immunotherapy. Among the specific allergens treated are weed and tree pollen, grass, mold, dust mites and animal dander. Before receiving allergy shots, your loved one may be tested to determine which allergens are causing his or her symptoms.

Special Concerns for Seniors & Older Adults

Although allergy shots are generally considered safe for small children and senior adults, there may be certain instances in which the shots may cause a risk. Anaphylaxis, a severe and life-threatening reaction, is more likely to occur in people with severe asthma or other breathing difficulties. To prevent this, your loved one may be asked to wait for 30 minutes in the doctor’s office after the time of the shot to make sure he or she reacts well to the medication. Senior adults who take certain medications, such as ACE inhibitors or beta blockers will also need to discuss their health conditions with a physician to determine if they are still a candidate for allergy shots.

For more information about caring for an older loved one or senior health, reach out to Home Care Assistance of Caledon today. As a trusted hourly and live-in care agency in Caledon, our highly trained caregivers can assist your loved one with daily activities to help manage health issues, and ensure safety and comfort at home. Call us at 661-259-9914 and schedule your complimentary, no-obligation consultation with a friendly and experienced Care Manager.