Age-related changes in the immune system can result in food allergies developing later in life, even towards foods that were once staples at the dinner table. Aging also causes changes in how cells function that can play a role in how a senior reacts to certain foods, making late-onset allergies a growing concern among the elderly.
Learn to Recognize Symptoms
It can take some time to determine what foods are likely to trigger an adverse reaction. Albuquerque home care professionals note that even after having a skin test, there may be other foods that can induce a similar response. Symptoms of a possible food allergy include:
- Tingling or itching in or around the mouth
- Swelling of the lips, face, tongue, or throat
- Abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting
- Difficulty breathing
Check Ingredient Lists
Cow’s milk, peanuts, eggs, wheat, and soy are some of the most common ingredients that can cause an adverse reaction. Since these ingredients can be found in many recipes and purchased foods, get into the habit of checking ingredient lists. Even products with peanut oil may trigger a reaction in some seniors.
Take Precautions in Social Settings
Dietitians and observant part-time or live-in caregivers can help seniors take the necessary precautions at home. However, if there’s any doubt about what’s in something at either a restaurant or other social setting, it’s best to avoid such foods.
Sometimes a doctor will prescribe epinephrine, which comes in the form of an auto-injector, that can be administered when an allergic reaction occurs. Seniors can use a “trainer injector,” an auto-injector with no medication or needle, while learning how to use the device.
Food allergies often go undiagnosed and untreated among the elderly since symptoms can be mild or confused with other conditions. While there is no medication that can prevent food allergies, learning to take precautions and make dietary adjustments can reduce the risk of potentially life-threatening reactions.
Learn more about senior health from the friendly staff at Home Care Assistance. Our friendly and experienced caregivers in Albuquerque can grocery shop, prepare healthy meals, and provide mobility support among other things. Give us a call today at 505-798-0800 and request a free in-home consultation to learn more.