Recent years have seen an increase in those suffering from allergies, including baby boomers. And because older people tend to have additional chronic diseases, diagnosis and management of allergic rhinitis (hay fever) can be a challenge. A new study shows immunotherapy (allergy shots) reduced symptoms by 55 percent after three years of therapy, and decreased the amount of medication needed for relief of symptoms by 64 percent.
“Older people who suffer from hay fever may have health challenges that younger people do not,” said allergist Ira Finegold, MD, ACAAI past president. “Hay fever is often ignored in older patients as a less significant health problem because of diseases such as asthma, coronary heart disease, depression and high blood pressure. Also, some baby boomers might not realize they have allergies, and their physicians might not suggest allergy shots. The research indicated that allergy shots were extremely effective for this group.”
Although the guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of allergic diseases rarely focus on older patients, according to the Polish study, hay fever is more common in patients over 65 years of age.
The study authors state the results of the study indicate an aging immune system doesn’t significantly influence the effectiveness of immunotherapy.