Addressing Late-in-Life Food Allergies

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Physical changes associated with aging, such as changes in the function of the immune system and the body’s efficiency at absorbing nutrients from food, can lead to the emergence of late-in-life food allergies. Correct diagnosis is the essential first step in effectively addressing late-in-life food allergies. Learn more about late-onset food allergies below.


Higher Risk of Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis

Severe symptoms, such as anaphylaxis, are more readily diagnosed as a food allergy. However, the cellular changes and decreased function of an aging immune system make such dramatic and severe symptoms less likely to occur. A slower, weaker response is more likely, producing less severe symptoms. This can increase the risk of a misdiagnosis or a delay in reaching the correct diagnosis.

Symptoms to watch for include hives, rashes, itchiness, swollen lips, swollen eyes, eye irritation, fatigue, gastric distress, runny nose, and sinus irritation. If seniors experience these symptoms frequently or diagnosis and treatment fail to alleviate them, it may be time to test for food allergies. Common late-onset food allergies include, but aren’t limited to, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, and shellfish.

Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality home care service. Trust Assisting Hands Home Care to help your elderly loved one age in place safely and comfortably.


Clinical Diagnosis 

Clinical tests used to diagnose food allergies include skin prick, blood, oral trial, and elimination diet testing. Self-diagnosis is inexact and can cause further health problems. It can lead to excluding the wrong foods from the diet, leaving seniors malnourished and more vulnerable to sickness. A clinical diagnosis provides information essential to addressing the allergy, such as foods to avoid and the potential for severe reactions.

As a family caregiver, helping your loved one address food allergies can be an overwhelming task at times. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Reston, VA, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Assisting Hands Home Care. Our caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity.


Prevention & Treatment

Food avoidance is the most common treatment. Another method is a doctor-supervised immunotherapy program of desensitization that gradually increases exposure to the food. If your loved one is prescribed an emergency epinephrine shot, keep it readily available and replace it as directed by the expiration date.

A home caregiver can help your loved one prepare nutritious meals that suit his or her specific dietary requirements. The type of home care Reston seniors need can vary. Some need assistance a few hours a day, while others require more extensive around-the-clock assistance. At Assisting Hands Home Care, we tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual care needs, and the plans can be adjusted at any time. To learn about our premier in-home care plans and how they can help your loved one, give us a call today.