Allergy

Updated 15 February 2016

Allergy shots still effective in seniors

Researchers say that an ageing immune system doesn't significantly reduce the effectiveness of allergy injections' usefulness.

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Allergy shots can still benefit seniors with allergies, a new study suggests.

The study included 60 people with hay fever between the ages of 65 and 75 who were given either allergy shots or a placebo for three years.

Those who received the allergy shots had a 55 percent reduction in symptoms and a 64 percent decrease in their use of allergy relief medication, according to the study results. 

Read: What are allergies?

They were published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

The researchers, led by Dr Andrzej Bozek of Medical University of Silesia in Katowice, Poland, said diagnosis and management of hay fever in seniors can be challenging because they tend to have other health conditions.

The researchers added that their findings show that an ageing immune system doesn't significantly reduce the effectiveness of allergy shots. 

Read: A sneeze could be deadly 

While allergy shots are known to benefit children and adults, there has been little research in seniors. Hay fever is more common in people over age 65, the researchers said.

"Older people who suffer from hay fever may have health challenges that younger people do not," Dr Ira Finegold, past president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, said in a college news release.

"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," Finegold added.

"Also, some baby boomers might not realise they have allergies, and their physicians might not suggest allergy shots. The research indicated that allergy shots were extremely effective for this group." 

Read more: 

Treating allergies  

Risk factors for allergies  

Preventing allergic reactions

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Dr Morris is the Principal Allergist at the Cape Town and Johannesburg Allergy Clinics with postgraduate diplomas in Allergology, Dermatology, Paediatrics and Family Medicine dealing with both adult and childhood allergies. obesity and diabetes societies and runs a trial centre for new drugs.

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