Your nose gets older, too
Although a long life is a huge blessing, getting older can be a real pain. And it’s not just joints and muscles that change as we age…surprisingly, our noses change, too. The supporting cartilage weakens, restricting air flow. This restriction can cause the feeling of nasal obstruction, facial pressure, and a decreased sense of smell and taste.
Other physiological changes associated with aging can make these problems worse. Mucus, for instance, tends to thicken as we age, due to a reduction in the number of submucosal glands. Additionally, decreases in blood flow can lead to dryness and crusting in the nose and sinuses. To add insult to injury, the decongestants and antihistamines that are helpful for younger people are actually harmful for older individuals.
What you can do
Home treatments for older noses should emphasize keeping the tissue moist and the mucus as thin as possible. This includes:
- Using a home humidifier
- Drinking plenty of water
- Using a saline rinse
- Drinking hot tea
- Placing a warm, damp towel over the nose and sinuses
- Minimizing exposure to allergens such as dust and dander
If you or someone you know is struggling with geriatric rhinitis, we urge you to contact us today. More than 14% of adults over the age of 65 report problems with rhinitis, and the condition is under-diagnosed and under-treated. But there are treatments available that can help control and alleviate sinus problems…at any age.
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