In women, it is the menopause that takes the first blame, during which a decrease in oestrogen levels causes changes in the skin - it becomes less flexible, thinner, more ‘paper-like’. The moisture of the mucous membranes is also reduced, which results in a dry feeling, e.g. in the eyes, nose or throat. In the process of ageing, the salivary glands work progressively worse, and a decrease in salivary secretion means that the mucous membrane of the mouth and throat is less hydrated, which in seniors becomes pale, thin and atrophic . Xerostomia, or dryness of the oral and pharyngeal mucosa, may occur in the ageing process and is reported in 5.5-46% of the population (more common in women and the elderly) . Saliva plays a significant protective role in the oral cavity – a decrease in its secretion increases the risk of diseases of the oral cavity and throat; it also facilitates penetration of the mucous membrane by viruses.
Possible causes of xerostomia include:
- changes in salivary gland function related to the ageing process
- use of drugs (including diuretics, antidepressants and anxiolytic drugs, blood pressure lowering drugs, antihistamines, cytostatic drugs, antibiotics – about 400 drugs may cause xerostomia symptoms) 
- use of dentures
- stress, anxiety and depression
- deficiency of group B vitamins
It is estimated that 25% of people over the age of 65 suffer from xerostomia.
Your nose is dry too
It is worth remembering that seniors also suffer from dryness of the nasal mucous membranes, because as the body ages, changes occur also in its area. Among other things, mucociliary transport time is prolonged and the frequency of ciliary beats of the respiratory epithelium is reduced, rhinitis associated with atrophic changes in the nasal mucosa and with non-specific hypersensitivity of the nasal mucosa often occurs . In elderly people typical age-related changes in nasal mucosa are observed in the form of mucosal atrophy, atrophy of mucosal glands and smell impairment. In elderly seniors, hormonal and metabolic disorders may be the cause of nasal mucosal atrophy. There are also atrophic changes in blood vessels, which may lead to nosebleeds .
Extra protection (not only) in a pandemic
Problems with dryness and atrophy of nasal and oral/throat mucous membranes in seniors carry another health risk, which is important especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. A dry mucous membrane makes it easier for viruses to penetrate the mucous membrane of the nose and mouth, which increases the risk of contracting colds, flu and COVID-19 – their viruses attack the upper respiratory tract and enter our bodies through the nose and mouth (the nose is the leading route).
Supporting seniors will be the new medical device – Bloxivir in the form of nasal and oral spray gels. It provides extra protection against viruses thanks to substances proven to work in clinical trials.
- sodium hyaluronate
These substances coat the mucous membrane with additional layer of mucus, which makes Bloxivir support the natural barrier properties of the nasal mucosa and provides a mechanical barrier against the penetration and multiplication of pathogens into the body. Importantly for seniors, Bloxivir also prevents mucosal dryness and irritation caused by environmental factors that can make it easier for viruses to enter cells and multiply.
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 Zielińska-Bliźniewska H., Olszewski J.: Przyczyny suchości błony śluzowej gardła [Causes of dryness of the pharyngeal mucosa] Medycyna po Dyplomie. 2019.09.
 Skiba M., Kusa-Podkańska M., Wysokińska-Miszczuk J.: Wpływ stanu jamy ustnej na jakość życia osób w starszym wieku [The impact of oral health on quality of life in the elderly] Gerontologia Polska, vol. 13, no. 4, 250–254 ISSN 1425–4956.
 Jurkiewicz D.: Najczęstsze problemy otolaryngologiczne u pacjentów w wieku podeszłym [The most common otolaryngological problems in elderly patients] Medycyna po Dyplomie 2011 (20); 11 (188): 92-96.