Nothing to Sneeze At: Allergy prevention and management for the whole family

April 3, 2013 Amir L Bastawrous

“Cough, cough!” “Achooooo!” “Wheeeeeeze!” The sounds of spring are all around us and the woes of allergy season are plaguing many of us. With the weather warming, you and your loved ones are likely spending a lot of time outside. Though the stuffy nose, dry throat and scratchy eyes may seem like a seasonal nuisance you and your family just have to get through, there are solutions. Here are some tips to keep you from suffering through this beautiful but allergy-ridden time of year (to watch the video click here).

Seasonal allergies, often called hay fever or allergic rhinitis (swelling of the nasal passages) vary season to season but can be brought on by pollens, grasses, molds and dust. Right now, in Western Washington the culprit is likely pollen from the trees that have exploded with fresh foliage. Of course, there are many other allergens and the only true way to know what is causing your, your partner’s or your children’s sniffles and sneezes is to talk to a health-care provider.  And if hay fever is getting the best of you this spring, you may find some relief from the following:

  • Limiting your time outside limits the allergens you breathe in. Less allergens = less sneezing, coughing and dry/itchy eyes.
  • Leave windows closed in your home and car to keep allergens from moving in with you and your loved ones.
  • Avoid outdoor activities like mowing the lawn or raking leaves that rile up allergens.
  • Wash your hair and clothes after being outside (i.e. a family picnic, gardening or going to a sporting event).
  • Avoid leaving sheets and other linens outside to dry where they will collect allergens. 
  • Install an air filter in your home that can help trap the allergens that do make it inside.

If these don’t work or if they just don’t fit with your lifestyle, you can also try the following in the form of nasal sprays, pills and eye drops (if soothing a child’s allergies, consult with their doctor first):

  • Corticosteroids (prescribed by your health-care provider)

  • Antihistamines (options like Claritin, Allegra, and Visine-A are available at pharmacies and grocery stores)

  • Decongestants (options like Sudafed and Visine can be found at your local pharmacy)

There are also a number of alternative therapies like rinsing your sinuses that you may want to consider under the advice of your health-care provider. However you choose to treat your allergies, just make sure that that is what you are treating. Colds and sinus infections can have similar symptoms as allergies but they are treated differently. Want to learn the difference and get some clinical help treating your allergies? Attend “Allergies: Management and Treatment Options” at Swedish Redmond on April 25 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. To learn more and to register, visit or call 206-386-2502.

Spring brings welcomed warmth and beautiful blooms so nip those allergies in the bud so you and your family can enjoy them!

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