Grass is everywhere, and it’s hard to avoid. From baseball parks to backyards, you can expect to encounter some type of grass while going about your day. But how do you know if a grass allergy is causing your allergy symptoms?
Besides testing for your specific allergic triggers, there are 9 grass allergy symptoms to watch out for. Once you determine grass triggers your allergies, the tips below can help you manage symptoms during peak allergy and grass pollen season.
What Types of Grass Cause Grass Allergies?
Not all grasses are the same, and some can trigger allergic reactions more than others. You might also be allergic to more than one type. Since there are hundreds of grass species that can trigger allergies, let’s look at the most common culprits:
- Johnson: a fast-growing perennial that can grow up to 7 feet
- Bermuda: most commonly used for lawns
- Kentucky: grows vigorously during cold seasons
- Orchard: a pasture, hay, and forage grass
- Rye: germinates faster than other common lawn grass
- Timothy: often found in meadows
- Sweet Vernal: used for lawns and as houseplants; known for its sweet scent
Recognizing Grass Allergy Symptoms
As with any allergy, symptoms vary from person to person. Severity can depend on geographic location, time of the year, and your immune system’s response. Treatments are available, but first, let’s review the 9 symptoms:
- Runny nose
- Nasal congestion (stuffy nose)
- Itchy mouth, eyes, ears, and/or nose
- Red and/or watery eyes
- Skin rashes
- Puffy eyes
If you’re a frequent sufferer of grass allergies, a simple blood or a skin pricking test can give you insight into your triggers. The skin pricking text involves ‘pricking’ the skin with grass extracts to see if a reaction occurs. Wyndly also provides a convenient at-home testing kit that looks for both indoor and outdoor triggers.
How Can I Manage Grass Allergy Symptoms?
Allergies don’t have to take over your life. With a few lifestyle changes, you can minimize reactions and prevent allergies from ruining your day.
1. Mow Your Lawn
The shorter the grass, the less likely it is to release pollen. By simply mowing your lawn on a regular schedule, you can reduce the severity and frequency of symptoms. Remember to wear a mask and to close your windows to keep pollen from getting inside. Or, if you can, hire a landscaper so you don’t expose yourself while the grass is cut.
2. Shower Before Bed
Pollen is so tiny that it can easily stick to clothes, hair, and skin. Though most people shower in the morning, when you suffer from allergies, it’s better to shower when you get home or right before bed. This will wash any pollen from your body you picked up outside and prevent it from transferring to your couch, pillowcase, or bedsheets.
3. When Pollen Counts Are High, Limit Outdoor Time
Unless you have Sweet Vernal as an indoor plant, chances are your highest grass exposure will be outdoors. Since grass allergies are a type of pollen allergy, check your local forecasts for the daily pollen count in your area.
4. Wash Your Bedding Weekly
Have you ever woken in the morning to discover you have a stuffy nose or other allergy symptoms? You may have pollen on your bedding. Grass pollen sticks to people and to fabrics, so cleaning your sheets at least weekly will keep less pollen in the air, which means there will be less to breathe in while you sleep.
5. Close the Windows
When temperatures warm in the Spring, it’s tempting to open your windows to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. But grass pollen particles can easily float in, leading to symptoms indoors. When pollen counts are high, and during grass pollen season, keep your windows closed.
6. Brush and Bathe Your Pets
Pet fur can easily trap pollen and carry it indoors. Before your pet comes inside, brush their fur. You can also bathe your pet regularly, which is not only good for them but also good for your allergies. However, if you’re still experiencing allergy symptoms after cleaning your pet, talk to your doctor about a possible pet allergy.
7. Stay Protected Outdoors
When you can, wear clothing that covers your arms and legs to avoid any skin reactions. You can also wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from pollen. And a hat is an easy way to keep pollen out of your hair.
Try to mop your floors and vacuum carpet at least once a week. This will minimize pollen in your home. You can also remove your shoes before entering so you don’t deposit pollen from outside.
9. Clean Your Clothes
When you get home, an easy fix for lowering pollen in your home is changing your clothes. This will help keep pollen that’s on your clothes from adhering to furniture. It’s also a good idea to wash your clothes regularly and dry them in a dryer (avoid outdoor clotheslines where pollen can float onto drying garments).
What Are the Best Treatment Options for Grass Allergies?
When lifestyle changes aren’t enough, medications (like over-the-counter antihistamines) and other treatments can offer relief. Talk with your doctor to find out which options are the best fit.
- Nasal or oral antihistamines: an antihistamine works by blocking histamine release in your body, the chemical that triggers allergy symptoms. Antihistamines can be taken via a nasal spray or through a pill.
- Nasal steroid sprays: an anti-inflammatory medication that can reduce swelling and mucus in airways.
- Corticosteroids: this type of treatment is reserved for severe allergies. Corticosteroids can be taken orally or injected via a shot.
- Allergen immunotherapy: also known as an allergy injection or allergy shot, this treatment can teach your immune system to stop reacting to your allergic triggers, reducing the frequency or severity of symptoms. For some people, immunotherapy can stop their allergies for good.
Allergy Relief that Lasts
Wyndly offers sublingual immunotherapy for those who are ready for change. As mentioned above, immunotherapy exposes your body to small doses of your worst allergens, training your body over time to stop responding. This can lead to long-term allergy relief. After a simple test, our experts will build your unique allergen profile and create a treatment plan.
Are you ready for a life without allergies? Begin today with a personalized treatment plan.
- Allergies. Mayo Clinic. URL. Accessed September 21, 2020.
- Pollen. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. URL. Accessed September 21, 2020.
- Managing the Sneezing Season. NIH MedlinePlus the Magazine. URL. Accessed September 21, 2020.
- Mowing Down Your Grass Allergies. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. URL. Accessed September 21, 2020.
- What If You’re Allergic to Grass? 10 Steps to Managing Grass Pollen Allergy. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. URL. Accessed September 21, 2020.