Those who suffer from grass allergies will notice symptoms peaking somewhere in late spring to summer. Grass begins its fastest growth once the air warms and the days lengthen. Its periods of extreme growth are when it spreads the largest amount of pollen into the air.
Grass pollen is microscopic. It’s invisible to allergy sufferers and even a tiny amount can trigger an allergic reaction.
What are the symptoms of grass allergies?
Like many allergies, the histamines produced by the body when in contact with grass pollen cause symptoms that are similar to hay fever. These symptoms include:
- Runny nose
- Watery eyes
- Itchy eyes
- Internal itching (in sinuses, chest, etc.)
Mucous secreted during an allergic reaction is often thin and clear as opposed to the thick, green or brown mucous secreted during a cold or infection. It drains frequently, and congestion is mild.
Allergic conjunctivitis is inflammation of the whites of the eyes due to allergies. It is the cause of watery and itchy eyes. Other mucous membranes may begin to feel itchy during an allergy attack, and sufferers may develop a cough that helps to overcome itchiness.
What causes an allergic reaction to grass?
Where flower pollen is spread by insects, the microscopic, powdery pollen from growing grass is spread by the air to assist growth. When grass is in its most hearty state of growth, it produces more pollen than it can use. This extra pollen enters the air you breathe, creating a toxic environment for allergy sufferers.
Those who are predisposed to grass pollen allergies begin to produce extra histamine when they ingest grass pollen. Histamine helps to regulate physiological functions such as sleep and digestion. Human bodies cannot handle large amounts of histamine, so when extra histamine is introduced, it will try to counteract.
The symptoms of an allergic reaction are a result of your body’s reaction to extra histamine. The inflammatory response, which causes the unpleasant symptoms of allergic reaction, is intended to flush the toxins, or grass pollen, out of your body. It causes:
This is a relaxing and widening of the pathways in the vascular system. Wide passageways allow your body to carry toxins out of your blood more efficiently.
- Fluid Secretion
Toxins, including grass pollen, become trapped in mucous. Once your body detects that you’ve collected a large amount of mucous, you are compelled to expel it.
While uncomfortable, your body’s reaction to grass pollen is its way to ensuring that pollen does not damage your body.
Types of Grass That Cause Allergies
Not all grasses are prone to causing allergic reactions. Be sure to read our Guide to Texas Grass if you want to know more about grass. The most common culprits for inciting grass allergies are:
- Bermuda Grass
Native to the middle east and cultivated in warm climates, it is considered an invasive species in some areas.
Also known as Redtop Grass, it is sometimes used on lawns and is especially useful for golf greens and fairways.
- Johnson Grass
Most growth is in Europe and the Middle East, but it is also present in parts of North America.
- Timothy Grass
A Mediterranean grass also known as Cat’s Tail introduced to the U.S. in the early 18th century.
- Kentucky Bluegrass
Grows in fertile, well-drained soil in pastures. It is also used for parks gardens in cooler areas of the U.S.
- Sweet Vernal Grass
Grown in lawns and even inside houses due to its characteristic sweet smell and grainy texture.
- Orchard Grass
A bluegrass that grows in dense bundles with large, triangular heads.
- Rye Grass
Tufted grass that grows in pastures for livestock grazing and is also used in lawns in some areas.
How can I treat and prevent grass allergies?
Find out for sure what is causing your allergies first. A doctor will be able to determine if exposure to grass pollen is the true underlying cause of your discomfort.
Stay Away From Allergic Triggers
Stay inside on windy days during the warm seasons and wear face protection if you are gardening or cutting the lawn.
If you are in a high-risk area for allergic reaction, stop symptoms before they start with antihistamines. Be careful when operating machinery.
Keep Your Lawn Short
If you keep grass from growing too high, it won’t be able to over pollenate and will release less pollen into the air. Austin, TX residents choose Just Right Lawns for mowing services.
Try Allergy Therapy
Immunotherapy is a widening field of allergy treatment. Shots or tablets can help you treat or even eliminate your allergy symptoms.
Be aware of the grass in your area, watch daily pollen counts, and take steps to stop pollen from entering your system to ensure that you don’t have to suffer through grass allergies again.