Grass Pollens Begin Second Phase Of Allergy Season
Once the tree pollens have kicked off the spring allergy season, its time for phase two of natures three-step pollination cycle to spring into high gear. The allergen waiting in the wings? Grass pollen, the primary cause of spring and summer hay fever attacks, or seasonal allergic rhinitis.
While the seasonal allergy cycle begins and ends at different times around the country lasting as long as from January to November in southern climates natures pollination pattern traditionally follows the same three phases: trees, grasses, then weeds.
During the fertilization process of these plants, lightweight airborne pollens are released and transmitted by wind to other plants. When these generally harmless substances are inhaled by those who suffer from seasonal allergic rhinitis, the body may experience an overreaction of the immune system. Once the body recognizes the pollen, the immune system goes to work, causing the tell-tale outward symptoms, including sneezing, congestion, runny nose, watery eyes, and itching in the eyes, nose and throat. Asthmatics may experience tightness in the chest, a hacking cough and difficulty breathing.
As with other plant pollens, rain and temperatures may affect the amount of pollen produced each year. Peak pollen release is during early to mid-morning hours. Dry, windy days are optimal conditions for high pollen counts.
To minimize suffering during grass pollen season, following are some allergen avoidance tips:
What Am I Allergic To
Hayfever in Australia is typically caused by pollens, many of which are not native to our country:
- Pasture grasses imported from the Northern Hemisphere produce more pollen than native grasses, and it spreads great distances by wind.
- Pollen from exotic trees, planted in Australia for their colourful leaves, is often spread by birds and bees.
- Weeds such as ragweed and asthma weed have made their way to Australia, mostly accidentally, through shipments of grass seed and other products.
What Are The Symptoms Of Being Allergic To Grass
Symptoms vary depending on individual and allergen. Some general signs accompany allergies like fatigue, running eyes or nose. You may also experience coughing after mowing.
Doctors reveal that there is a nexus between the allergen causing the reaction, point of entry or contact with the body and resulting reactions. Pollen can cause a reaction when either inhaled or when in connection with the eyes. Cut sharp grass edges and microspikes abrasively scar the skin causing contact dermatitis.
Inhaled allergens often result in nasal congestion, sneezing, coughing, watery eyes and in extreme case difficulty breathing. Irritation of the nasal cavity that brings about inflammation, dehydration or constriction of the passages. The throat is also affected and usually dries up or gets irritated.
If pollen gets in contact with your eyes, itchiness and redness may occur. Teary eyes and headache may accompany the other reactions.
Another route of entry of allergens is through surface contact. Hives, rashes and swellings are typically associated with cut grass touching on an allergic persons skin.
Heat Rash On Baby Body
Heat rash is a skin irritation caused by excessive sweating during hot, humid weather. It can occur at any age but is most common in young children. Heat rash looks like a red cluster of pimples or small blisters. It is more likely to occur on the neck and upper chest, in the groin, under the breasts, and in.
What Is Grass Pollen
Grass pollen is a fine powder-like substance. It consists of microspores produced by male parts of the grass. This pollen travels in the wind to fertilize the female parts of the grass. Grass pollen, like ragweed pollen, is very lightweight and easily spreads. This makes it much easier to breathe in and trigger allergy symptoms.
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Herbal Medicines And Allergies
Asteraceae is a family of flowering plants, including many common species, and some are used in herbal medicines. Pollen from plants in this family is a common cause of hay fever, asthma and dermatitis.
Plants from the Asteraceae family include:
- plants grown for their flowers chrysanthemums, dahlias, sunflowers, marigolds, safflower and daisies
- edible foliage plants lettuce, safflower, chicory and artichoke
- weeds ragweed, mugwort, sagebrush, wormwood, feverfew
- plants used in some herbal medicines echinacea, dandelion, chamomile, feverfew, milk thistle and wormwood.
Pollen from plants in the Asteraceae family can also cause an allergic skin reaction on contact. The pollen can be found in herbal medicines, shampoos, cosmetics and massage oils, and includes pollen from plants such as the:
Sensitisation to pollen of plants from the Asteraceae family has also been linked with allergic reactions to other substances that are similar. This is known as cross-reactivity and has caused allergic reactions to:
- plant-derived herbal medicines echinacea, royal jelly, bee pollen extracts and chamomile
- foods celery, honey, sunflower seeds, carrot, lettuce, watermelon and nuts.
When Grass Allergy Attacks: From Symptoms To Managing
For those with grass allergy, a lush lawn can be the bane of summer.
Grass allergy is one of the most common pollen allergies. In the central and northern United States and Canada, grass generally pollinates in May, June and July. Farther south, the pollen starts filling the air a couple of months earlier. If the Kleenex box is your constant companion when grass season hits, chances are, you find trouble in the turf.
Symptoms of Grass Allergy
As with all pollen allergies, those who react to grass suffer from allergic rhinitis, commonly known as hay fever. Typically youll sneeze, feel congestion and have itchy eyes and noses. The symptoms may not be as severe as they are for tree pollen allergy or ragweed allergy, because the pollen counts often arent as high. On the down side, grasses pollinate for a longer period of time, so youre bound to have many uncomfortable days.
Those contending with a grass allergy also tend to have more symptoms of conjunctivitis that is, itchy, watery eyes than those with tree or ragweed allergy, according to Dr. Harold Kim, an assistant professor in the department of clinical immunology and allergy at McMaster University in Ontario.
Its also more likely that they get swelling of the tissues around the eyes, he says.
If youve had such a reaction, Stark recommends asking your allergist to prescribe an epinephrine auto-injector.
Grass Allergy: How to Cope
But, there are ways you can protect yourself:
Medication Relief for Grass Allergy
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What Are The Worst Months For Pollen
This is something of a subjective question. For one thing, not everyone is allergic to the same types of pollen, so different months along the pollen season spectrum might affect them differently. In addition, those who have additional allergies such as animal dander or dust might have a harder time than those with only hay fever.
Can You Be Allergic To Fresh Cut Grass
Mostly during spring when the high grass pollen is blowing over large swathes of land, certain people get headaches after cutting grass or hay fever. Most get their reaction from either inhaling the dust or when they come in contact with their eyes. Cut grass can also result in allergies especially when long and pollen-laden.
Another particular group of people end up having reactions when they come into contact with grass during mowing, dethatching or just a day out in the lawn. Small spikes which wade off other insects in grass forms causes abrasions in the skin resulting in hives or rashes.
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Pollution Climate Change And Allergies
Although air pollution is not believed to cause allergic reactions, it may be a factor, according to Larche. Pollution irritates the membranes in breathing passages and then the proteins released by pollens are more likely to cause an allergic reaction. Also, pollens can stick to the airborne pollutants, increasing the likelihood they will get inside our bodies.
A 2011 research paper by Lewis Ziska, et. al., reports that in North America, the ragweed season is getting longer, especially in more northerly latitudes. Between 1995 and 2009, the length of the ragweed season increased by 27 days in Saskatoon and 25 days in Winnipeg.
The researchers say this may be related to climate change, the theory being that warming is happening sooner as we approach the poles, resulting in a longer growing season.
Whether there is a connection between climate change and the steadily increasing number of people with allergies a number that doubles nearly every decade is uncertain. “We don’t know enough about climate change to make any of these statements about that being a factor in the rise of allergy,” Judah Denburg said.
Getting Help For Allergies
See a GP if you think you or your child might have had an allergic reaction to something.
The symptoms of an allergic reaction can also be caused by other conditions.
A GP can help determine whether it’s likely you have an allergy.
If they think you might have a mild allergy, they can offer advice and treatment to help manage the condition.
If your allergy is particularly severe or it’s not clear what you’re allergic to, they may refer you to an allergy specialist for testing and advice about treatment.
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Is Grass Allergy The Same As Hay Fever
Hay allergy and hay fever are not the same thing. The term hay fever is a bit of a misnomer and is formally known as allergic rhinitis. People with allergic rhinitis may have a runny nose, sneezing, coughing, or itchy red and watery eyes. Allergic rhinitis is often caused by grass allergies.
What You Need To Know About Grass Allergies
Many people love the smell of fresh cut grass. But for people with allergies, it can put a damper on the warmer weather months. Here are some key things to keep in mind about grass allergies.
If you have an allergy to grass, youre most likely allergic to grass pollen. Very rarely, people might have an allergy to the grass leaf, in which case a reaction occurs when the skin comes into contact with grass.
There are some things you can do to avoid grass pollen, including:
- Monitor pollen and mold counts. Local weather reports typically include this information.
- Keep windows and doors shut at home and in your car as much as possible.
- Stay inside when pollen counts tend to be highest.
- Take a shower, wash your hair, and change your clothes after youve been working or playing outdoors.
- Wear a dust mask rated N95 by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health when mowing the lawn or doing other outdoor chores, and take appropriate medication beforehand.
Here are a couple things that do not work well for people with grass allergies:
- Planting rocks instead of grass. Grass pollen floats in the air for hundreds of miles, so whats in your yard is relatively unimportant. Its the tall grass growing in fields and ditches that sends out pollens.
- Theres actually no populated area in the world without grasses, except in Greenland. And relocating there may not be so practical.
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What Is Grass Allergy
Grass allergy occurs when a person has an allergic reaction after being exposed to pollen from grasses at certain times of the year.
Grass pollen spreads when blown by the wind. Common grass species that cause grass allergy include:
- Annual blue/winter grass
- Kentucky blue or June grass
- Timothy grass
Other plants that commonly cause allergies include pellitory weed , Patersons curse, ragweed and parthenium weed.
Australian native grasses are less likely to cause allergies than those introduced from overseas, exotic or lawn-variety grasses.
Faqs About Grass Allergies
If you suffer from an allergy, you are certainly not alone. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America , allergies affect more than 50 million people in the United States each year. Many of these allergies are outdoor allergies that return during certain seasons.
These types of allergies are often triggered by pollen, which is a powdery substance found in plants that is made up of microscopic grains. If you have an outdoor allergy to a certain plant, youre not actually allergic to the plant itself. Rather, youre allergic to the pollen that the plant produces.
One such pollen that you may be allergic to is the pollen that comes from certain grasses. Since grass pollinates in the late spring, which is usually April through early June, this time period is when those who suffer from grass allergies notice their symptoms. In the state of Illinois, grass pollen allergy season is typically May through June but can appear earlier depending on the year and weather. Grass season overlaps with tree pollen season whereas most weeds pollinate in the late summer.
If you want to know more about grass allergies, here are the answers to five frequently asked questions.
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Pollen Allergy Peak Seasons In The Uk
Seasonal allergic rhinitis, commonly known as hayfever, is caused by exposure to grass pollen, tree pollen and other plant pollen which is released into the air.
In the UK pollen exposure is most common in the spring and summer months, but different species of plant pollinate at different times of year, so some individuals may experience symptoms at specific times and none at others.
Sufferers of allergic rhinitis are advised to limit their exposure to airborne pollen as far as possible during the months in which they are affected. Some strategies which may help include:
- Reviewing local weather reports including pollen counts and limiting time spent outside when the count is high.
- Avoiding drying laundry outdoors, particularly clothes and bedding, when pollen counts are high.
- Keeping doors and windows closed during peak months for pollen exposure.
- Avoiding gardening, lawn mowing and other outdoor work during peak months for pollen exposure.
The exact timing, peak, and severity of pollen release will vary from year to year according to the specific weather conditions, with wind, temperature and rainfall all having some effect.
Keeping A Record Of Your Symptoms
Keep a diary that describes your symptoms and when and where they occur. Your diary could include information about whether your symptoms occur:
- inside your home, outside or both
- for a short time or longer
- at night, during the day or when you wake up
- at a particular time of the year
- near animals
- after you have been stung or bitten by an insect
- after you have had a particular food or drink
- after you have taken a particular medication, either prescription or over the counter from a pharmacy or supermarket
- after you have taken a herbal medicine.
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Talking About The Weather
What’s the spring allergy outlook where you live? Will sudden temperature changes trigger an asthma flare? Weather can play a key role in asthma and allergy symptoms and flu transmission. We partnered with Weather Trends International to provide weather forecasting and analysis for people with asthma and allergies.
- Sneezing, and runny, stuffy, or itchy nose
- Red, watery, itchy, or puffy eyes
- Rash, hives, or welts
- Cough, chest tightness, congestion, wheezing or shortness of breath if asthma is triggered by grass allergy
What Are The Options For Grass Allergy Treatment
Treatment options for grass allergy may include over-the-counter and prescription antihistamines and anti-inflammatory nasal sprays. Ideally, you should start these about two weeks before you typically develop seasonal allergy symptoms.
Immunotherapy is available for certain types of grass allergy. This involves introducing a small amount of the allergen into your body to help you become less sensitive to it. This can be done through subcutaneous immunotherapy , or allergy shots, which are given at an allergists office.
Sublingual immunotherapy is the other kind of immunotherapy. SLIT is a small tablet that dissolves under your tongue. The first dose is given in your allergists office, but then you can take the tablet at home.
Symptoms And Treatment Of Grass Allergy
Does breathing in the fresh air of a beautiful spring day trigger itchy eyes and a runny nose? Or do you experience an itchy rash by simply sitting on a grassy hill?
If so, you may be experiencing a grass allergy. This type of allergy is common and can occur from breathing in grass pollen or, in some people, by direct skin exposure to grass.
Interestingly, grass allergy can also be associated with fruit pollen syndrome, resulting in food allergies to tomatoes, potatoes, and peanuts.
How Do You Choose The Best Over
Ask the pharmacist to recommend a “second generation” antihistamine. Claritin and Zyrtec are common brand names, but there are others. Dr. Bring said to check for ingredients such as cetirizine, fexofenadine and loratadine.
He said he often recommends using one brand for awhile for some relief, and if it seems to stop working as well, try another.
Over-the-counter nasal sprays can also help.
And as for home remedies, Bring said that though the research isn’t as definitive on the benefit of nasal saline rinses, people say they sometimes offer relief.
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When Is Pollen Season Over
According to Comprehensive Allergy NYC, most of the spring and summer pollen allergies usually die down around September or October. Tree pollen, which can start as early as February, is usually gone by May, but grass pollen might persist through the high temperatures of July and August.
Fungus and mold spores often begin to churn up just as grass allergies begin to come to a close. At the same time, weed pollen begins to rear its ugly head. As the winds rise and the fall starts to roll in, molds, weeds, and fungus begin to take root in our slowly dying garden beds and piles of leaves. Ragweed, the most common fall allergy, might even continue into November and the effects and spread of that pollen might be made worse by particularly wet or windy autumns.