Grass pollen is a common allergy in the spring and summertime that can cause you to sneeze and cough, your nose and throat to itch and your eyes to water.

Allergic Reaction

There are as many as 1,200 different types of grasses that can be found in the United States and surrounding areas. Yet despite the widespread nature of this species, the experts explain that only a handful of them actually trigger allergies. It is not the grass itself but the pollen it contains that causes the reaction to happen. In someone with allergies, when the pollen is breathed in, the immune system responds by releasing histamine and other chemicals that can spark a variety of allergy symptoms.

Some of the biggest grass pollen culprits include: Bermuda, Johnson, Timothy, Orchard and Sweet Vernal grass, and Kentucky bluegrass.

Other Factors

In addition to certain types of grasses sparking allergies, certain weather conditions also promote higher, or lower, grass pollen levels. These variables can include the temperature, time of day and rain.

Further, how the grass is maintained can also make a big difference, according to some landscapers. Lawns that are mowed frequently are usually less of a trigger than overgrown yards and can even trap pollen from nearby bushes, plants and trees. So if you are putting off taking care of your yard, this fact may inspire you to water, mow and fertilize your lawn, since all of these factors may just make a difference in minimizing your symptoms.

With so many different grasses to choose from, landscapers suggest planting a lawn that is either won't bloom and produce pollen at all, or that will at least remain pollen free if you mow it regularly.

Other Prevention Tips

Other things you can do to minimize your reaction to grass pollen includes:

  • Wear a mask when you mow your lawn or better yet, have someone else do it.
  • Keep your grass well-maintained on a regular basis.
  • Minimize your actual lawn space and fill in some of the area with a rock garden and other allergy-free decorations.
  • Check pollen levels (you can find this information online or on the radio, television or newspaper) and stay indoors when counts are high.
  • Plan outdoor activities for late afternoon, when pollen is often lower.
  • Keep your home and car windows closed and run the air conditioning.
  • Always shower with very hot water after being outdoors. Also wash your clothes and bathe your pets often, too, since pollen can get trapped and brought inside otherwise.

Manage Your Symptoms

If you think you have a grass allergy or other seasonal symptoms, you should see your doctor to be assessed and to get a comprehensive treatment plan. Most sufferers find that a combination of approaches work best, including some of the suggestions listed above to avoid triggers, as well as preventing symptoms with prescription or over-the-counter medicines, including antihistamines, corticosteroids, decongestants and cromolyn sodium.



American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Patients and Consumers Center: Allergy and Asthma Advocate 2006 at

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, National Bureau of Allergies Pollen and Mold Count Report is accessible at