Grass allergy is a common affliction which occurs throughout spring and summer.
Being allergic to grass is often mistaken for hay fever because the symptoms are very similar.
Grass allergy can also occur in a way similar to asthma.
Causes of grass allergy
If you suffer from grass allergy, your body cannot tolerate a certain amount of allergen, resulting in inflammation of the mucous membrane in the nasal passages.
The most common allergen or substance that triggers grass allergy is pollen, microscopic grains from the male part of a flower.
Pollen grains are so tiny and light that they can stick to the feet of butterflies, which is why they are rife in the air, especially during spring and summer when trees, flowers and plants pollinate.
If pollen grains are inhaled, they release protein when they come into contact with a moist surface. These proteins often bind with antibodies on the cell lining of the nasal passageways, resulting in the release of a substance known as histamine. Histamine causes the swelling and constriction of the nasal passageways thus making it hard for someone with a grass allergy to breathe.
Symptoms of grass allergy
The first sign of an allergic reaction to grass is usually breathing trouble, such as a dry cough which is often accompanied by a sore throat. Breathing difficulties occur because the air passages are narrowed or constricted as a result of the body's defense mechanism against grass pollen. Although uncomfortable, as it is the body's defense mechanism, it is not dangerous.
Grass allergies also have similar symptoms to hay fever, including sneezing, runny nose, itching of the skin, watery eyes and headache.
On rare occasions the sufferer may develop a fever. If fever is detected, consult your doctor immediately, as fevers indicate the presence of a viral or bacterial infection in the body and should be treated immediately.
Treatment and prevention of grass allergy
The most effective treatment for grass allergy is to avoid the allergens (usually grass pollen). It is impossible to avoid grass pollens completely, but you can limit your exposure to reduce the symptoms of grass allergies.
How to control grass allergy without missing spring and summer:
- If you are really allergic to grass pollens, stay indoors as much as possible particularly in early morning and late afternoon.
- Try to keep the windows of your home shut and consider installing air conditioning.
- Speak to your doctor about medication. Anti-histamines are a common treatment for grass allergy and there are also injections to relieve and soothe symptoms.
- When gardening, moisten potting soil before use to avoid spores.
- After gardening, always wash your hands completely and take a hot shower to eliminate any grass pollens on your body.
- Always keep your grass lawn cut short. If you have a grass lawn, avoid doing the mowing or wear a mask that is designed to filter pollen.
- Consider getting a robotic mower. These clever robotic lawnmowers mow the lawn so you don't have to, reducing the chance of allergic reaction and saving you time.