4 Types of Common Grass Allergies

Various types of grass allergies are caused by grasses commonly found in residential areas. As a part of the grass’ life cycle, pollen is released into the surrounding air during some seasons. Plant pollen isn't visible to the naked eye and easily enters our homes. Once it enters our respiratory system, an allergic reaction is highly likely. Usual reactions include sneezing, coughing, a running and/or itching nose, watery eyes, and the likelihood of severe respiratory problems in people susceptible to extreme allergic reactions.

Reactions to grass pollen are more likely in dry, hot climates where the pollen can travel faster and to a greater extent. Wet, humid climates, such as places where morning dew is quite heavy, tend to dampen and hamper the spread of pollen. However, not all types of grass cause allergies. Here are some of the most common types of grass allergies and the identifying factors of each.

1. Rye Grass Allergy

A close-up of rye grass.

Rye grass is a preferred lawn grass. Perennial rye grass is commonly referred to as tufted grass. This grass is popular for its compact growth pattern that helps to establish a thick, green cover.

Rye grass allergies can be very severe. These allergies are capable of causing Anaphylaxis, which is a life-threatening medical condition during which the respiratory airways are inflamed and breathing is extremely labored, leading to wheezing attacks and chances of dizziness or low blood pressure. Such allergic reactions can happen within minutes of allergen or pollen exposure. Rye grass allergies are best treated with over-the-counter antihistamines and inhalers can provide temporary relief from asthma-like symptoms.

2. Orchard Grass Allergies

Orchard grass is usually found around fruit trees, grown as both ornamental and ground cover grass. Like most grasses, orchard grass usually sheds its pollen during the spring and summer seasons. Orchard grass allergy symptoms are usually not very severe, though some individuals might exhibit serious respiratory problems.

3. Tall Grass Allergy

Pampas grass in a backyard.

Tall grasses are among the most common sources of grass pollen allergies in North American nations like Canada and the United States. Along with homes, tall grass is likely to be found in places like school playgrounds and parks. Common grasses in this niche include Pampas grass and Big bluestem grass. Unlike rye grass, tall grasses can easily grow to more than five feet in height. The taller, uncut grass is likely to contain more pollen that raises the chances of inducing an allergic reaction. Further, tall grass is susceptible of harboring many fungal spores or molds that are capable of causing allergic reactions. People who have a history of hay fever attacks or those diagnosed with allergic rhinitis are more likely to suffer from tall grass allergies. Tall grass allergies induce the typical allergic reactions mentioned above, while some folks might even develop hives upon making contact with such grass.

4. Bermuda Grass Allergies

Bermuda grass is among the most common of residential grasses due to it's durable attributes. It's able to withstand heavy abuse and recuperate easily, making it ideal for playgrounds, parks, and other areas that experience heavy foot traffic. It also tolerates heat well, and is drought-resistant. That said, it does require full-sun and good drainage to thrive. A Bermuda grass allergy can vary from being mild to being very severe. Apart from the usual symptoms, the affected individual might develop a temporary inflammation of the eyes called conjunctivitis or hives-like skin allergies that need medical treatment.

How to Combat Grass Allergies

The most obvious way to combat a grass allergy is to avoid being around the grass in the first place. However, that's easier said than done and pollen can easily enter your living space without you even knowing it. During seasons of pollination (the spring and summer months) you can check the local pollen forecast and pollen count to know if you should avoid spending time outside. You can also keep your lawn cut short to diminish the grass' ability to pollinate. When the lawn is being cut, close all windows to your home to prevent extra pollen from entering.