9 symptoms of a grass allergy

Medically reviewed by Neka Miller, PhD on September 21, 2020. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.


One common culprit for allergies—grass—seems to be nearly everywhere, whether it’s your backyard, the nearby park, or soccer fields.

Grass can be hard to avoid, but how do you know if your symptoms could be related to a grass allergy or are instead due to something else?

In this article, we’ll cover common grass allergy symptoms—plus some helpful tips and treatment options that may help you better manage your symptoms during allergy season and grass pollen season—so continue reading. (Also, keep in mind: you can use an allergy test kit in the convenience of home to learn more about what specific grasses could be affecting you.)

Signs and symptoms of grass allergies

Grass allergy symptoms can be different for everyone, and their severity can range depending on the season, one’s geographic location, and the immune system’s allergic response. With that said, here are some typical signs and symptoms of a grass pollen allergy:

  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy nose, ears, eyes, and mouth
  • Stuffy nose (nasal congestion)
  • Red and watery eyes
  • Swelling around the eyes

Less common grass allergy symptoms include:

  • Skin rashes
  • Hives
  • Skin welts

Types of grass that can cause grass allergies

If you have grass allergy symptoms, you may be allergic to more than one type of grass in your environment. There are hundreds of grass types that can potentially contribute to an allergic reaction. Here are some of the most common types of grass that cause allergies:

  • Bermuda
  • Johnson
  • Kentucky
  • Orchard
  • Rye
  • Sweet Vernal
  • Timothy

How to test for grass allergies

Typically, there are two types of allergy testing available for someone who frequently suffers from an allergic reaction to grass—a simple blood test and a skin pricking test. During allergy skin prick testing, grass extracts are “pricked” on the arms or back to see if itching and bumps occur.


With the Everlywell at-home allergy test, you can check how your antibodies react with 40 common indoor and outdoor allergens—with just a simple finger prick blood sample.


Tips for managing grass allergies

Grass is practically everywhere—so whether you’re at a baseball game or a lawn picnic, it’s something that can be hard to avoid. With that in mind, here are 9 top tips to help you manage those grass allergy symptoms.

1. Limit time outdoors when pollen counts are high

When pollen counts are high, try to limit your time outdoors: grass allergies are a kind of pollen allergy (also known as hay fever or allergic rhinitis). You can check local forecasts for the daily pollen count in your area.

2. Keep your lawn mowed

Short grass is less likely to release allergy-triggering pollen, so keeping your lawn cut short can help reduce the frequency or severity of symptoms. Also, if it’s an option available to you, have your lawn mowed by someone else so you don’t have to personally expose yourself to grass pollen. And before your lawn gets mowed, don’t forget to close your windows to avoid an allergic reaction!

3. Take a shower

Wash your body and hair daily to remove excess pollen. A good rule of thumb is to make sure you've bathed before you get into bed (or you run the risk of tracking the pollen onto your pillowcase and sheets).

4. Keep windows closed

When your windows are wide open, those pesky pollen particles are more likely to sneak their way in—so keep your windows closed during grass pollen season.

5. Wash your bedding

Wash your bedding in hot water with soap once a week to ensure it stays clean and free from pollen.

6. Protect yourself

If you’re going outside, wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from pollen particles and a hat to keep your hair covered.

7. Clean clothes

After you’ve been outside where pollen particles can attach to clothing, change and wash your clothes and dry them in a clothes dryer (instead of a clothesline where they can still accumulate pollen).

8. Keep pets clean

Pet fur can trap pollen, so keep your animal friends clean and consider wiping them down before they come indoors. Keep in mind that some people also have an allergic reaction to cats, dogs, or other pets—and not just the pollen their fur collects. If that’s the case for you, you can still experience allergy symptoms even if you keep your pet clean.

9. Vacuum

Aim to vacuum and clean your floors at least once a week to rid them of pollen. Taking your shoes off before you come inside can also help you avoid dragging pollen onto the floor as you walk around your home.

Treatment options for grass allergies

In addition to the tips above, there are also some treatment options available for managing grass allergy symptoms. Here are some of them; talk with your healthcare provider to learn what treatment options they recommend for you.

  • Nasal steroid sprays: Anti-inflammatory medications that are sprayed into your nostrils
  • Nasal antihistamines: Nasal sprays that have antihistamines to help bring relief
  • Oral antihistamines: Pills that help with allergy symptoms
  • Corticosteroids: Corticosteroids (taken orally or injected) may be used when symptoms are very severe
  • Allergen immunotherapy (allergy injections or allergy shots): This helps desensitize your immune system to reduce the frequency or severity of symptoms

If you suspect you may be suffering from grass allergy symptoms, taking an allergy test may help you determine what grasses, in particular, are at fault. Our at-home allergy test kit checks for 40 common indoor and outdoor allergens, including 7 different types of grasses. Once you receive your results (viewable on our secure, online platform), you can easily share them with your healthcare provider to learn what steps you can take next to get relief.


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References

1. Allergies. Mayo Clinic. URL. Accessed September 21, 2020.

2. Pollen. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. URL. Accessed September 21, 2020.

3. Managing the Sneezing Season. NIH MedlinePlus the Magazine. URL. Accessed September 21, 2020.

4. MOWING DOWN YOUR GRASS ALLERGIES. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Imunology. URL. Accessed September 21, 2020.

5. What If You’re Allergic to Grass? 10 Steps to Managing Grass Pollen Allergy. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. URL. Accessed September 21, 2020.

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