What Kind of Grass Do I Have?
What You Need to Know About Grass Allergies
Know Your Treatment Options
Since you can’t avoid grass pollen altogether, you should prepare for it. Fortunately, there are several options.
Antihistamines are drugs that help relieve allergy symptoms by blocking the chemical histamine, which your body produces when you have an allergic reaction. Nasal steroid sprays that relieve inflammation and congestion are available both over-the-counter and by prescription. There are also antihistamine and nasal steroid spray combinations on the market.
For people with severe allergies who can’t stand the thought of frequent allergy shots, prescription tablets can be taken orally. You should consult an allergist to determine what treatment might work best for you.
If you’re allergic to grass, you may also have a reaction to certain fruits and vegetables. Oral allergy syndrome, also known as pollen-food syndrome, is caused by cross-reacting allergens found in pollen as well as raw fruits, vegetables, and some tree nuts. People who are allergic to grass pollen sometimes experience an itchy mouth, scratchy throat, or swelling of the lips, mouth, tongue, and throat when they eat foods such as celery, melons, oranges, peaches, and tomatoes. The symptoms usually go away quickly once you swallow or remove the food from your mouth. Cooking fruits and vegetables can also help.
When it comes to freshly cut lawns, grass pollen probably isn’t what’s causing your symptoms, as most lawn grass is cut long before it pollinates. What mowing your lawn does do is stir up mold and dust. If you have to cut the grass, cover up with a hat, gloves, face mask, and long sleeves. And when you’re done, take a shower.
Remember that a board-certified allergist is trained to identify your triggers and can help you develop a plan to deal with grass or other allergies. To find an allergist in your area, the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology offers an online allergist locator.
Bob Lanier, MD, is an executive medical director and a past president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. He is a practicing allergist in Fort Worth, Texas.
Photo, top: Getty Images
Photo, bottom: Provided by Bob Lanier
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