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If breathing in fresh spring air makes you sneeze, or sitting on a grassy hill gives you a rash, you may have a grass pollen allergy. Grass pollens are microscopic and travel easily through the air. Everyone breathes in grass pollen, but not everyone reacts to it. If you have a grass allergy and go outside on a day when pollen is in the air, you’re likely to be irritated by symptoms like watery eyes or a runny nose. Some people can also have a reaction just by touching grass. If you’re severely allergic, you could even experience anaphylaxis.
Grass pollens, like tree and weed pollens, can travel far on windy days, so your reactions may not be because of the grass growing in your yard or neighborhood. The source of your allergies could actually come from grass miles away.
There are thousands of grass types that can trigger your allergic reactions, which include:
Grass pollen is a frequent cause of allergy symptoms. Common grass allergy symptoms can include:
If you have a grass pollen allergy and have had an itchy mouth or throat after eating fresh fruit or raw vegetables, you may have Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS). OAS is a cross-reaction that can occur when someone who is allergic to grass eats certain fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts or beans and has an allergic response. For example, if you're allergic to grass, you may feel itching or swelling in your mouth after eating cantaloupe, honeydew, oranges, peanuts, peas, tomatoes or watermelon.1
You may be so used to dealing with your runny nose and irritated eyes that you might not consider asking for help. How do you know if your symptoms are caused by a grass pollen allergy or not? Testing can help your healthcare professional determine what’s behind the endless sneezing and sniffles, so don’t try to manage the problem on your own. A simple blood test—together with your medical history—can help identify underlying allergen triggers, if you have an allergy. A blood test can be done even when you are taking antihistamines.2 Knowing if you’re allergic and what you’re allergic to can help you, or a loved one, avoid or minimize symptoms.