Here's How To Tell If You're Allergic To Grass

Of all the things one can be allergic to — cats, nuts, bee stings — grass may seem like a strange one. It's no secret that springtime often aggravates allergies, but grass is pretty much with us all year round. If you find yourself experiencing allergy symptoms whenever you brave the outdoors, it's possible that your own front lawn may be the culprit.

Interestingly enough, a grass allergy is not actually an allergy to grass itself. Instead, the allergic reaction is stimulated by the pollen the grass gives off during the fertilization process (via the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America). Those with a grass allergy will find that they're not universally allergic to all grass, but more so, certain types of grass that are native to certain regions (via the Allergy & Asthma Network). Within the United States, common species of grass found in northern states include Rye, Johnson, and Kentucky Blue. In the southern states, Bermuda, Centipede, and Bahia species of grass can be found. Of these varieties and many more, people most often experience allergic reactions to Bermuda, Johnson, Rye, and Kentucky grass, amongst others.

With springtime triggering so many allergic reactions, how can you tell if it's grass that's causing your sneezing and itchy eyes?

Diagnosing a grass allergy

One indicator that you may have a grass allergy is if you experience symptoms, such as a runny nose, stuffiness, watery eyes, swelling around the eyes, itchiness in the mouth or throat, or worsening asthma symptoms (via Medical News Today). You may need to pay particular attention to the conditions under which you experience these symptoms. For example, allergy symptoms are generally less severe on bad weather days with rain or little wind.

To determine whether you have a grass allergy, consider visiting your doctor. Medical experts can administer 2 different tests to determine a diagnosis. The first involves a prick of the skin and administering a sample of the allergen directly onto the skin's surface to see if a physical allergic reaction takes place. The second test involves a blood test to determine the presence of antibodies, according to Medical News Today.

Although an allergic reaction may not be 100% preventable, there are precautions one can take. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, be sure to keep up with regular lawn mowing. Keeping grass short will reduce the transmission of pollen in the air. Additionally, opt for A/C over opening a window during pollen season. Lastly, keep clothes and bedding clean. Promptly removing your shoes and washing your clothes after time spent outdoors, as well as bathing before bedtime, will help prevent the transfer of pollen to sheets and bedding. Be sure to wash your bedding weekly as well.