June Is Grass Pollen Month: All You Need To Know!

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June is key grass pollen month in many areas.

People with seasonal allergies will feel symptoms.

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Rain, time of day and temps all affect pollen level.

Google pollen in your city/state, so you’re aware when levels are high.

Today, they’re “Very High” in most areas.

Prevention is BEST, so be sure to make a note of what you can do to avoid allergic reactions to grass.

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What Is a Grass Pollen Allergy?

If your allergies are worse in the spring and summer time, you may have a grass pollen allergy.

Grasses are the most common cause of allergy. Each year, plants (including grasses) release tiny pollen grains to fertilize other plants of the same species. Unfortunately for people with grass allergies, these pollens trigger allergic reactions.

Symptoms of grass pollen allergy include:

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

You may not see the grass pollen in the air, but your body can react to even small amounts.

Many people know pollen allergy as “hay fever.” Experts usually refer to pollen allergy as “seasonal allergic rhinitis.”

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What Types of Grasses Cause Allergy Symptoms?

If you have a grass pollen allergy, you may be allergic to more than one type of grass.

There are hundreds of types of grasses, but only a few are responsible for allergy symptoms. Your geographic location may determine which grasses may be responsible for your symptoms.

The most common types of grasses that cause allergies are:

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

When Is the Grass Pollen Season?

In northern regions of the United States, grasses usually pollinate in the late spring or early summer. In southern regions, grasses may pollinate throughout many seasons and could trigger symptoms throughout the year.

These small, light and dry grass pollen grains are released into the air and can travel for hundreds of miles by the wind.

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How Can I Prevent Allergic Reactions to Grass?

Here are ten ways you can reduce allergic reactions to grass pollen:

  1. Limit your outdoor activities when pollen counts are high. Check your local forecast and pollen count every day. On high grass pollen count days, aim for some indoor activities like seeing a movie.
  2. Keep the lawn cut short. If possible, ask someone else to mow the lawn. Most grass pollen comes from the flowery top of tall grass. If you keep your lawn short, it is less likely to release pollen. Close all your house windows before someone mows your lawn.
  3. Keep windows closed during pollen season and use central air conditioning with a HEPA filter. This applies both to your home and to any vehicle (car, bus, train, etc.).
  4. Bathe and shampoo your hair daily before going to bed. This will remove pollen from your hair and skin and keep it off your bedding.
  5. Wash bedding in hot, soapy water once a week.
  6. Wear sunglasses and a hat. This will help keep pollen out of your eyes and off your hair. You can also wear long pants if you will be in contact with grasses.
  7. Change and wash clothes worn during outdoor activities.
  8. Dry your clothes in a clothes dryer, not on an outdoor line.
  9. If you have furry pets, wipe their fur off with a towel before entering your home. Also, keep pets out of your bedroom and off your bed.
  10. Start an allergy treatment.allergy10

How Can I Manage My Grass Allergy Symptoms?

The first step is to get properly tested and diagnosed. Once your doctor/allergist knows what specific allergens cause your symptoms, he or she can work with you to create a plan.

There are over-the-counter and prescription pills, liquids or nasal sprays that can help reduce or prevent grass allergy symptoms.

These medicines include antihistamines, decongestants and nasal corticosteroids.

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Most allergy medicines work best when you start taking them before pollen season begins. This allows the medicine to prevent your body from releasing histamine and other chemicals that cause your symptoms.

However, many people with pollen allergy do not get complete relief from these medicines. This means they may be candidates for immunotherapy.

Immunotherapy is a long-term treatment that can help prevent or reduce the severity of allergic reactions. It can change the course of allergic disease by modifying the body’s immune response to allergens.

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There are two types of immunotherapy available for grass allergy: allergy shots and allergy tablets.

  • Allergy Shots – Subcutaneous Immunotherapy (SCIT) is administered at the doctor’s office. It involves getting injections of allergens in an increasing dosage over time.During the course of immunotherapy, a person with grass allergy becomes progressively less sensitive to that allergen.

    Patients may experience relief within one to three years of starting SCIT. The most common side effects for SCIT include local reactions at the injection site, such as redness, itching, swelling, tenderness and pain.

    Less common systemic reactions may include generalized redness, hives, itching, swelling, wheezing and low blood pressure.

  • Allergy Tablets – Sublingual Immunotherapy (SLIT) is a more recent form of immunotherapy that can be done at home.It is needle-free, and involves placing a tablet containing the allergen under the tongue for 1 to 2 minutes and then swallowing it.

    Treatment begins prior to the grass allergy season and continues throughout the grass allergy season. By taking these tablets every day, you may reduce your grass allergy symptoms.

    This treatment offers people with these allergies a potential alternative to allergy shots. SLIT tablets also have side effects and some may be serious, which is why it’s important to talk with your doctor about your treatment options.

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Both forms of allergy immunotherapy (shots and tablets) are prescribed by your doctor. Talk to your health care provider to get started on your allergy treatment plan.

Courtesy The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America 

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Cool Allergy Relief Tip

Nearly 20% of Americans will suffer from Spring allergies.

Dr. David Lang, an allergist at Cleveland Clinic brings us a “cool” tip.  He says one of the easiest things you can do this time of year to ease allergies is turn up the AC.

“Air conditioning is a major measure that can be effective.  With the air conditioner on and windows closed, you cut down your indoor pollen count by 90 percent or more.  So air conditioning in buildings and cars is key for reducing level of symptoms, medication reliance.”

Dr. Lang recommends seeing an allergist if symptoms don’t respond to natural or over the counter remedies, and interfere with daily functioning.  Right now, tree and grass pollen are at their peak.  Children and pets can be affected too.

Symptoms of Grass Allergies:

Irritated Nose, Throat and Eyes

  • People who suffer from grass allergies may suffer from watering eyes, sneezing and congestion, post-nasal drip, sore throats and dry, constant coughing. A grass allergy can cause a full range of breathing problems, from wheezing to triggering a full-blown asthma attack. Allergic conjunctivitis can also occur, which is an inflammation of the membrane that lines the inside of the eyelids. This causes red-rimmed, swollen eyes and sometimes even a crusting of the eyelids. Allergic shiners–which are dark circles under the eyes that are caused by increased blood flow in irritated sinuses–may also occur with a grass allergy.

Skin Irritation

  • Irritated skin, including redness, itching, rashes, bumps and hives can all occur due to a grass allergy. These reactions can occur anywhere on the body, but often show up on the hands and fingers. Some doctors call this reaction “hayfever of the skin.” Treatment with antihistamines is usually the best way to handle this symptom. Reactions can be severe (even anaphylactic) if the allergen comes into direct contact with open skin, such as when a soccer player falls and scrapes her leg on the grassy field.

General Unwellness

  • As with other seasonal allergies, many people who suffer from grass allergies also complain of extreme fatigue, and feeling mentally dull or “out of it.” These people complain of feeling spacey, unable to concentrate and foggy much of the time. Headaches, mood swings and even nausea can result from a grass allergy.

Natural Relief and Prevention

  • There are many ways to prevent reactions and naturally provide relief once symptoms occur. Daily nasal cleansing with either a neti pot or nasal squirt bottle can be an effective way to irrigate the sinuses and flush allergens from the nasal passages. Another preventative measure is to always wear a mask when you mow the grass, and keep grass cut short. Use air conditioners indoors and in cars whenever possible. Instead of drying clothes on the line, where they can pick up allergens, dry clothes in a dryer during grass pollen season. Shower each night before bed to wash off pollen. For a sore throat due to post nasal drip or coughing, try gargling with warm salt water.

Medication

  • There are many different kinds of over-the-counter and prescription medications available for sufferers of grass allergies. Eye drops, nasal sprays, decongestants and antihistamines are the most popular. There are also various prescription medications available that work with the body in different ways to hinder the release of histamines. According to Medicine Online, immunotherapy allergy shots help many patients.

Read more: Symptoms of a Grass Allergy | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/about_5057895_symptoms-grass-allergy.html#ixzz1sqHCqlyx

Springtime Allergies OR Cold?

If your eyes are suddenly itchy and you’re rubbing them a lot, you may have Springtime allergies.

Check pollen count in your area at http://www.aaaai.org/global/nab-pollen-counts.aspx

Below is a Symptom Checklist so you can tell if you or your kids have either one.

SYMPTOM CHECKLIST:

ALLERGY SYMPTOMS:   

Itchy Eyes

Itchy Nose

Itchy Throat

Headache Behind Eyes

Clear Mucus if Nose is Runny

Onset Immediate

Sometimes Fatigue

No Fever

Cough

Doesn’t Go Away

vs.

COLD SYMPTOMS:

Sneezing

Sore Throat

Headache

Sometimes Fever

No Itchy Eyes

Lack of Appetite

Fatigue

Achy Body

Comes on Slowly

Cough

Yellow or Green Mucus if Nose is Runny

Last 5-10 Days (more than that could be a sinus infection, see doctor)

THINGS TO HELP:

ALLERGIES:

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology says avoiding allergy triggers is the best way to reduce symptoms. Here’s how:

  1. Limit outdoor activities during days with high pollen counts.
  2. Keep windows closed (at home or in the car) to keep pollens out.
  3. Take a shower after coming indoors. Otherwise, pollen in your hair may bother you all night.

Also, wear sunglasses to keep pollen from getting in your eyes, keep pets away from plants and trees (good luck with THAT).

 

…and there’s always over-the-counter help.

COLDS: Drink lots of fluids, get lots of rest, lozengers if your throat is sore, chicken soup, TLC and wait it out, over-the-counter help if it’s bad.  See a physician if it lasts more than 10-days.   A sinus infection will require antibiotics.

Remember…you can manage the symptoms…and enjoy a Happy Spring! 🙂