If you’re reading this with teary eyes or have to constantly pause to sneeze, it might be your front lawn to blame. While flowers, trees, and weeds often get the bad rap for pollen, it can also be found in grass, especially during the late spring months. In fact, June is the peak month for grass pollen season and the high levels of pollen might be the culprit of your seasonal allergies.
Here's what to know about grass pollen and how you can protect yourself from seasonal allergies.
Wait… There’s Pollen in Grass?
The sneezing and sniffling of early spring is mostly due to trees. Species like Ash, Beech, Elm, Maple, and Oak release pollen as early as January, with their peak occurring from March to May. At this point, grass pollen starts to become problematic for many Americans.
In the northern part of the country, late spring and early summer is when grass pollen reaches its highest levels. Those in the South may notice the impacts of grass pollen nearly year-round. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, some of the common types of grasses linked with allergy symptoms are:
- Kentucky Blue
- Sweet Vernal
Like flowers and trees, grass releases small pollen grains to help fertilize grass of the same species. Even in small amounts—so small you can’t see the pollen—grass may contribute to a pollen allergy, or “seasonal allergic rhinitis.” Because the pollen grains become airborne and can travel by wind, you may also be affected by a field of grass hundreds of miles away.
While it often doesn’t receive the blame, the AAFA also reports that grass is one of the most common allergens. If you experience the following symptoms, you may have a grass pollen allergy:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Itchy eyes, ears, nose, and mouth
- Red, watery, and sometimes swollen eyes
How to Enjoy Spring—Without All the Sneezing
Even in major cities, grass is difficult to avoid. So, what can we do to protect ourselves from this nearly ubiquitous source of pollen?
Limit Time Spent Outside
Avoidance may be best for those who suffer most from allergy symptoms. Fortunately, local forecasts make it easy to see daily pollen counts. On high grass pollen count days, it may be best to limit time outside.
Keep Your Lawn Short
Shorter grass is less likely to release pollen. If you can, have someone help out with mowing the lawn, and do it often to keep the grass shorter.
Keep Doors and Windows Closed
Especially while cutting the grass, it’s a good idea to keep pollen out of the home by keeping all windows closed. Central air conditioning will help you stay cool as the temperatures start to rise.
Protect Yourself when You’re Outside
It’s impractical to avoid all the sunny spring days, so when you head outside, be sure to wear a hat and sunglasses to keep pollen out of your hair and eyes. For the same reason, long pants are better, too.
Change and Wash Your Clothes After Being Outside
Because grass pollen may use you as a carrier, sticking to you to be transported to other grass, be sure to immediately change and wash any clothes you wear outdoors. Dry them in a dryer, not on an outdoor clothesline.
Wash Your Hair Often
After spending time outside, wash yourself and your hair to remove any lingering pollen. This is especially important at night, because you don’t want the pollen to find its way into your bed.
Ensure You Have Clean Bedding
Bedding can be washed weekly in hot, soapy water to be sure that it’s free of pollen.
Try to Keep Your Pets Pollen-Free
When pets go outside, be sure to wipe them down with a towel before they come back inside. During allergy season, it may also be best to keep them out of your bedroom.
Vacuum Regularly and Use an Air Purifier
At least once a week, vacuum your floors. To keep you protected from pollen and other contaminants that are hidden to the naked eye, use something like an AirDoctor to trap pollen and other triggers for seasonal allergies, like dust mold spores.
A 2020 study found that air purifiers significantly reduced the symptoms and medication requirements for those suffering from allergic rhinitis. The concentration of particulate matter (PM2.5) was shown to decline by up to 51.8% after six weeks of air purifier use. If you don’t have one for every room in your home, consider at least using one in your bedroom.
Breathe Easy, Enjoy Life More
We know how much of a bummer it can be when itchy eyes and a constant runny nose can keep you from enjoying all that the spring months have to offer. That’s why we’ve harnessed state-of-the-art technology to provide powerful purification for your home. With sizes suitable for every space, consider allowing AirDoctor to blow into your home with the spring winds.