Grass Pollen

oral allergy syndrome grassGrass pollen is a common cause of summertime allergy symptoms. Grass pollen isn’t nearly as allergenic as tree pollen or ragweed but it can produce hay fever symptoms for a longer period of time because they tend to pollinate longer. 

Grass pollen is produced and released by their flowers. It may be hard to imagine grass having flowers but that it is due to the fact that most of the grasses we see are in lawns that are constantly mowed. If the grass was left untouched it would grow tall and these feathery-like structures would appear on its tips or stamens. These feathery-like structures are the flowers of the grass. During summertime these flowers bloom and produce pollen. One of the methods grass use to reproduce is wind-pollination. Like tree pollen, grass pollen is released by their flowers and spread by the wind to fertilize and produce more grass. Since wind is unreliable, grasses produce a lot of pollen to make sure there is enough for fertilization. Like other pollen allergens, much of the pollen never reaches its desired location and instead irritates our eyes, nose, and lungs causing hay fever symptoms.

When is grass pollen season?

Grass pollen is at its peak during the summer generally between May and July. Grass pollen may vary between locations, such as grasses at sea level tend to pollinate 2-3 weeks earlier than grasses in mountainous locations.

Which grass pollens cause hay fever?

Grass pollens that are most commonly associated with hay fever are:

  • Bermuda grass
  • Johnson grass
  • Kentucky Bluegrass
  • Orchard grass
  • Redtop grass
  • Perennial ryegrass
  • Sweet vernal grass
  • Timothy grass
  • Meadow foxtail grass

Which foods have cross-reactions with grass pollen?

Cross-reactions between grass pollen and foods can occur due to something known as oral allergy syndrome. With oral allergy syndrome you may experience an itchy mouth after eating raw fruits, vegetables, or nuts. Two common grass pollens responsible for oral allergy syndrome are: timothy grass and orchard grass. If you have a grass pollen allergy you may experience cross-reactions with one or more of these foods: cantaloupe, honeydew, orange, peanut, swiss chard, tomato, watermelon, and white potato. (To see a detailed oral allergy syndrome food list please click here.)

How do you diagnose and treat grass pollen allergies?

For more information regarding the diagnosis of grass pollen allergies related to oral allergy syndrome please click here.

For more information regarding the treatment of grass pollen allergies related to oral allergy syndrome please click here.

For more information regarding the diagnosis and treatment of grass pollen allergies related to hay fever please click here.



Disclaimer: The information contained in this site is for educational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for a licensed physician. Please see your physician for diagnosis and treatment of any concerning symptoms or medical condition. Click here to read the full disclaimer.
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