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The Pollen Section

When Grass Attacks

Grass Allergy: How to Cope (continued)

Kim notes however, that “often patients will have allergy symptoms with fresh cut grass in August or September. That’s not grass pollen allergy, that may be mold allergy from the molds being stirred up.”

As well, Stark cautions that the dust the lawn mower creates while it’s trimming can get into your nasal passages like pollen, and also cause symptoms.

• That said, it’s good to keep your lawn short, to keep pollen production to a minimum. Get someone else to do the mowing during in the early months of summer. If there isn’t anyone else to do it, take an antihistamine first, and wear a mask.

Medication Relief for Grass Allergy

Grass allergy can be managed with non-sedating antihistamines and nasal steroid sprays. You can even take antihistamines in anticipation of your allergy season, says Dr. Karen Binkley, a Toronto-based allergist. In a reaction, your body releases histamines which cause the redness, swelling, itching and mucus that lead to sneezing and other symptoms. By taking the medication early, or during the allergy season, you can block the histamine before it becomes a problem.

Nasal steroid sprays reduce inflammation and mucus production, and can be taken in combination with an antihistamine.

For some sufferers, immunotherapy, or allergy shots, may be an option. Patients get injections of their allergen over a period of months or years to make them less sensitive to the allergen. Not everyone is suited to the treatment, so consult your allergist.

More recently, sublingual allergy tablets, a new and convenient form of immunotherapy for grass allergy have become available.

According to a Canadian survey by the antihistamine brand Reactine (known as Zyrtec in the U.S.), nine out of 10 allergy sufferers don’t want to cocoon themselves indoors. Who would want to?

“They should play sports. They should do any activities they want,” says Kim. “They should see their physician to be treated, if they’re having difficulty with [grass allergy]. With some very simple, safe medications, the majority of people can lead a very normal life.”


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