Many people are allergic to pollens from grass and weeds. These allergies most often occur in the late spring and summer.
This article is for information only. DO NOT use it to treat or manage an actual poison exposure. If you or someone you are with has an exposure, call the local emergency number (such as 911), or the local poison control center can be reached directly by calling the national toll-free Poison Help hotline (1-800-222-1222) from anywhere in the United States.
Although the grass itself may not be harmful, fertilizers, insecticides, and herbicides applied to the grass can be poisonous.
Symptoms may include:
- Breathing difficulty
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Runny nose
- Stuffy nose
Contact your health care provider if you have trouble breathing. If breathing becomes extremely difficult, seek immediate medical help.
Before Calling Emergency
Get the following information:
- Person's age, weight, and condition
- Type of symptoms the person is having
If the grass was recently treated with a chemical of any sort such as fertilizer, insecticide, or herbicide, find out the product name and ingredients.
A call to the poison control center is most often not needed unless the person is having a severe allergic reaction to the grass or is having trouble breathing. If the grass has recently been fertilized, sprayed with an insecticide or herbicide, or treated with a chemical in any way, contact poison control.
Your local poison control center can be reached directly by calling the national toll-free Poison Help hotline (1-800-222-1222) from anywhere in the United States. This national hotline will let you talk to experts in poisoning. They will give you further instructions.
This is a free and confidential service. All local poison control centers in the United States use this national number. You should call if you have any questions about poisoning or poison prevention. It does not need to be an emergency. You can call for any reason, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
What to Expect at the Emergency Room
An emergency room visit is not necessary most of the time, unless the person has an asthma attack or severe allergic reaction. If an emergency room visit is needed, the person may receive:
- Breathing support
- Medicines to treat symptoms
Normally there are no major problems unless the person has asthma or a severe allergic reaction to the grass or chemical treatments. Recovery is likely. People with a severe grass allergy might need to be treated by a specialist.
Corren J, Baroody FM, Togias A. Allergic and nonallergic rhinitis. In: Burks AW, Holgate ST, O'Hehir RE, et al, eds. Middleton's Allergy: Principles and Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 40.
Cox DR, Wise SK, Baroody FM. Allergy and immunology of the upper airway. In: Flint PW, Francis HW, Haughey BH, et al, eds. Cummings Otolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 35.
Davies JM, Weber RW. Aerobiology of outdoor allergens. In: Burks AW, Holgate ST, O'Hehir RE, et al, eds. Middleton's Allergy: Principles and Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 27.
Welker K, Thompson TM. Pesticides. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 157.
Review Date 11/13/2021
Updated by: Jesse Borke, MD, CPE, FAAEM, FACEP, Attending Physician at Kaiser Permanente, Orange County, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.