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Grass allergy

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 your local emergency number (such as 911), or your local poison center can be reached directly by calling the national toll-free Poison Help hotline (1-800-222-1222) from anywhere in the United States.

Poisonous Ingredient

Although the grass itself may not be harmful, fertilizers, insecticides, and herbicides applied to the grass can be poisonous.

Symptoms

Symptoms may include:

  • Breathing difficulty
  • Headache
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Stuffy nose

Home Care

Call 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.

Poison Control

This call 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 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 hotline number 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

Outlook (Prognosis)

Normally there are no major problems unless the person has asthma or a severe allergic reaction to the grass. Recovery is likely.

References

Cannon RD, Ruha A-M. Insecticides, herbicides, and rodenticides. In: Adams JG, ed. Emergency Medicine. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2013:chap 146.

Corren J, Baroody FMl, Pawanker R. Allergic and nonallergic rhinitis. In: Adkinson NF, Bochner BS, Burks AW, et al, eds. Middleton's Allergy: Principles and Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 42.

Update Date 11/4/2015

Updated by: Jesse Borke, MD, FACEP, FAAEM, Attending Physician at FDR Medical Services/Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Buffalo, NY. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.