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Meet The Grasses, Did You Know…

Updated: Aug 25, 2022

The 1,2,3's of Grasses

  1. Allergies

  2. Behavior

  3. Climate

In the early springtime, as pollen levels rise, many people only think of flowers, weeds, and trees as the main contributors to their misery. They are fully aware that the powdery substance dusting outdoor furniture, grills and windows is the plant world’s attempt to pollinate compatible female reproductive structures on target shrubberies around the yard. What many do not realize is that a large portion of the pollen floating on air is derived just as much from local grasses as the assorted other plant life in their yard.


Grass is one of the more bothersome contributors to seasonal allergies across the world -

there are over 12,000 different grasses worldwide! While there are many different types of grass, not all of them cause allergic reactions: In the US, common offenders include northern grasses like Kentucky Blue, Johnson, Rye, and Fescue, and southern grasses Bermuda and Bahia, while common allergenic grass pollen types in Europe include perennial ryegrass, as well as Orchard and Timothy. Most people who are allergic to grass are allergic to grass pollen. Grasses tend to grow in the early spring; during late spring and early summer they release pollen into the air. Grass pollen is lightweight and wind can carry it for miles! In Europe, the grass pollen season begins in mid to late March and usually ends around mid-autumn. However, some southern European countries begin to observe grass pollen surges as early as February and these extend into the late autumn months. This extended exposure calendar suggests that grass, weed and tree pollens can lead to chronic allergy suffering for many affected individuals.


Allergic individuals internalize pollen through various means including ingestion, inhalation, and skin contact; and these pollens are immediately recognized as foreign by the person’s immune system. The sensitized individual produces antibodies (IgE) to the proteins of the pollen and this can stimulate Sinus Congestion, Runny Nose, Post Nasal Drip, Sneezing, Coughing and Itchy or Watery Eyes. Since grass is so prevalent, it is very difficult to avoid entirely. One of the most common recommendations from Primary Care Physicians (PCPs) is to limit exposure to grass pollens to alleviate the symptoms of the individual. Some of the simple steps that can be take include the following:

  • Monitor pollen counts: Many PCPs encourage patients to monitor pollen counts to be aware of what pollen is high when spending time outside. This can help them dress and plan accordingly. Limit time outdoors during peak pollen seasons, or on windy days.

  • Dress to minimize skin contact with pollen: Individuals outside the home should consider wearing long pants to reduce the amount of pollen that comes in contact with the skin. Wear sunglasses and a hat to keep pollen out of your eyes and off your hair.

  • Mowing the Grass: When mowing the grass, a protective mask is recommended to help reduce your exposure to allergens. Masks help filter out airborne particulates thereby reducing the amount of pollen while doing other yard work.

  • Change clothes when you come in from being outside: A fresh set of clothes after outside activity will help reduce the pollen transferred into the home. Leave your shoes by the door to avoid tracking pollen throughout the home. Individuals may also want to consider showering to remove pollen from hair and skin and wiping down pets after they are outside.

  • Keep your doors and windows closed: Keeping windows closed and utilizing high efficiency or high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters in the heating, ventilation, or air-conditioning systems to help filter the air and reduce pollen in the home.

  • Keep track of symptoms, particularly after eating fresh fruit and vegetables. If you are allergic to grass pollen, you may develop allergy symptoms when you eat certain fruits and vegetables that are botanically related to grass. This is called Oral Allergy Syndrome. Fruits and vegetables related to grass include:

  • Peaches

  • Watermelon

  • Oranges

  • Tomatoes

  • White Potatoes

Read our blog for more information on Oral Allergy Syndrome.

When avoidance isn’t possible, especially during the peak of the pollen season, physicians typically recommend over the counter or prescription medications to help ease allergy symptoms. When the allergy cannot be controlled through medication, additional steps can be taken including the use of immunotherapy. Immunotherapy is a treatment that builds up the immune response to produce tolerance to grass pollen. Often immunotherapy is given though subcutaneous injections; however other treatments are available that are administered through sublingual tablets. It often takes months for patients to tolerate a given allergen and this usually occurs through multiple doses of the immunotherapy.


Unfortunately, it appears that seasonal allergies due to grass, trees and weeds may become more pronounced in the coming years. Climate change has been linked to increased pollen concentrations due to warming temperatures: A 2021 study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that total pollen concentrations in North America had grown by 21% over the past three decades. Further, statistical models, surrounding models, surrounding climate change suggests that the severity of the grass pollen season in northwest Europe may increase by up to 60% in the coming decade; If these predictive models come to realization, healthcare professionals and hay fever patients will need to prepare for aggravated seasonal allergy reactions.

As pollen levels increase over the coming months, it is important to have the right information to detect and treat your allergy symptoms. A simple blood test can be used to measure the sensitivity of the patient to many different allergens including those derived from animal, food, environmental and inhalant allergens. This allows sensitized individuals to take the right steps to alleviate their suffering as grass pollen reaches it peak during the springtime and summer months.

If you or a loved one have underlying allergies while exploring the great outdoors, consult with your local allergist to discuss if testing may be appropriate. An allergist can offer you the best care suited for your case and will identify the real triggers of your allergies.

Pinpoint your TRUE allergies with NOVOES! The NOVEOS system was developed by HYCOR to overcome the challenges laboratories are confronted with, when routinely testing for specific IgE. »Learn More

Available tests on NOVEOS:

NOVEOS Inhalation-Screen

SX01 Molecular Components from Dust Mites, Cat, Dog, Birch, Grass, Weed

Whole Allergen extract mixes:

  • GX01 Grass Mix 1 (Cocksfoot, Meadow Fescue, Rye Grass, Timothy Grass, Meadow Grass, Kentucky Blue)

  • GX03 Grass Mix 3 (Sweet Vernal Grass, Rye Grass, Timothy Grass, Cultivated Rye, Velvet Grass)

Allergen Component:

  • G205 rPhl p 1, Timothy

  • G206 rPhl p 2, Timothy

  • G209 rPhl p 6, Timothy

  • G210 rPhl p 7, Timothy

  • G211 rPhl p 11, Timothy

  • G212 rPhl p 12, Timothy

  • G215 rPhl p 5b, Timothy

Individual grasses

  • G001 Sweet Vernal Grass

  • G002 Bermuda Grass

  • G004 Meadow Fescue

  • G004Meadow Fescue

  • G005 Rye Grass

  • G006 Timothy Grass

  • G007 Common Reed

  • G008 Meadow Grass, Kentucky Blue

  • G009 Redtop, Bentgrass

  • G010 Johnson Grass

  • G012 Cultivated Rye

  • G013 Velvet Grass

  • G015 Cultivated Wheat

  • G017 Bahia Grass

NOVEOS Allergen Menu List, Specific IgE and Total IgE:

Download the latest product list of NOVEOS® Specific IgE Allergens and Total IgE, NOVEOS Assay Reagents, Consumables, and Supplies in the following languages: English





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