Grass pollen allergies are very common in both children and adults. While the types of grass pollen you’re allergic to (like Bermuda grass or Kentucky bluegrass) may vary, most grasses in the United States pollinate in the spring and summer.

The way your immune system responds to grass pollen can also vary. Symptoms may affect your eyes, nose, skin, and more.

Here’s everything you need to know about the symptoms of grass pollen allergies, including the signs and possible treatment options.

Pollen is usually a fine yellow powder that grasses, flowers, weeds, and trees produce. Unlike other types of pollen that animals or insects may transport, grass pollen primarily spreads by the wind.

An allergic reaction occurs when your immune system overreacts to allergens like grass pollen. During this reaction, your body produces immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies, which when bound, release chemicals to help defend against these allergens.

In turn, you may experience symptoms in your nose, eyes, skin, and other areas of your body.

An allergic reaction may present differently from person to person. Here are some of the key common symptoms associated with grass pollen allergies:


Eye allergies are also known as allergic conjunctivitis. Exposure to grass pollen may make your eyes itchy, red, and watery. Inflammation and irritation can also make the inside of your eye, as well as your eyelid and undereye areas, appear puffy.


Sneezing from grass pollen allergens may, in turn, cause a runny, stuffy nose. You may even experience nasal congestion.


When you breathe in air that contains grass pollen, it can make your throat feel itchy. Nasal symptoms from allergies may cause postnasal drip, which may also worsen throat symptoms.


Coughing due to grass pollen allergies may have two possible causes. First, you may cough in response to postnasal drip and the resulting throat irritation. Also, if you have allergic asthma, you may cough and wheeze when exposed to grass pollen.


Grass pollen exposure may cause wheezing in some people. Wheezing is also one of the key symptoms associated with asthma. If you start wheezing after exposure to grass pollen, you may have allergic asthma.

Grass allergies may trigger other asthma symptoms, such as shortness of breath or tightness and congestion in your chest.


When grass pollen allergies affect your nasal passages, you may develop sinus pressure. This may lead to headaches, as well as facial pressure.


While not as common, it’s also possible to experience a skin reaction in response to grass pollen allergies. This may look like a red, brown, or purple rash that may be itchy. It’s also possible to develop hives or welts.


Pollen allergies may leave you fatigued in a couple of ways. First, your symptoms may keep you up at night, with insomnia leading to daytime fatigue.

Drowsiness is also a side effect of certain allergy medications, so you may consider checking drug labels carefully. If a medication causes drowsiness, it may be best to take it at night or as a doctor recommends.

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Illustration by Wenzdai Figueroa

When to contact a doctor

Consider talking with a doctor if you have persistent allergy symptoms that are not getting better with medications or if your symptoms are interfering with your day-to-day activities.

They may recommend ordering allergy testing via a blood test or skin prick test to help identify your specific allergens. This can also help you seek more effective treatments.

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If you have grass pollen allergies, you may also experience allergic reactions to certain raw fruits and vegetables that contain similar proteins. This cross-reactivity is known as oral allergy syndrome (OAS). Experts have estimated about 5% to 8% of people with pollen allergies have OAS.

Symptoms of OAS typically show up right after you eat the offending raw fruit or vegetable. Symptoms may include itching or swelling around your:

  • face
  • lips
  • mouth
  • tongue
  • throat
  • ears

Rarely, OAS may lead to a severe, life threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. Symptoms of anaphylaxis include swelling of the throat, which can make breathing difficult.

Having a grass allergy could make you more susceptible to experiencing these symptoms when eating the following foods:

  • melon
  • oranges
  • kiwi
  • tomatoes
  • watermelon
  • white potatoes

If you notice any allergy-like symptoms after consuming any of these foods, you might consider talking with a doctor about possible allergy tests.

Unlike grass pollen allergies, OAS may occur year-round. But symptoms may be worse during grass pollen season.

You can help minimize OAS by cooking offending foods or peeling them before eating them raw. Canned versions may also help decrease your risk of allergy symptoms.

In some cases, allergies can lead to allergic bronchitis due to irritation in the lungs. Bronchitis is a broad term to describe inflammation in the airways in your lungs. It may be acute (lasting less than 3 weeks) or chronic.

Some of the key symptoms of allergic or asthmatic bronchitis include:

  • chest congestion or tightness
  • cough
  • wheezing
  • fatigue

Avoiding irritants like grass pollen can help prevent future allergic bronchitis.

Most cases get better on their own with plenty of rest and fluids. You may also benefit from cough medications if and when a doctor recommends them. Antibiotics are only useful if bacteria caused your bronchitis.

In the United States, most people with grass pollen allergies may experience symptoms during the late spring and early summer months (April through June). This is when grasses are most likely to pollinate and scatter through the wind.

It’s also possible to have multiple pollen allergies. Other common pollen allergies include tree and ragweed. If this is the case, you may experience allergy symptoms throughout the spring, summer, and fall.

Allergy testing is the only way to confirm your pollen allergies.

Types of grass

In the northern continental United States, the following grasses can cause allergies:

  • Fescue
  • Johnson
  • Kentucky Blue
  • Rye
  • Timothy

In the southern United States, Bahia and Bermuda are common allergy culprits.

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You can manage grass pollen allergies with a combination of treatments and preventive measures. Consider talking with a doctor about the following options:


Trying to avoid triggers as best as you can is one of the best ways to manage grass pollen allergies. You may consider monitoring grass pollen counts through your local news, weather apps, or the Allergy and Asthma Network.

On days when high pollen counts are predicted, you may consider limiting outdoor activities. Taking a shower immediately after outside activities may also help.

Weather conditions can also influence grass pollen counts in your area. Rain and humidity can keep pollen counts low. Dry, windy conditions can make grass pollen more widespread.


Over-the-counter or prescription medications may help treat grass pollen allergy symptoms. A doctor may recommend a combination of the following:

  • Antihistamines: Antihistamines come in tablets, liquids, and nose sprays. They may help relieve sneezing, itchiness, and runny nose.
  • Corticosteroids: Steroids are available in oral, nasal, and topical forms. They’re also available as an injectable medication. They help reduce underlying inflammation that may contribute to various allergy symptoms.
  • Decongestants: As the name suggests, decongestants can help relieve nasal and sinus congestion. They come in pill and spray forms.
  • Eye drops: Eye drops may help relieve itchy, red, and watery eyes.
  • Immunotherapy: A doctor may discuss the possibility of oral tablets or allergy shots, which can help severe allergies long term.

You can also start taking allergy medication a couple of weeks before grasses begin pollinating where you live.

Home remedies

While preventive measures and treatments are key to helping address grass pollen allergies, some of the following steps can also help:

Allergies are often a long-term occurrence. But having a doctor confirm you have grass pollen allergies can help you be better able manage and treat the symptoms. They can help you create a plan to address your needs. The overall goal is to help improve your quality of life.

If your grass pollen allergy symptoms are interfering with work, school, or hobbies, or are keeping you up at night, seeing a doctor for diagnosis and treatment may be a helpful next step.

You may even be able to prevent allergy symptoms before grasses start to pollinate in your area.