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Rashes and grasses

Many people, from babies to adults, experience rashes. While rashes have many causes, one cause can be contact with grass.

Let’s take a look at the reasons why grass may cause rashes, what the symptoms are, how to treat these types of rashes, and how you might prevent grass rash in the first place.

How can something as common as grass cause a rash? There are several reasons.

Grass allergy

Many people are allergic to grass. It’s referred to as grass pollen allergy, often known as hay fever.

If you’re allergic to grass and experience runny nose, watery eyes, and sneezing when you’re outside or pollen counts are high, your skin may also react if it comes into contact with grass.

Some people are only allergic to breathing in grass pollen, while others react to actually touching grass. Respiratory symptoms of grass allergy are much more common than skin rashes caused by grass allergy.

Contact dermatitis

Another reason for grass rash is a condition called contact dermatitis. This refers to an itchy, red, noncontagious rash caused by any irritant or allergen. Common causes of contact dermatitis include:

  • perfumes
  • soaps
  • cosmetics
  • cleaning products
  • environmental pollutants
  • pesticides
  • fabrics
  • plants

Grass is pokey

The physical structure of grass may also give you a rash. Many types of grass have sharp, microscopic bristles all over them to help discourage bugs from eating them. When these tiny bristles rub against your skin, a rash may result from the irritation.

Sensitive skin

Babies and children are particularly likely to get rashes from grass because they have newer, more sensitive skin. Children who have eczema may find that it’s made worse by contact with grass.

The appearance of rashes caused by grass may vary. Common symptoms include small red bumps on the skin that came into contact with the grass and itching that may be mild or severe.

A contact dermatitis-type rash may be very red, burn, and even cause the skin to blister or crack.

An eczema exacerbation will be a dry, itchy, patchy rash. Eczema most commonly occurs behind the knees, on the elbows, and on the face, although it may appear in other places.

Some people may experience hives where the grass touched their skin. Hives are raised, itchy bumps or welts. They may occur alone or may be accompanied by other allergic symptoms, such as:

  • sneezing
  • watery eyes
  • wheezing
  • swelling

If you experience swelling or difficulty breathing, call 911 or your local emergency services immediately. These may be symptoms of a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis.

There are several treatment options for rashes caused by grass. Here are some common home remedies:

  • Wash the area. Taking a shower or washing the affected area with warm water and a very mild cleanser may help remove pollen and soothe the skin.
  • Apply a cold compress. A cold compress or cool cloth over the rash area may help relieve burning and itching.
  • Take an antihistamine. An oral antihistamine, such as diphenhydramine Benadryl, may relieve allergy symptoms that are contributing to the rash. Check with your child’s doctor before giving them a new medication.
  • Apply a corticosteroid. Topical corticosteroids, such as hydrocortisone, may relieve itching and decrease inflammation.
  • Apply an ointment. Ointments like calamine lotion may also relieve itching. Adults may use these creams according to the directions. Consult your child’s doctor before using topical corticosteroids to ensure proper use.

For children with eczema that’s exacerbated by grass, gently bathing the skin and then applying moisturizers may help.

The National Eczema Association recommends Aquaphor and Eucerin work well for many people with eczema.

Oatmeal baths may also be effective for moisturizing and calming the skin. Keeping the skin wrapped in cool, wet cloths may be helpful to alleviate dryness and itching, too.

If you’ve identified grass as the cause of your rash, the best way to prevent future rashes is to avoid contact with the grass. However, this is often impractical — grass seems to be everywhere! It may be impossible to avoid lawn work, picnics, children playing outside, etc.

Some tips for minimizing skin contact with grass or preventing grass rash include the following:

  • Wear long sleeves, pants, shoes with socks, or even gloves if you’re going to be in a grassy area or doing yard work.
  • Wash your hands immediately after contact with grass.
  • Shower (or bathe your child) after being outside or being in contact with grass.
  • Regularly moisturize your skin to keep it healthy and intact.
  • If you’re allergic to grass, consider taking an antihistamine before being around grass. If you’re constantly around grass, consider regularly taking an allergy medication.
  • If your rash lasts longer than a few days, causes extreme itching, spreads, or feels unmanageable, your doctor can help. They can help you identify causes and treatments and possibly refer you to a dermatologist or allergist.
  • A number of things can cause rashes in children. If your child has a rash that won’t go away, persistent itching, hives, or any other symptoms that concern you, call your child’s pediatrician.

Rashes are very common and may have a number of causes. One of those causes can be contact with grass. This may be due to an allergic reaction, contact dermatitis, or simply the irritation of grass blades on human skin.

There are many treatment options for grass rash, such as covering the skin, taking oral medications, and applying skin creams. If your rash isn’t going away or you’re unable to treat it effectively at home, contact your doctor for help.