Grass pollen can make you miserable in more than the typical hay fever in late spring and early summer. Grass also can trigger contact dermatitis, an allergic reaction of your skin.
Blades of grass have microscopic barbs that can result in an allergic skin reaction, including a red rash, bumps and sometimes blisters. Sitting and rolling in the grass, or touching it can cause contact dermatitis in sensitive individuals.
My husband recently experienced contact dermatitis because he was cutting tall grass to feed his horse. His arms and hands came into contact with the blades of grass when he reached down for handfuls. The horse loved the fresh feed but my husbandís arms and hands broke out in a red rash with bumps. The rash cleared up after he started covering up his arms and hands when cutting the tasty horse treat. I get a red rash and itchy skin if a sit down on the grass for even a short period of time.
Contact dermatitis occurs because your immune system thinks itís under attack. In response, the immune system makes antibodies to fight the invaders which prompt the release of chemicals like histamines.
You can prevent grass contact dermatitis by not touching grass. If you need to touch it, wear long sleeves and/or gloves, and long pants to prevent the irritation. Spread out a blanket or use a chair if you are sitting out on the lawn.
In case of exposure, wash your skin with a mild soap and water immediately. Oral antihistamines may help.
Other plants may cause allergic contact dermatitis. These include members of the squash family, such as zucchini, cucumber, winter squash and pumpkin. You may experience contact dermatitis if you have allergy to natural rubber, metals such as nickel, costume jewelry, hair dyes or perfume. In some cases, contact dermatitis occurs because of exposure to irritants, including harsh soaps, chemical solvents, cosmetics, skin products and deodorants.
Another side effect of grass pollen season is oral allergy syndrome. People with grass allergy may get an itchy mouth, scratchy throat or swelling of the lips, mouth, tongue and throat after eating peaches, celery, tomatoes, oranges, cantaloupes, watermelon and honeydew.