Sore throat after mowing lawn

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For those with grass allergy, a lush lawn can be the bane of summer. (This article was updated in June 2018.)

Grass allergy is one of the most common pollen allergies. In the central and northern United States and Canada, grass generally pollinates in May, June and July. Farther south, the pollen starts filling the air a couple of months earlier. If the Kleenex box is your constant companion when grass season hits, chances are, you find trouble in the turf.

Symptoms

As with all pollen allergies, those who react to grass suffer from allergic rhinitis, commonly known as hay fever. Typically you’ll sneeze, feel congestion and have itchy eyes and noses. The symptoms may not be as severe as they are for tree pollen allergy or ragweed allergy, because the pollen counts often aren’t as high. On the down side, grasses pollinate for a longer period of time, so you’re bound to have many uncomfortable days.

Those contending with a grass allergy also tend to have more symptoms of conjunctivitis – that is, itchy, watery eyes – than those with tree or ragweed allergy, according to Dr. Harold Kim, an assistant professor in the department of clinical immunology and allergy at McMaster University in Ontario.

“It’s also more likely that they get swelling of the tissues around the eyes,” he says.

Although symptoms are usually limited to the nose and eyes, some who are severely allergic to grass and will get hives upon contact with its pollen. In the most dangerous cases, they can experience a reaction that is close to anaphylaxis.

“I’ve seen it a couple of times,” says Dr. Donald Stark, a Vancouver allergist. “They fall and they try to get the soccer ball, or in baseball, they’re sliding through the grass. That can cause contact hives, and I’ve actually seen almost anaphylactic reactions because they get enough antigen absorbed through the scraped skin.”

If you’ve had such a reaction, Stark recommends asking your allergist to prescribe an epinephrine auto-injector.

Grass Allergy: How to Cope

Grass is hard to escape. Whether it is your neighbors’ lawn, the field where your daughter plays soccer or that empty lot with the tall blades blowing in the wind – it’s everywhere. The type of grass is hardly relevant: if you’re allergic to one kind, you’re likely allergic to every grass, as the species cross-react.

But, there are ways you can protect yourself:

‚Ä¢ First, when indoors, keep your windows closed. Draw blinds or curtains and use fans and sometimes air conditioning to keep your home cool. If you’re protected indoors, you’re protected for much of the day.

‚Ä¢ Avoid being the person who cuts the grass in the pollinating months of May through July. The lawn mower kicks up the pollen and sends it into your eyes and nose. If it’s only grass allergy you’re contending with, you may be fine to mow the lawn in other months.

Kim notes however, that “often patients will have allergy symptoms with fresh cut grass in August or September. That’s not grass pollen allergy, that may be mold allergy from the molds being stirred up.” As well, Stark cautions that the dust the lawn mower creates while it’s trimming can get into your nasal passages like pollen, and also cause symptoms.

‚Ä¢ That said, it’s good to keep your lawn short, to keep pollen production to a minimum. Get someone else to do the mowing during in the early months of summer. If there isn’t anyone else to do it, take an antihistamine first, and wear a mask.

Medication Relief for Grass Allergy

Grass allergy can be managed with non-sedating antihistamines and nasal steroid sprays. You can even take antihistamines in anticipation of your allergy season, says allergist Dr. Karen Binkley. In a reaction, your body releases histamines which cause the redness, swelling, itching and mucus that lead to sneezing and other symptoms. By taking the medication early, or during the allergy season, you can block the histamine before it becomes a problem.

Nasal steroid sprays reduce inflammation and mucus production, and can be taken in combination with an antihistamine.

For some sufferers, immunotherapy, or allergy shots, may be an option. Patients get injections of their allergen over a period of months or years to make them less sensitive to the allergen. Not everyone is suited to the treatment, so consult your allergist.

In recent years, sublingual allergy tablets, a convenient form of immunotherapy for grass allergy have become available.

According to a Canadian survey by the antihistamine brand Reactine (known as Zyrtec in the U.S.), nine out of 10 allergy sufferers don’t want to cocoon themselves indoors. Who would want to?

“They should play sports. They should do any activities they want,” says Kim. “They should see their physician to be treated, if they’re having difficulty with . With some very simple, safe medications, the majority of people can lead a very normal life.”

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Signs & Symptoms of Grass Allergies

Grass allergy rates in the top three pollen allergies along with ragweed and birch tree allergies. People with pollen allergies develop allergic rhinitis, a reaction triggered by the pollen of certain plants as it is released into the air. Grass pollinates in early spring and throughout the summer, and its pollen grains spread throughout the environment by the wind. As it travels, some of this pollen is inhaled by humans and animals, causing a wide range of signs and symptoms of grass allergies in those with a sensitivity to pollen.

Eye Irritation

Among the most common symptoms of allergic rhinitis caused by a grass allergy are watery, itchy eyes 2. Allergic conjunctivitis can occur, which causes inflammation of the eyelids. This condition is marked by a red-rimmed, swollen appearance in the eye area and sometimes spurs excess eye secretions that form a crust on the eyelid. Dark circles, commonly called “allergic shiners,” can appear under allergy sufferers’ eyes as well.

Respiratory Symptoms

Nasal symptoms are prominent with allergic rhinitis. Itchy nose and sneezing are common problems, as are congestion and post-nasal drip. Sore throat is common, and it is often accompanied by a constant dry cough. Some grass allergy sufferers might experience breathing issues that range from minor wheezing to serious asthma attacks.

Skin Reactions

Those with grass allergy might experience skin reactions when direct contact with grass pollen is made. These most often occur on the hands and fingers during activities such as lawn mowing, but they can occur anywhere on the body. These reactions range from minor irritation, including itching and redness, to rashes and hives.

General Malaise

Many grass allergy sufferers simply feel sick and tired throughout pollen season, a general feeling of malaise that can greatly affect the quality of life for some people during allergy season. A feeling of extreme fatigue is a frequent complaint, and sleep is often disrupted by allergy symptoms 2. People who suffer allergic rhinitis often complain of “brain fog” — feeling mentally slow and disconnected, and unable to concentrate. Allergic rhinitis can impair the senses of smell and taste, which can reduce the enjoyment of food, affecting the appetite. Irritability is common, as are frequent headaches, mood swings and even nausea for those who are affected by seasonal allergies. If your grass allergy is persistent or affecting your quality of life, consult your doctor.

Seasonal Allergies: Grass Pollen

Pollen, many people think of flowers, weeds, and trees when they hear the word but grass pollen also appears it during the late spring months. Grass is one of the bothersome allergens that may cause seasonal allergies. Allergies can be caused by the bodies overreaction to a harmless substance, mistaking it for a dangerous one. Pollen and mold spores can be triggers for seasonal allergies, but pet dander, dust mites, and food also cause allergies.

Allergies to pets and foods can often be avoided by eliminating exposure to the bothersome allergen, however, with pollen, it’s not so easy. Pollens are light and easily spread by the wind, making it a challenge to avoid coming in contact with it. Some common grass pollen we see in our pollen counts are Kentucky bluegrass, bermuda, redtop, orchard and timothy grasses.

Common allergy symptoms those with grass pollen allergies experience are:

  • Sinus Congestion
  • Runny Nose
  • Post Nasal Drip
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Itchy or Watery Eyes

Some also experience headaches, a sore throat, and fatigue due to their allergies.

When is grass pollen season?

In our pollen counts, we have found that grass pollen levels rise beginning in late Spring during May and last into the summer months. We usually see peak levels earlier in the summer, but grass pollen can stick around well into August.

Tips to combat grass pollen season:

The main way to combat grass pollen is to limit your exposure to grass.

1. Mowing the Grass

Allergies don’t have to be an excuse to get out of mowing the grass, but they can be! When mowing the grass, we recommend wearing an N95 respirator mask. These masks are rated by the CDC to filter out 95% of airborne particulates, reducing the amount of pollen you encounter while mowing and doing other yard work.

2. Wear long pants

When you are out working in the yard, out at a park, or hiking we recommend wearing long pants. This added layer of protection helps reduce the amount of pollen that comes in direct contact with your skin. Long sleeve shirts can also protect your arms from contact.

3. Change clothes when you come in from being outside

After spending the day outside, change into a fresh set of clothes. This will help reduce the pollen transferred from your clothes to your furniture as you take a rest inside. It may also be a good idea to shower to remove pollen from your hair before you head to bed for the night.

4. Keep your doors and windows closed

When the weather finally warms up after winter we often want to air out the house by opening windows and leaving the door open. However, this allows pollen to enter your home and can increase your exposure to grass pollen in the spring months. Keeping them closed and letting your HVAC system filter out the air can help reduce pollen in your home.

5. Monitor pollen counts

We also 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. Our doctors run pollen counting stations in a couple of regions, but regional counts can also be found at the National Allergy Bureau website.

Treatment of Grass Allergies

When avoidance isn’t possible, our physicians can recommend over-the-counter or prescription medications to help ease allergy symptoms. When our patient’s allergies are not well controlled with medication, our doctors may recommend immunotherapy. Immunotherapy is a treatment that builds up your bodies tolerance to bothersome allergens. Often immunotherapy is given in shots, so it is commonly referred to as allergy shots. It often takes months for patients to start feeling relief as their body learns the allergen is harmless. However, we offer rush and cluster schedules to reduce that time. Prescription tablets are available to address specific grasses allergies, although unlike shots, they do not address the other allergies the patients have.

If these tips aren’t enough and you still find yourself with allergy symptoms every spring or fall, we recommend getting allergy tested. Our doctors can determine precisely what you are allergic to and recommend treatment options to help you find relief.

What You Need to Know About Grass Allergies

By Bob Lanier, MD, Special to Everyday Health

Many people love the smell of fresh cut grass. But for people with allergies, it can put a damper on the warmer weather months. Here are some key things to keep in mind about grass allergies.

If you have an allergy to grass, you’re most likely allergic to grass pollen. Very rarely, people might have an allergy to the grass leaf, in which case a reaction occurs when the skin comes into contact with grass.

There are some things you can do to avoid grass pollen, including:

  • Monitor pollen and mold counts. Local weather reports typically include this information.
  • Keep windows and doors shut at home and in your car as much as possible.
  • Stay inside when pollen counts tend to be highest.
  • Take a shower, wash your hair, and change your clothes after you’ve been working or playing outdoors.
  • Wear a dust mask rated N95 by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) when mowing the lawn or doing other outdoor chores, and take appropriate medication beforehand.

Here are a couple things that do not work well for people with grass allergies:

  • Planting rocks instead of grass. Grass pollen floats in the air for hundreds of miles, so what’s in your yard is relatively unimportant. It’s the tall grass growing in fields and ditches that sends out pollens.
  • There’s actually no populated area in the world without grasses, except in Greenland. And relocating there may not be so practical.

Know Your Treatment Options

Since you can’t avoid grass pollen altogether, you should prepare for it. Fortunately, there are several options.

Antihistamines are drugs that help relieve allergy symptoms by blocking the chemical histamine, which your body produces when you have an allergic reaction. Nasal steroid sprays that relieve inflammation and congestion are available both over-the-counter and by prescription. There are also antihistamine and nasal steroid spray combinations on the market.

For people with severe allergies who can’t stand the thought of frequent allergy shots, prescription tablets can be taken orally. You should consult an allergist to determine what treatment might work best for you.

If you’re allergic to grass, you may also have a reaction to certain fruits and vegetables. Oral allergy syndrome, also known as pollen-food syndrome, is caused by cross-reacting allergens found in pollen as well as raw fruits, vegetables, and some tree nuts. People who are allergic to grass pollen sometimes experience an itchy mouth, scratchy throat, or swelling of the lips, mouth, tongue, and throat when they eat foods such as celery, melons, oranges, peaches, and tomatoes. The symptoms usually go away quickly once you swallow or remove the food from your mouth. Cooking fruits and vegetables can also help.

When it comes to freshly cut lawns, grass pollen probably isn’t what’s causing your symptoms, as most lawn grass is cut long before it pollinates. What mowing your lawn does do is stir up mold and dust. If you have to cut the grass, cover up with a hat, gloves, face mask, and long sleeves. And when you’re done, take a shower.

Remember that a board-certified allergist is trained to identify your triggers and can help you develop a plan to deal with grass or other allergies. To find an allergist in your area, the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology offers an online allergist locator.

Bob Lanier, MD, is an executive medical director and a past president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. He is a practicing allergist in Fort Worth, Texas.

Photo, top: Getty Images

Photo, bottom: Provided by Bob Lanier

2 Out Of 3 People With Allergies Are Allergic to Grass

INDICATION

ORALAIR® (Sweet Vernal, Orchard, Perennial Rye, Timothy, and Kentucky Blue Grass Mixed Pollens Allergen Extract) is a prescription medicine used for sublingual (under the tongue) immunotherapy prescribed to treat sneezing, runny or itchy nose, nasal congestion or itchy and watery eyes due to allergy to these grass pollens. ORALAIR may be prescribed for persons 5 to 65 years old whose doctor has confirmed are allergic to any of these grass pollens.

If any of these symptoms occur, stop taking ORALAIR and immediately seek medical care. For home administration of ORALAIR, your doctor should prescribe auto-injectable epinephrine for you to keep at home for treating a severe reaction, should one occur. Your doctor will train and instruct you on the proper use of auto-injectable epinephrine.

Please see Important Safety Information below. Please see full Prescribing Information, including Boxed Warning and Medication Guide.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

ORALAIR can cause severe allergic reactions that may be life-threatening. Symptoms of allergic reactions to ORALAIR include:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Throat tightness or swelling
  • Trouble swallowing or speaking
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Rapid or weak heartbeat
  • Severe stomach cramps or pain, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Severe flushing or itching of the skin

If any of these symptoms occur, stop taking ORALAIR and immediately seek medical care. For home administration of ORALAIR, your doctor should prescribe auto-injectable epinephrine for you to keep at home for treating a severe reaction, should one occur. Your doctor will train and instruct you on the proper use of auto-injectable epinephrine.

Do not take ORALAIR if you or your child:

  • Has severe, unstable, or uncontrolled asthma;
  • Had a severe allergic reaction in the past that included trouble breathing, dizziness or fainting, or rapid or weak heartbeat;
  • Has ever had difficulty with breathing due to swelling of the throat or upper airway after using any sublingual immunotherapy before;
  • Has ever been diagnosed with eosinophilic esophagitis; or
  • Is allergic to any of the inactive ingredients contained in ORALAIR.

Stop taking ORALAIR and contact your doctor if you or your child has any mouth surgery procedures (such as tooth removal), develops any mouth infections, ulcers or cuts in the mouth or throat, or has heartburn, difficulty swallowing, pain with swallowing, or chest pain that does not go away or worsens.

In children and adults, the most commonly reported side effects were itching of the mouth, lips, tongue or throat. These side effects, by themselves, are not dangerous or life-threatening.

You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch.

Talk to your doctor before using ORALAIR while pregnant or breastfeeding.

Please see full Prescribing Information, including Boxed Warning and Medication Guide.

All material and content herein Copyright © 2019 Stallergenes Greer S.A. Inc. No material from this Web site may
be used, reproduced, or copied in whole or in part without prior written permission from Stallergenes Greer S.A.
All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
ORALAIR® is a registered trademark of Stallergenes Greer or its affiliates.

If your allergies are worse in the spring and summer time, you may have a grass pollen allergy.

What Is a Grass Pollen Allergy?

Grasses are one of the most common causes of allergy. Each year, plants (including grasses) release tiny pollen grains to fertilize other plants of the same species. Unfortunately for people with grass allergies, this pollen triggers allergic reactions. Symptoms of a grass pollen allergy include:

  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy nose, eyes, ears and mouth
  • Stuffy nose (nasal congestion)
  • Red and watery eyes
  • Swelling around the eyes

You may not see the grass pollen in the air, but your body can react to even small amounts.

Many people know pollen allergy as “hay fever.” Experts usually refer to pollen allergy as “seasonal allergic rhinitis.”

What Types of Grasses Cause Allergy Symptoms?

If you have a grass pollen allergy, you may be allergic to more than one type of grass.

There are hundreds of types of grasses, but only a few are responsible for allergy symptoms. Your geographic location may determine which grasses may be responsible for your symptoms.

The most common types of grasses that cause allergies are:

  • Bermuda
  • Johnson
  • Kentucky
  • Orchard
  • Rye
  • Sweet Vernal
  • Timothy

When Is the Grass Pollen Season?

In northern regions of the United States, grasses usually pollinate in the late spring or early summer. In southern regions, grasses may pollinate throughout many seasons and could trigger symptoms throughout the year.

These small, light and dry grass pollen grains are released into the air and can travel for hundreds of miles by the wind.

How Can I Prevent Allergic Reactions to Grass?

Here are 10 ways you can reduce allergic reactions to grass pollen:

How Can I Manage My Grass Allergy Symptoms?

The first step is to get properly tested and diagnosed. Once your allergist knows what specific allergens cause your symptoms, they can work with you to create a plan.

There are over-the-counter and prescription pills, liquids or nasal sprays that can help reduce or prevent grass allergy symptoms. These medicines include antihistamines, decongestants and nasal corticosteroids. Most allergy medicines work best when you start taking them before pollen season begins. This allows the medicine to prevent your body from releasing histamine and other chemicals that cause your symptoms.

But, many people with pollen allergy do not get complete relief from these medicines. This means they may be candidates for immunotherapy. Immunotherapy is a long-term treatment that can help prevent or reduce the severity of allergic reactions. It can change the course of allergic disease by modifying the body’s immune response to allergens.

There are two types of immunotherapy available for grass allergy: allergy shots and allergy tablets.

  • Allergy Shots – Subcutaneous Immunotherapy (SCIT) is given at your doctor’s office. It involves getting injections of allergens in an increasing dosage over time. During the course of immunotherapy, a person with grass allergy becomes progressively less sensitive to that allergen. Patients may experience relief within one to three years of starting SCIT. The most common side effects for SCIT include local reactions at the injection site, such as redness, itching, swelling, tenderness and pain. Less common systemic reactions may include generalized redness, hives, itching, swelling, wheezing and low blood pressure.
  • Allergy Tablets – Sublingual Immunotherapy (SLIT) is a more recent form of immunotherapy that can be done at home. It is needle free and involves placing a tablet containing the allergen under the tongue for 1 to 2 minutes and then swallowing it. Treatment begins prior to the grass allergy season and continues throughout the grass allergy season. By taking these tablets every day, you may reduce your grass allergy symptoms. This treatment offers people with these allergies a potential alternative to allergy shots. SLIT tablets also have side effects and some may be serious, which is why it’s important to talk with your doctor about your treatment options.

Both forms of allergy immunotherapy (shots and tablets) are prescribed by your doctor. Talk to your health care provider to get started on your allergy treatment plan.

It is important to stay up-to-date on news about asthma and allergies. By joining our community and following our blog, you will receive news about research and treatments. Our community also provides an opportunity to connect with other patients who manage these conditions for support.Children might have reactions to some food additives and chemicals used to make different products, like carpet glue, dyes and solvents. These aren’t allergies, and they usually don’t result in severe reactions.

Mild or moderate allergic reactions

Symptoms of a mild or moderate allergic reaction usually include one or more of the following:

  • rash, hives or welts
  • swelling of the face, eyes or lips
  • tingling mouth
  • eczema, hay fever or asthma symptoms – these symptoms might be worse than usual
  • diarrhoea, stomach pain or vomiting (these are symptoms of a severe allergic reaction if they happen after an insect bite or sting).

What to do about mild to moderate reactions
If you think your child is having a mild to moderate allergic reaction, you can give your child a dose of antihistamine.

In fact, having an antihistamine in your home’s first aid kit is a good idea. It’s also a good idea to use a less sedating antihistamine so it won’t make your child sleepy. Syrup is a good alternative if your child can’t swallow or doesn’t like tablets.

Mild and moderate allergic reactions are common, but deaths from allergic reactions are rare. Deaths can happen when there’s a delay in giving life-saving medication to the person having the reaction.

Severe allergic reaction or anaphylaxis

A severe allergic reaction is called anaphylaxis. Symptoms might include one or more of the following:

  • difficult or noisy breathing
  • tongue and throat swelling or tightness
  • trouble talking or a hoarse voice
  • a wheeze or persistent cough
  • persistent dizziness or fainting
  • paleness and floppiness (for young children)
  • low blood pressure
  • diarrhoea, stomach pain or vomiting after an insect bite or sting.

Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening allergic reaction and needs urgent medical attention. If your child is having an anaphylactic reaction, first lay her flat to help keep her blood pressure stable. Next use an adrenaline auto-injector like EpiPen® if one is available. Then call an ambulance – phone 000.

Medication allergies

Your child might develop a rash or swelling when taking prescription medications like antibiotics. This might be because he has an allergy to the medication. But sometimes rashes and swelling might be caused by an underlying infection and not allergies.

If your child has diarrhoea or vomiting after taking medication, it’s probably not an allergic reaction. It’s more likely to be caused by illness or the effect of the medications on healthy bacteria in the gut.

Reactions to vaccinations at the site where they’re injected are common and usually include pain and swelling. Your child might also get a mild fever. True allergic reactions to vaccines are very rare.

If your child has a reaction to a medication, it’s best to talk to your GP.

Dust mite allergy

Dust mites live in almost every Australian home. They’re tiny bugs that eat flakes of skin and mould. They live in warm, moist places like mattresses, pillows, soft toys, soft furnishings and carpet.

The usual symptoms of dust mite allergy include hay fever, eczema and asthma. Also, if your child’s nose gets blocked, she might snore. Dust mite allergy usually doesn’t cause hives.

Dust mite allergies aren’t seasonal – they happen throughout the year.

Treatment
You can’t get rid of all of the dust mites in your home, but you can reduce their numbers and get rid of the allergens they produce. It’s best to focus on your child’s bed and bedroom, where you can reduce dust mites by:

  • covering your child’s bed with a dust mite cover, which will keep dust mites away from your child when he’s sleeping
  • washing sheets and pillow cases every week in water hotter than 55°C
  • washing blankets, doonas and dust mite covers every two months in hot water
  • removing all soft toys from the bedroom, or washing them weekly in eucalyptus oil.

Other things you can do include:

  • removing clutter and keeping your home as clean as possible
  • vacuuming carpets frequently using a good vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter
  • keeping humidity levels down in your home using kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans and keeping windows open
  • trying not to have carpets in your home where possible
  • trying not to cover furniture with cloth – for example, avoid draping rugs and throws over a couch.

Pet allergies

Children can become allergic to the hair, dander and saliva of animals like cats, dogs, horses and rabbits.

Allergies to animals usually cause symptoms in the skin, nose or eyes from contact with the animal dander. These allergies are most likely to cause itchy skin, hives, an itchy, runny nose, and itchy eyes. They can also make your child’s hay fever or asthma worse.

Treatment
Your child might be OK with her own pet, but have a reaction to other people’s pets. In this case, you could give her a dose of antihistamine (one that won’t make her sleepy) about 30 minutes before you visit a house where you know there’s an animal that your child reacts to. Your child should also avoid touching the animal she reacts to. This will usually be enough to keep symptoms under control.

Changing your child’s clothes as soon as you get home and getting him into the shower might stop the allergen getting into your house.

If your family pet is the problem, the best way for your child to avoid contact is to keep the animal outside. Don’t let the animal sleep on your child’s bed.

Allergies to grasses, weeds and pollens

Allergies to pollens, grasses and weeds are common. These allergies usually cause hay fever symptoms, which sometimes include runny, itchy eyes and nose. Some children can develop skin rashes after touching grass, or their eczema might get worse.

These allergies tend to be worse in the spring and summer months, when grasses and other plants are actively growing.

Prevention
The best way to treat your child’s symptoms is to reduce her exposure to grasses, weeds and pollens by:

  • getting her to wear long sleeves and long trousers when she’s sitting on or playing in grass, if grass is the problem
  • having a bath or shower after playing outside, especially if she feels itchy
  • staying inside on windy days
  • keeping windows and doors shut and staying inside when the grass is being mowed.

Latex allergy

A latex allergy could be the problem if your child develops redness, a rash or swelling after contact with a product that contains latex. This could be balloons, rubber gloves, baby bottle teats or dummies.

If your child has a latex allergy, you’ll need to tell all medical, dental and other health care professionals who see your child. They must avoid using latex products around him.

Some people have an anaphylactic reaction to latex. If your child experiences any of the signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis, lay her flat, give her an adrenaline auto-injector (if available) and call an ambulance – phone 000.

Insect allergies

Insect stings and bites are common, especially if your child spends a lot of time outdoors. An insect sting or bite usually causes only temporary pain and redness around the sting. In some children, though, the reaction can be worse.

In Australia, your child is most likely to experience stings from bees, wasps and stinging ants, and bites from ticks. Bites from mosquitoes and march flies are also very common, but severe reactions to these are very rare.

The usual symptoms of an insect sting are sharp, stinging pain at the bite or sting site, and a white mark surrounded by a small, red, swollen area. The pain usually disappears within a few hours.

Reactions to insect bites and stings
Different children get different amounts of swelling, welts or hives after insect bites. Swelling can sometimes increase for a couple of days.

A very small number of children have anaphylaxis after insect stings or bites.

Treatment
Insect stings can be treated by:

  • removing the sting if it’s still in the skin (flick out the sting if possible – grabbing it can squeeze extra venom into the sting site)
  • washing the sting or bite site
  • applying a cold pack to the sting or bite site
  • giving your child a dose of an antihistamine (one that won’t make him sleepy) if the area is very itchy
  • giving your child paracetamol or ibuprofen in recommended doses if the area is painful.

If your child has symptoms of anaphylaxis, lay her flat, give her an adrenaline auto-injector (if available) and call an ambulance – phone 000.

Your allergist or immunologist might also discuss the benefits of allergen immunotherapy with you if your child is at risk of anaphylaxis from the stings of insects or ants. This treatment takes 3-5 years to work but is usually very effective.

With tick bites, disturbing the tick can lead to the injection of allergen and trigger an allergic reaction. If your child is at risk of anaphylaxis from tick bites, seek urgent medical attention. Do not attempt to remove the tick yourself.

Prevention
Prevent insect stings and bites to your child by:

  • getting him to wear shoes, long sleeves and pants when he’s outside (light-coloured clothing is less attractive to bees and wasps), and gloves if he’s gardening
  • being aware of areas where insects are very active – for example, near beehives or around swimming pools
  • having insect nests removed by professionals
  • not leaving canned drinks uncovered when you’re outside because wasps and bees can crawl inside.

Chemical allergies and intolerances

Chemicals in common items like metal jewellery, clothing dye, adhesive dressings and glues can cause allergic reactions of the skin. This is called contact dermatitis. Your child might also react to creams, ointments or sunscreen used on her skin. These reactions are usually not life-threatening.

If your family has a history of sensitive skin, you could try using hypoallergenic products on your child’s skin. Trying products on a small area of skin first is a good idea.

Keep your house as ‘smell free’ as possible by minimising the use of perfumed cleaning products or air fresheners. These can irritate your child’s skin and nose.

Why does cut grass cause allergies?

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Grass Allergy: What You Need to Know

For most people, summer means sunshine and outdoor activities with the scent of fresh cut grass in the air. But for those who have grass allergies, warming weather can be less appealing as symptoms flare.

Grass allergy is caused by grass pollen that is spread in the air. Grass pollens begin spreading as early as springtime and winds can carry them for miles. Types of grasses that are more likely to trigger allergies include:

  • Redtop grass
  • Johnson grass
  • Timothy grass
  • Rye grass
  • Sweet vernal grass
  • Kentucky bluegrass
  • Orchard grass
  • Bermuda grass

Grass Allergy Symptoms

People who have grass allergies may develop allergic rhinitis (commonly referred to as hay fever). Once reaction occurs, the affected person may experience the following symptoms:

Eye Irritation

Watery, itchy eyes are one of the most common symptoms caused by grass allergy. Eyes may appear red and swollen and excess eye secretions may form a crust on the eyelid. Dark circles, commonly called “allergic shiners,” may also become visible.

Nasal/Respiratory Issues

Allergic rhinitis commonly includes an itchy nose as well as sneezing and may often result in congestion and post-nasal drip. Another common symptom is a sore throat, which is often accompanied by a dry cough. There are also cases where breathing issues occur – ranging from minor wheezing to asthma attacks.

Managing Grass Allergy

You can attempt to avoid grass allergy to some degree by minimizing exposure to anything that may trigger the allergy. During breezy days, it would be best to close windows to prevent contact with pollen. In some cases where exposure to pollen is inevitable, such as mowing the lawn or gardening, wearing a mask is recommended. If new grass is in the budget, there are even some alternate types of grass that are more “allergy-safe.”

Since grass pollens are airborne, avoidance can be tough. Another option is medication such as antihistamines to minimize symptoms. And finally, an alternate to temporary medications is immunotherapy. Immunotherapy treats the underlying grass allergy—not just its symptoms—through allergy shots or oral drops. If you or your child is allergic to grass pollen, contact AllergyEasy today to schedule a consultation.

Grass Allergies

  • Take medication daily: As the spring season approaches and the grass begins to green, start taking an allergy medication that works best. If you are unsure, consult with your physician to find the right brand and dosage for you. Antihistamines and decongestants work well for “hay fever.”
  • Wear a facemask: An allergy facemask is a great alternative if you don’t want to take medications or administer allergy shots. As you use the mower or cut grass for lawns, use the allergy facemask to reduce severe symptoms while on the job.
  • Take showers: This might sound silly (and a no brainer if you have been out in the heat all day), but taking a shower immediately after you’ve been on a mower will wash off all pollen and reduce your allergy symptoms. Don’t forget your hair either! (It can trap a lot of unwanted pollen.)
  • Bag Grass: If freshly cut grass is a trigger, use a tool for your mower such as the Grass Gobbler to pick up the grass immediately instead of spraying it back on lawns. This method will not only help you, but potentially other allergy sufferers (not to mention your lawns will look great)!

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