Are you allergic to your backyard? – Bermuda grass allergy
What happens when you’re allergic to something (like Bermuda grass) IN YOUR BACKYARD?
This happens a lot with Bermuda grass allergy symptoms (or any grass allergies) in the summer. You have symptoms, get an allergy test, and it shows that what you’re allergic to is EXACTLY what you have in your backyard!
What do you do next?
Should you get rid of your grass? Always wear a mask? Accept that you’re forever screwed?
Luckily, it’s not that bad. I address Bermuda and other grass allergy symptoms in today’s post by answering a question from John who asked me “What to do about Bermuda Grass Allergy Symptoms?”
I have Bermuda grass allergy symptoms… and that’s what’s in my backyard!
I have some grass allergy symptoms and just got an allergy test which showed I have a Bermuda grass allergy (it also I have a Timothy grass allergy and a Kentucky bluegrass allergy)!
These are the grasses that I have in my yard!
My test also showed that I’m allergic to cedar trees, which I know are in my neighbor’s yard. Do I need to change my grass? Should I have someone cut my grass now? And do I need to find a way to remove the tree in my yard?
– John B
Thank you for the question. I get asked some version of this question probably three times a day, and it SEEMS to be the right question to ask:
If I just told you that you have Bermuda/ grass allergy symptoms, and you know you have Bermuda grass in your backyard, it makes sense to want to get rid of it.
And since you’re following what I wrote in a prior post about allergy triggers, you want to try and remove the Bermuda grass allergy trigger if possible!
I applaud this type of thinking, but for Bermuda grass allergy (or most pollen allergies) this is unfortunately not the way it works.
It is true that if you have Bermuda/ grass allergy symptoms and if that is in your yard, you are closer to a source of pollen.
However, pollen blows through the air and comes from all over the place! There was one study that showed ragweed pollen has been found as far as 500 miles out to sea (brought only by the wind itself).
So unless you plan on removing all Bermuda/ grass within a 500 mile radius of where you live, it is probably not the best use of your time or energy to worry about the pollen in your yard.
Instead, I recommend thinking about the one thing that you can control: yourself.
Your Bermuda Grass Allergy Symptom Plan:
If you have Bermuda/grass allergy symptoms, there are some easy things that I recommend doing to help your personal exposure to Bermuda/grass pollen.
- When you’re mowing the lawn, it often helps to wear a mask.
- Mowing the lawn can trigger Bermuda grass pollen release
- It can also stir up any Bermuda grass pollen that is in the ground.
- This means that mowing the lawn could temporarily increase your Bermuda/grass allergy symptoms.
- One solution: wear a mask.
- Usually you do not not need an expensive mask. I recommend starting with the simple disposable masks fine local hardware store.
- This is usually more of an issue when your grass has gone to seed (which means it is pollinating).
- So mowing your lawn regularly will help reduce the risk of triggering Bermuda grass allergy symptoms.
- I ALSO recommend that you follow pollen counts with a website such as www.pollen.com.
- Pollen counters tell you the overall pollen count where you live.
- This is a better representation of the Bermuda grass pollen from all over your area… and actually is a better predictor of your Bermuda grass allergy symptoms.
That’s nice… but what do I do with the Bermuda/ grass pollen counts?
When Bermuda/ grass pollen counts are moderate to high:
- Close your windows during the daytime (It is usually okay to open your windows at night.)
- If you have an air conditioner, consider running it during the moderate to high pollen count days.
- If Bermuda/ grass pollen counts are moderate to high, it might also be a good idea to exercise indoors during the daytime.
- It is a good idea to shower at night (at any pollen count, but especially when Bermuda/ grass pollen is moderate or high).
- People “pick up” pollen in their hair, clothing, etc during the day.
- Showering at night will help reduce the Bermuda/ grass allergy symptoms caused by the pollen trapped on your body or in your hair.
- Fully implement the non-medication “in-home remedies” listed here.
- Finally, if you’re still having problems, this might be a time that you need to increase your allergy medication.
Note: You should NEVER be afraid of doing things outdoors because of your allergies.
It is my job, as an allergist, to treat you so that you do whatever indoor or outdoor activity you want.
If you feel that the any pollen (including Bermuda/ grass allergy) symptoms are causing you to change what activities you want to do, contact me immediately and I will help create a plan that will give you back control over your life.
When Bermuda/ grass pollen counts start to drop to low:
As pollen counts drop, your Bermuda/ grass allergy symptoms should improve as well. This is the time to start to reverse the steps I listed above.
Usually I tell my friends to:
- First, reduce medications once pollen counts get low.
- Then start to change back shower routine (if desired) and be more flexible with opening windows.
- As a last step, I tell them to stop using the mask while mowing the lawn. Remember, the relative pollen burden can be higher around the yard. But hopefully you’ve kept your lawn consistently mowed (unlike my lawn currently) so this is less of an issue.
Bermuda/ Grass Allergy Symptom Summary
I hope this post helped you stop worrying about your Bermuda/ grass pollen in your yard.
If the answer was as simple as changing the grass in your yard, then I would’ve recommended that. But since pollen comes from so many different places, it is best to focus on treating you and doing so with a cost-conscious, medically effective plan.
Overall, the KEY is to track the pollen counts and use the pollen counts to implement the action plan listed above.
Does all that tracking sound boring or tedious to you?
Would you rather have me take your history and notify you with a personalized monthly plan? And would you like it for all your allergy/asthma problems? That’s what is the Relative Allergy Risk is all about. Click here to check it out!
Finally, if the above preventative measures don’t help, it really does become time to increase medications. An allergist can usually help do this for you, but you can always contact me I will be able to guide you and possibly get you feeling better without the need for an expensive allergist.