Timothy grass (Phleum pretense) is a forage and hay crop native to Europe and Asia. It has also been adapted for use in North America. It’s one of the many grasses that produce grass pollen, a very common allergen.
Basic Information About Timothy Grass Allergy
- Grass description: grass has flat leaves and grows two to four feet tall
- Allergy type: Non-food allergy, grass pollen allergy
- Habitat: Timothy grass is normally grown in Europe and Asia. It has also adapted to cool parts of Northern America. Despite its origins, it’s now widely available in the US. It’s commonly used as feeds for horses and grass for lawns.
- Allergy season: June to July or early summer to fall
- Allergic reactions: mild to severe, depending on the pollen count and the body’s sensitivity
Timothy Grass Allergy Causes
The main source of Timothy grass allergy is the pollen it gives off. These pollen are airborne and are so small, they could be inhaled without the person realizing it. Although the allergy is usually rampant during summer, there’s also a small chance of getting the allergy during other seasons.
Grass pollen is regional and seasonal, according to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Grass pollen count is affected by several factors such as time of the day, weather and season.
Timothy Grass Allergy Symptoms
As with other allergies, an individual’s reaction depends on how his immune system will react. Below is the list of common symptoms:
- Runny nose
- Itchy nose
- Sore throat
- Watery eyes
- Puffed eyes
- Itchy eyes
- Difficulty in breathing
The flower of Timothy grass starts to grow in the early summer, while the flower pollinates towards the end of summer or fall. The wind carries the pollens away from the flowers and it continues to linger on the environment until fall. This is when the most allergies are triggered. More pollen is carried into the air during hot and windy days, which is why most allergic reactions occur during summer and fall.
Tips For Preventing Timothy Grass Allergy
- Stay indoors when the pollen count is high. You can get a pollen count report from weather reports and websites.
- Wear a mask when mowing the lawn. If you could afford it, hire someone else to do the mowing.
- If you could, choose a grass that doesn’t contain much pollen. Irish moss and dichondra could be good alternatives
- Keep the grass short by mowing it frequently. Some grasses will eventually adapt to this, so you need to trim it regularly.
- Stay indoors from 5:00 AM to 10:00 AM, as this is when the pollen count is highest. Leave outdoor activities until 5:00 PM, or after a heavy rain.
- Always keep your home and car windows closed. This lessens their exposure to pollen. Avoid window and attic fans as they will draw air from outside of your house, which may be contaminated with pollen.
- Regularly bathe your pets. Pollen could also be attached to them.
- Use a dryer for your clothes. If you hang them outside, pollen can attach on your clothes. This will expose you and your house to the allergens.
- Minimize your alcohol intake. A study from the National Institute of Public Health in Denmark last 2008 found a relation between alcohol and the allergy. Women who drank alcohol every week increased their susceptibility to the allergy by 3%. Alcohol also dehydrates the body, which can make the nasal symptoms worse.
Timothy Grass Allergy Treatment
- Oral Steroids
- Injectable Steroids
- Grass Allergen Immunotherapy treatment (AIT) – this method uses sublingual grass pollen tablets. The tablets are now sold in Europe; however it’s not yet approved by the US FDA.
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