(Last Updated On: May 5, 2023)

Should I Mow the Lawn if I Have Allergies?

Contact with grass allergens is nearly unavoidable when you’re mowing the lawn. For those with grass allergies, the spring and summer months can be particularly difficult to enjoy due to uncomfortable symptoms such as nasal congestion, runny nose, and itchy eyes. Grass pollen can cause a lot of issues for those who are allergic. It is a versatile allergen, and the pollen tends to be sticky. It’s often too small to see, but grass creates pollen similar to the allergens produced by trees and ragweed.

That said, there are numerous measures you can take to manage grass allergies while mowing your lawn. From choosing the right time of day to mow to planting more allergy-friendly landscaping, you can still keep your lawn looking its best while reducing the risk of allergy-inducing particles. There are even before and after mowing practices you can adopt to keep your exposure to grass pollen at a minimum.

Photograph of lawn mower on the green grass. Mower is located on the right side of the photograph with view on grass field.

What Are Grass Allergies?

Grass allergies or hay fever–also known officially as seasonal allergic rhinitis–typically occurs during certain times of the year when grasses are pollinating. The season is usually late spring through early fall depending on where you live. People may experience sneezing, a runny nose, itchy eyes or mouth area, headache, and tiredness. Some people may even experience more severe reactions such as asthma attacks or hives.

Grass pollen found in freshly cut lawns and fields is one of the most widespread allergens. Grasses such as Timothy, Ryegrass, and Bermuda may induce allergies in certain individuals due to the diverse set of proteins present. Each type has its own unique set of proteins that act as allergens for some people. Knowing which grasses trigger your symptoms can help you manage them and enjoy outdoor activities without feeling miserable.

Mowing the Lawn with Allergies

Mowing the lawn can be a challenge for those with allergies, as it releases pollen and dust particles that may exacerbate allergy symptoms. Still, there are methods to reduce the potential for irritation while keeping your yard looking its best.

Avoid grasses that have high levels of pollen production and opt instead for varieties like Bermuda grass or Zoysia, which produce less allergen-causing pollen when cut back regularly throughout the season. Additionally, taking over-the-counter medications such as antihistamines before outdoor activities can provide relief from seasonal allergies caused by freshly cut grass. Antihistamines may help impede the body’s response to allergens.

Choosing low-pollen plants for landscaping is another way to limit exposure while on the lawn mower. Additionally, keeping up with regular maintenance such as fertilizing, aerating, and watering helps keep the grass healthy without overproducing allergens.

Tips for Reducing Exposure

By implementing methods to reduce contact with allergens, it is possible to lower the likelihood of an allergic reaction when mowing the lawn. Before mowing, for example, be sure to consult local pollen readings to determine airborne allergen levels.

Creating a lawn care schedule is key to managing exposure to allergens in the springtime when levels are high. Try mowing in the early morning hours or late evening when pollen counts tend to be lower and avoid using electric leaf blowers that stir up dust particles containing pollen and mold spores. Dr. SriniVasan Ramanuja, an allergist at the Mankato Clinic, recommends bagging lawn clippings and compost to keep pollen levels low. 

Additionally, consider investing in low-pollen plants for landscaping around your yard.

Wearing an N-95 mask when mowing will help reduce exposure by trapping airborne particles from entering your respiratory system. After working outside in the year or being exposed to freshly cut grass it’s important to immediately rinse off. Showering should wash away any pollen that may have gotten on your skin or clothing. And, of course, put on freshly washed clothes after showering.

Alternatives to DIY Lawn Care

Hiring professional landscapers who specialize in allergy-friendly gardens is one way to reduce exposure to allergens while maintaining a healthy landscape. Professional landscapers understand which plants are low in pollen production. They also know the best time of day for certain yard tasks such as mowing or trimming hedges so you don’t have to worry about being exposed during peak pollen hours.

Another option for reducing allergen exposure is the use of robotic lawnmowers. This technology allows you to set up a schedule for mowing without having any direct contact with the grass itself, reducing exposure to grass pollens and other allergens present outdoors.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Should I Mow the Lawn if I Have Allergies?
Allergy sufferers should avoid mowing the lawn. Pollen and other allergens can be released into the air when mowing, which may cause an allergic reaction in susceptible individuals. Using a lawn mower also creates exhaust fumes that could further irritate your lungs and worsen existing allergy symptoms. If you have to mow the lawn, wearing a mask is suggested to help minimize exposure to airborne allergens.

Does Cutting Grass Make Allergies Worse?
Mowing the lawn may exacerbate allergies for certain individuals, as allergens and pollen that are released into the atmosphere when cutting grass can cause an allergic reaction. Moreover, mowing with a gas-powered lawn mower produces pollutants that may worsen allergy symptoms. Using an electric or battery-powered lawn mower is advised to reduce the effects of allergens and pollutants. Allergy sufferers should also wear protective gear such as goggles and a mask while mowing.

Does Keeping Grass Short Help with Allergies?
Maintaining a low grass height may assist in reducing the amount of pollen and other allergens present in the atmosphere, potentially providing some respite from allergy symptoms.

Does Grass Trigger Allergies?
Exposure to grass may trigger allergies in certain people. Allergies result from the body’s defense system overreacting to proteins present in the pollen of vegetation such as trees, weeds, and grasses. Mowing the grass and other lawn care work may increase the risk of an allergic reaction for those prone to allergies. However, it is possible to reduce the risks by adhering to certain protocols.

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