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For people with a grass pollen allergy, spring and summer not only mean that the days are getting longer and you can catch more sun, but one thing above all: Runny noses, constant sneezing and watery eyes - pollen season.

In a nutshell

  • Grass allergy = defense reaction of the immune system to grass seeds
  • Allergy time = flowering time: March to October
  • Sweet grasses are the most common allergy triggers (after tree pollen allergy due to birch pollen)
  • Approx. 8000 types of grass, particularly allergenic species: smoke grass, cocksfoot grass, ryegrass, timothy grass, meadow grass, cereals
  • wind-flowered = pollen distribution by wind

Pollen count calendar

The pollen count calendar of various grasses shows the flowering time of individual plants and provides information about the periods with the highest pollen load from grass pollen, which can vary in pre-, main and post-blossoming.

Here you can download our grass pollen count calendar for free.

Grass species with allergenic pollen count

Most allergenic grasses are subgenera of the Sweet grasses (Poaceae). Some species carry several million pollen per plant per year, which is why the grass pollen is spread quickly and in high doses in the air by the wind. We introduce you to the allergenic grasses that are most common in Germany and the most problematic for allergy sufferers.

Perennial Ryegrass (Lolium perenne)

  • also perennial ryegrass, spelled husk, perennial ryegrass, English ryegrass, perennial ryegrass
  • first pollen count from mid-March, main flowering June and July
  • insensitive, forest, pasture, meadow and lawn
  • Grey-green, culms up to 70 cm, spikes 30 cm, 2 to 10 flowers, flattened at the top

Cocksfoot (Dactylis glomerata)

  • also Meadow Cocksfoot, Cocksfoot
  • first pollen flight in May, Main flowering May and June
  • economically relevant as pasture and hay grass
  • grey-green, culms up to 120 cm, spikes with 3 to 5 flowers
Left: German ryegrass (Lolium perenne), Right: Orchard Grass (Dactylis glomerata)

Common sweet grass (Anthoxanthum odoratum)

  • fragrant scented grass or only smoky grass, Name due to characteristic hay/forest smell
  • first pollen count in April, main bloom in May and June
  • Meadows, pastures, forests, mountains
  • dull grey-green, culms 15-50 cm, rarely up to 80 cm, spikes with 3 flowers

Timothy grass (Phleum pratense)

  • Timothy grass, bird grass, cat grass
  • first pollen flight June, main flowering July and August
  • Pasture, meadow and field forage production
  • light blue/green, culms 30-150 cm, spike with 1 flower
Left: Ordinary Whole Grass (Anthoxanthum odoratum), Right: Meadow timothy (phleum pratense)

Meadow bluegrass (Poa pratensis)

  • very rich in form, diverse appearance, high resilience
  • first pollen flight in May, main flowering in June and July
  • Lawns, pastures, forests, forage grass
  • Fresh green to grey-green, culms up to 15-90 cm, spikes with 3 to 5 flowers

Rye (Secale cereale)

  • Rye pollen the most aggressive grass allergen carrier, up to 21 million pollen grains per year/plant
  • first pollen count from mid-April, main bloom between May and July
  • frugal and robust, down to -25 degrees Celsius, summer rye and winter rye
  • greenish-grey, culms 65-200 cm, 2-flowered spikes 5-20 cm; drop-shaped, pointed grain
Left: Meadow bluegrass (Poa pratensis), Right: rye (Secale cereale)

Grass pollen as an allergy trigger

The seeds of some grasses that grow in our meadows, fields and forests make life difficult for many people for half the year. From spring, often already in March, the pollen count begins and some allergy sufferers can only end it October breathe again. Allergic reactions to grass pollen can vary in severity. The body classifies harmless substances such as pollen as dangerous and reacts with a defensive reaction to inhaling, ingesting or touching the harmless but exogenous substances.

If you observe these symptoms, it is possible that you have a pollen allergy:

  • swollen, itchy to burning, watery and/or red eyes
  • Itching in the mouth, nose and/or throat area
  • persistent sneezing attacks
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • swollen, red and/or itchy skin, rashes
  • Fatigue, fever, dizziness and/or tiredness
  • Sore throat, acute cough

Notice: In contrast to the sudden, persistent symptoms of a pollen allergy (also hay fever or rhinitis), those of an infection appear more gradually and the nasal secretion is not watery-clear, but rather yellowish!

What helps against a grass pollen allergy?

  • cortisone nasal sprays
  • prescription allergy pills
  • Keep windows closed at night in summer
  • change clothes that are contaminated with pollen frequently, take a shower before going to bed
  • Hypersensitivity (allergy sufferers are vaccinated for months to get their bodies used to it)
Is a grass pollen allergy dangerous?

Severe allergic reactions can lead to severe respiratory problems or shock with respiratory or circulatory arrest. If left untreated, a pollen allergy can cause allergy sufferersEven become chronic internally and cause long-term consequences such as loss of the sense of smell and respiratory diseases such as asthma. Medical care at an allergistInside is therefore strongly recommended.

Can corn pollen cause an allergic reaction?

In itself, corn pollen also has an allergenic effect on some people, but the pollen count is rather low due to the sticky nature of the pollen threads. However, if you are directly on or in a corn field, an allergic reaction is possible.

Are cross allergies likely with a pollen allergy?

In the case of cross-allergies, allergy sufferers not only have allergic reactions when they come into contact with pollen, but also with other substances. It is often other plants, vegetables and fruits, some foods, spices, nuts. Treating the pollen allergy can also help against any cross allergies that may have developed.

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