Our home on the range may be the place where the buffalo play, discouraging words are seldom heard, and the skies are not cloudy, but every spring, many Coloradoans suffer from one of the Front Range’s biggest flaws – grass allergies.  From the highly irrigated suburbs, to the wide-open spaces to the east, this annoying plant pollinates in late spring and early summer, causing thousands of Front Range residents to reach for the medicine cabinet and the box of tissues.  In fact, more than 30 million people suffer from grass allergies around the world.

Grass pollen is relatively invisible and often moves through the air on windy days that commonly occur in late spring and early summer.  For those of us who live close to windy Wyoming, it is crucial to make sure your windows and doors are closed and tightly sealed, so that the pollen stays outside where it belongs.

If you suspect that you have a grass allergy, your symptoms will include: itchy skin, watery eyes, runny nose, nasal congestion, and sneezing.  Grass has even been known to cause hives in some patients. Some of the most common allergy-causing grasses are:

• Bermuda Grass

• Kentucky Bluegrass

• Orchard Grass

• Redtop Grass

• Rye Grass

• Sweet Vernal Grass

• Timothy Grass

Many grass allergy sufferers may notice that they have a horrible reaction to orchard grass, but they can go outside and play in timothy with no symptoms at all.  If you have a grass allergy, we recommend being tested as soon as possible.  This way you can protect yourself from what you are allergic to, and not stress about the stuff that you are not.  If you allergies are severe enough, you may want to consider reseeding your lawn with a variety that does not give you a reaction.  It is also important to do your best to make sure that pets, clothing, and other items that are exposed to grass pollen are cleaned as often as possible, so that you can keep the trouble outside of your home.

Even if this sounds bleak, there are improving options for grass allergy sufferers.  Over-the-counter medications and prescriptions can alleviate many symptoms.  For patients with more severe symptoms, allergy shots can really help, and even cure your allergy altogether over time.  The FDA also recently approved an oral drug specifically for severe grass allergies, which will bring hope thousands of people around the country.

Improvement such as these are great, but coming into your Fort Collins allergist can help you find relief now. We can help you find out what’s going on and help you find the right medications, treatments and solutions for you. So call us so you can get outside and enjoy our wide-open spaces.