Hay fever and mowing the lawn: some solutions

Do you have hay fever symptoms when you mow the lawn?

If in doubt, an allergy to grass (and other) pollens can result in one or more of the following:

  • red, sore, and watery eyes

  • stuffy nose and/or sneezing

  • rashes and blemishes on the skin in addition to a general “itchiness”

  • a blocked throat and runny nose

  • a tickling cough perhaps combined with wheezing

  • sinus headache

  • a general feeling of malaise.

Of course, if you suffer from any of these symptoms, it would always be sensible to see a doctor to verify your assumptions about hay fever as a cause. However, assuming it is, what can you do about it?

Do not ignore it

Many, including some health professionals, scoffed at hay fever as something trivial or “on the mind.”

In today’s more progressive times, it is recognized as a potentially significant problem that can seriously reduce patients’ effectiveness at work or when performing household tasks.

There are some medications you can take to help and your doctor will discuss these with you, including traditional antihistamines, although other treatments are possible as well. They may also recommend some tests to try to identify specifically what type of pollen or dust you are allergic to.


In some cases, those who work with farm machinery and lawn mowers may want to consider some additional tips that may be helpful.

  • Depending on your specific allergy, find out what times of day offer the best working conditions. Some pollens are much more active in the early morning and others in the late afternoon, etc. Avoid those moments!

  • If the main effects on you are related to the respiratory tract and throat, consider wearing a mask. Make sure it’s rated for pollen removal.

  • If your eyes are primarily affected, consider goggles, but you’ll need special varieties that don’t have unfiltered vents or you’ll waste time.

  • Consider wearing coveralls and ‘covering up’ if the worst effects are skin related. There are also some barrier creams that can be effective.

  • Remember that some allergies commonly called “hay fever” have nothing to do with pollen. Your allergies may be due, for example, to dust from the harvest or simply to dust thrown up by driving on the ground. Another culprit is often household dust, the largest component of which is dead human skin cells! If you are truly allergic to crop dust and related problems, then you will need to follow some of the steps above or also consider working in a vehicle with a cab that provides filtered air.

  • When you’re done cutting, be sure to undress outside the house and try to shower quickly once inside. There’s little point in keeping a lot of pollen in your coverall and mask if you then take it all home at the end of the day, shaking it off as you go!

Most employers are sympathetic to employees suffering from hay fever, so if you need anything to help you get through the day and perform properly, please let them know.

If it’s a personal problem rather than a work-related one, then you may need to ask your spouse, children, or a willing neighbor to lend a hand in peak allergy season.

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