Poisoning caused by an allergy to plant material from grass.

Poisonous Ingredient 

  • The plant is not poisonous; however, some people have allergic reactions to some grass pollens.  
  • Although the grass itself may not be toxic, the fertilizers, insecticides, and herbicides that may have been applied to the grass can be.

Where Found 

  • various varieties of grass


  • respiratory       o sneezing       o difficulty breathing  
  • eyes, ears, nose, and throat       o itchy, watery eyes       o runny nose       o nasal congestion  
  • nervous system       o headache

Home Treatment 
For typical hay fever type problems, self-treatment may be appropriate. In mild cases, the use of antihistamines to treat the allergy problems and decongestants to treat any congestion is often appropriate. However, consult with the health care provider to make sure there are no medical reasons to avoid these medications.

If the person experiences difficulty breathing, contact the health care provider for further guidance. If unable to contact the health care provider and the breathing difficulty is progressively getting worse, go to an emergency room for proper medical care.

Before Calling Emergency 
Determine the following information:

  • the patient’s age, weight, and condition  
  • the name of the plant and the parts eaten  
  • the time it was swallowed  
  • the amount swallowed

If the grass was recently treated with a chemical of any sort such as fertilizer, insecticide, or herbicide, find out the product name and ingredients.

Poison Control, or a local emergency number 

This call is usually unnecessary unless the person is having a severe allergic reaction to the grass or is experiencing breathing difficulties. If the grass has recently been fertilized, sprayed with an insecticide or herbicide, or treated with a chemical in any way, contact Poison Control.

They will instruct you if it is necessary to take the patient to the hospital. See Poison Control centers for telephone numbers and addresses. Bring a sample of the insecticide with you to the emergency room for identification.

What to expect at the emergency room 

  • Treat the symptoms.

Expectations (prognosis) 
Normally there are no major problems unless the patient is asthmatic (see asthma) or has a severe allergic reaction to the grass. Recovery usually occurs.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 7, 2012
by Mamikon Bozoyan, M.D.

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All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.