allergic reaction

Allergic Reaction to Bahia Grass

Nasir Ahmed, MD
High Springs Pediatrics, High Springs, Fla

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After mowing the lawn for the first time, a 12-year-old boy had severe pruritus all over his body, watery and puffy eyes, and a husky voice. His mother rushed him to the closest acute care facility, where he received an oral corticosteroid and antihistamine. He reported no shortness of breath or abdominal pain. During the history taking, it was learned that the child had undergone allergy testing a few years earlier. The results had revealed a positive reaction to grass, especially Bahia.

Bahia grass (Paspalum notatum) is an allergenically important grass in the Gulf Coast states and a significant aeroallergen. It can induce asthma, allergic rhinitis, and allergic conjunctivitis.1 An association between Bahia grass and asthma in children has been documented.2 Treatment consists of antihistamines, decongestants, or corticosteroid nasal sprays for immediate allergy symptoms and immunotherapy for long-term relief.

This boy’s symptoms quickly subsided, and he was discharged home within 2 hours after his arrival. The allergic reaction has taught the boy to avoid similar exposure to Bahia grass pollen.■


1. Hensel AE Jr, Griffith RC. Clinical experiences with Paspalum notatum (Bahia grass): a new grass antigen. South Med J. 1972;65:690-693.
2. Bass DJ, Delpech V, Beard J, et al. Late summer and fall (March-May) pollen allergy and respiratory disease in Northern New South Wales, Australia. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2000;85:374-381.