Evaluation of the cause of nasal and ocular symptoms associated with lawn mowing

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1986 May;77(5):714-9. doi: 10.1016/0091-6749(86)90416-1.


A number of individuals with perennial or seasonal rhinoconjunctivitis state that their symptoms may suddenly worsen on exposure to lawn mowing. Many allergists have believed that this was related to the agitation of molds deposited on the grass. We studied 50 consecutive new patients with rhinitis using history, skin testing, total and specific IgE assays, and nasal smears. Twenty-five patients gave histories of minimal or no change in their nasal symptoms with exposure to lawn mowing, whereas 11 patients had definite, but mild, symptoms, and 14 patients had severe symptoms. Positive skin tests to grasses, trees, and weed pollens were more frequent in those patients with symptoms exacerbated by lawn mowing (p less than 0.03). Symptomatic patients also had higher serum concentrations of total IgE (p less than 0.008) and grass-pollen specific IgE (p = 0.0004). The frequencies of positive skin tests to ragweed pollens, house dust, molds, and grass leaves, as well as the percentage of nasal eosinophils, were not different in the symptomatic and asymptomatic groups. No significant association was found between symptoms and IgE antibodies to molds or grass-leaf extract. We believe that the increased nasal and ocular symptoms coincident with lawn mowing are allergic phenomena significantly associated with skin test sensitivity and specific IgE antibodies to grass pollens but not with sensitivity or specific IgE to molds or grass-leaf extract.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alternaria / immunology
  • Antibody Specificity
  • Antigens, Fungal / adverse effects
  • Cladosporium / immunology
  • Conjunctivitis / etiology*
  • Conjunctivitis / immunology
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Female
  • Fusarium / immunology
  • Helminthosporium / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / analysis
  • Male
  • Poaceae*
  • Pollen / adverse effects*
  • Rhinitis / etiology*
  • Rhinitis / immunology
  • Skin Tests


  • Antigens, Fungal
  • Immunoglobulin E