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

Michael S. Rowe, Judith Bailey, Dennis R. Ownby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


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 < 0.03). Symptomatic patients also had higher serum concentrations of total IgE (p < 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 differentin 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)714-719
Number of pages6
JournalThe Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1986
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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