greener grass is itchy
August 21, 2012 5:21 PM   Subscribe

Sometimes when I run through tall grass it makes my legs itch. Why does this happen?

I don't think it's an allergic reaction because my skin isn't inflamed afterwards, and the itching doesn't last very long.
posted by gregr to Health & Fitness (10 answers total)
Could be little scratches on your legs, used to run through a cornfield with my brothers and we always ended up itchy because of the minor abrasions from hitting the corn leaves. Not as drastic as that but probably a contributing factor.
posted by caution live frogs at 5:23 PM on August 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Possibly, but the tall grass I'm running through isn't nearly corn stalk sized, and I don't seem to see any abrasions.
posted by gregr at 5:27 PM on August 21, 2012

It's the tiny hairs on the edge of the grass blades. Doesn't cause abrasions, but temporarily irritates the skin.
posted by Specklet at 5:31 PM on August 21, 2012 [10 favorites]

Well, it very well could be that you are allergic to grass pollen, barbs on grass leaves, something; you just have a very minor reaction.
posted by Fortran at 5:35 PM on August 21, 2012 [5 favorites]

When I used to get itchy from rolling in the crabgrass, it was due to Specklet's reasoning. Grass has little sawtooth edges, they scrape your skin very slightly, and then salty sweat gets into those abrasions/pricks. It's not enough to be as painful as the description might imply, which is why it's merely itchy.
posted by rhizome at 6:19 PM on August 21, 2012 [3 favorites]

What rhizome said.
posted by Grandysaur at 7:47 PM on August 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

And with that username, I'd trust him on this topic.
posted by intermod at 10:31 PM on August 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm allergic to grass and have hay feaver symptoms related to it. I sneeze everytime grass is mowed. I always get rashes everytime I roll around in grass so I assumed it was allergy related as well but I guess it's also possible that it could be tiny abrasions.
Washing your legs with hot water doesn't help... It makes it itch more.
posted by missriss89 at 6:22 AM on August 22, 2012

What about chiggers?
posted by Acton at 6:23 AM on August 22, 2012

We always just called it "grass itch". It was on the short list of why certain childhood activities such as "fighting on the lawn" or "rolling down hills on our sides" ever came to an end.

I don't think it's in any way related to allergies, and if it was chiggers you'd know. I'd put my money on the fact that it's just abrasions, like mini-mini-sawgrass cuts.
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:05 AM on August 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

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