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UC Cooperative Extension Ventura County
669 County Square Dr. Suite 100
Ventura CA 93003
Phone: 805.645.1451
Fax: 805.645.1474

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Lawn Causing Itching and Welts

 
Do children often come into the house itching and sometimes develop small red welts on their legs and arms?
 
The itching is probably due to the drying of dust and sweat on the skin, but the welts may have several causes. Your child(ren) may be allergic to the grass. Some species of grass (Bermuda grass in particular) can produce allergic reactions that can be serious in sensitive persons. There are also a number of bugs and mites present in grass that could produce a reaction. Grass mites, itch mites, clover mites, hay or straw mites all normally feed on plant material. However, if they get on your body, they often enter hair follicles and attempt to feed. The mites usually die because humans are not a satisfactory food source, but the dead body and the initial bite introduces a foreign protein to the skin, which causes the body to produce the red welt and the itching. If you have pets, there may be fleas in the lawn, which will feed on any warm-blooded animal that becomes available. Chinch bugs, false chinch bugs, lygus bugs, and other true bugs have hypodermic needle mouthparts and will often attempt to feed on people given the chance. Their bites can cause red welts. There are many anti-itch lotions available at your drugstore. I would suggest a good wash with soap before lotions are applied. A home remedy that works for some persons is to make a paste with baking soda,  apply bits of this paste to the welt and hold it in place with a band aid. The alkali of the baking soda helps to neutralize the acid that is present in most insect bites, thus helping speed the healing process.