Healthy Living: Can your mask reduce allergy symptoms?

Healthy Living

We already know wearing a face mask can reduce the spread of COVID-19, but did you know it can also alleviate allergy symptoms as well?

“Masks can actually cover your nose and mouth and that’s usually the way we get all the pollen into ourselves and it can cause the symptoms of itchy eyes, itchy nose, stuffy nose, dripping and draining and so if we cover our nose and our mouth it protects us from getting some of that pollen into us,” said Dr. Sandra Hong of the Cleveland Clinic.

Israeli researchers surveyed nurses with allergies during spring allergy season.

The nurses wore two types of masks — a surgical mask or an N-95 mask. Results show nasal allergy symptoms decreased when wearing either kind of mask.

They suggest a mask can filter allergens and prevent people from inhaling them, reducing symptoms.

While the study looked at masks used in a hospital setting, Dr.Hong suspects a cloth mask may also provide some protection.

“They did use kind of the surgical masks and they did use some of the N-95s, so they’ve got a tighter weave than cloth masks, but absolutely the cloth masks should be able to help with at least some of it.”

If you typically get itchy eyes during allergy season, Dr. Hong says wearing eyeglasses may offer some protection from direct pollen exposure.

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