CLEVELAND – We’re well aware that wearing a face mask can reduce the spread of COVID-19.
But did you know it may help your seasonal allergies as well?
A recent study suggests using a face mask may reduce allergy symptoms.
”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,” said Sandra Hong, MD, an allergist with Cleveland Clinic, who did not take part in the study. “So if we cover our nose and our mouth, it protects us from getting some of that pollen into us.”
Israeli researchers surveyed nurses with allergies during spring allergy season.
The nurses wore two types of masks – a surgical mask or an N95 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, therefore reducing symptoms.
While this study looked at masks used in a hospital setting, Dr. Hong suspects a cloth mask may also provide some protection.
”They did use the surgical masks and they did use some of the N95s, 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,” Dr. Hong said.
In addition, if you typically get itchy eyes during allergy season, Dr. Hong said wearing eyeglasses may help because glasses can offer some protection from direct pollen exposure.