They can effectively filter common allergens floating in the environment
New York-As we enter the second pandemic spring, many of us are eager to take off our masks. However, for the 19.2 million adult Americans with seasonal allergic reactions, there is another reason to continue wearing masks.
Although cloth and surgical masks can protect us from virus particles, studies have shown that masks can also effectively filter out common allergens, which usually float in a larger size, making it easier to apply . David Lang, an allergist at the Cleveland Clinic, said that, for example, the volume of pine pollen is about 800 times that of the coronavirus. Even before the pandemic, he advised patients with severe allergies to wear masks outdoors, especially during prolonged activities such as gardening or cleaning the yard.
Purvi Parikh, an allergist and immunologist at NYU Langone Health Center, said that using masks to relieve allergy symptoms may require a bit of “trial and error.” But he said: “If pollen less enters the nose and mouth, the possibility of an allergic attack will decrease.”
Recently, a group of Israeli researchers studied how the symptoms of patients with mild, moderate and severe allergies change when wearing masks. According to data collected by 215 nurses who wore surgical masks or N95 masks in two weeks, they found that for 44 medical workers with severe allergic symptoms, nearly 40% of them had sneezing, runny nose and nasal congestion when sneezing. The phenomenon is reduced. Mask or N95. Among 91 patients with moderate symptoms, those who wore masks improved by 30%, while those who wore N95 increased by 40%. Amiel Dror, a medical scientist at the Galilee Medical Center and a medical school scholar, said that of the 80 patients with mild symptoms in the study, 43 (about 54%) used surgical masks or N95 felt his symptoms improved. Azrieli from Bar-Ilan University is the lead author of the study.
The use of masks by staff with seasonal allergies is also more effective than the use of masks by staff with allergies throughout the year. According to a September report published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, wearing a mask does not solve the problem of itchy eyes.
Although the results of the study show that wearing a mask can reduce allergy symptoms in some people, the researchers warn that more research is needed. Health workers may experience fewer symptoms because when they are not working, they stay at home and avoid crowds during lockouts, thereby reducing exposure to allergens in the environment. But the facts show that wearing a mask to cover the nose and mouth can improve nasal symptoms, but it will not irritate the eyes, which indicates that wearing a mask may help reduce many allergic symptoms.
Dror said that in addition to filtering out allergens, wearing a mask can also make the air in the nasal cavity warmer and more humid. He said: “We know that dry air and cold air sometimes cause nose reactions.” “This is another benefit of wearing a mask. Faced with all bad things, that’s a good thing.”
Protection depends on the mask, fit, and for fabric masks, it depends on the fabric used in manufacturing. Moreover, unless they wear masks all the time, people may be affected by indoor allergens (such as mites or pollen) carried by open windows blown by the spring breeze.
Sandra Lin, professor of otolaryngology and head and neck surgery at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, said: “It can help, but it may not eliminate all symptoms.” “Many people wear masks most of the time, but they still have them. Allergy symptoms.”
•protect eyes. Lang recommends that allergy sufferers wear glasses or goggles when outdoors, which helps prevent allergens such as tree pollen from coming into direct contact with their eyes.
• Wash and change masks frequently. Parrick said: “The last thing you want is to get allergens stuck in it.” She advises patients to wash their clothes before going to bed after returning home to ensure that pollen does not stick to the skin, and wash frequently and repeatably. Mask used. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends washing cloth masks after each use.
• Find a mask that will not irritate your face. It may be important to choose the correct mask for users with allergies. People with sensitive skin may react to certain textile dyes and should use odorless detergents or choose surgical or medical-grade masks that are unlikely to irritate the skin. “My allergy sufferers have very sensitive skin because the small animals that make them sneeze or cough can also irritate the skin,” Parikh said.
• If allergies are severe, see a doctor. Lang said: “If people continue to experience symptoms that interfere with normal activities, if they miss work or school, if their sleep is interrupted at night, they should see a doctor.” “We can help in other ways. They should not suffer unnecessary suffering. “.