Woman with allergies playing with dog outside while wearing a face mask

The COVID-19 pandemic has made it necessary for day-to-day routines to be modified. At the beginning of the pandemic, face masks were a necessity in both indoor and outdoor spaces in order to mitigate the spread. However, there’s one demographic that had to have specific considerations with their face masks – and may have even benefited from it – over the past few years: those with allergies.

The distinction between allergies and COVID

As discussed earlier last year, there are certain symptoms of allergies that could be mistaken for COVID (and vice versa) without a test. Dry cough, shortness of breath, and sore throat are a few common traits that are shared between the two conditions, though this can be complicated with the addition of asthma. Allergy symptoms are also prone to be longer lasting than COVID symptoms; however, this is also dependent on viral load and whether or not someone is vaccinated.

Face mask adjustments for people with allergies

Given how long people have had to wear face masks, especially in areas of public transportation like buses and trains, there are some things to consider if you have environmental allergies. Face masks need to be washed often in order to prevent acne and eczema, but also to remove pollen, dust, and other allergens that build up over time. People who are allergic to cats and dogs also need to think about any contact the mask may have with or near pets, including lending masks to others. These tips are seasonal-specific and dependent on the allergens, but they can help prevent reactions if done strategically.

Face masks and reduced allergies

Face masks and coverings have shown efficacy towards preventing the spread of COVID-19, but they can also be beneficial for those with allergies. Given that most environmental allergens like trees and ragweed are airborne, wearing a face mask outdoors can mitigate symptoms and outbreaks by filtering out particles. This is not a completely preventative measure, as you can still encounter allergens by touching the mask directly, but carefully handling your mask afterwards can make your time outdoors more enjoyable.

While face mask usage will ebb and flow during the pandemic, your allergies are always up for treatment. If environmental allergies like pollen, dust, and pets are affecting your season, get tested and treated by a CEENTA allergy specialist. Schedule an appointment today to find the immunotherapy option that’ll help you breathe easier.

This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your doctor. You can now schedule an appointment online with any of our more than 40 ENT doctors in North and South Carolina. You can also schedule through myCEENTAchart or by calling 704-295-3000.


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